Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Sticker Shock

My family recently purchased those stickers that you put on the rear windshield of your car—the corny ones that represent different members of your family. We selected a tough guy playing hockey for my husband, a stylish-looking woman holding a glass of wine for me (which, thanks to my husband, is affixed at a slight angle, making her look tipsy), a dancing girl for my eldest daughter and a little girl holding a teddy bear to represent my youngest. 

I know some people hate those stickers, but I have to admit, I kind of love them. I like the snapshot they provide of the people around me. This family has four kids; that one has a dog, a cat and two goldfish; these people like to ski and those ones like to travel. But I'm also aware of what a reductive picture they portray.

I read a blog post a couple of weeks ago by a mother discussing the way we represent our families on Facebook. Her message was, Let's show the real family behind the photos—with its fights and tears, trials and tribulations—not just the happy, smiling moments that most people present to the world. And I think that's an admirable goal.

My family isn't perfect. Heck, it's only 2:30 p.m. on New Year's Day, 2014, and I've already yelled at my three-year-old for throwing a tantrum. I long ago came to terms with the fact that I will never be one of those mothers who home schools her kids and buys only organic produce with which to effortlessly whip up wholesome family meals each night. But, at the same time, I am more than the images shown by the stickers on my car or the photos on my profile page.

I love my husband, I love my kids. And we are doing the best we can, day by day, to navigate the twists and turns that life brings us—making mistakes and, hopefully, learning something along the way; finding bright spots of joy and hope in mundane routine. And that's what I hope you'll see behind the stickers when you watch our car go by: a family.

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