A picture is worth a thousand words, but what goes on outside of the picture is what matters, reality truly is priceless.
Being a mother has taught me this concept more than anything else ever could have. Being a mom of a child with sensory differences makes it even more clear. I’ve come to accept that the behind-the scenes reality looks a lot different than what is seen in public or on social media.
I admit, I love social media…sometimes. Instagram is my favorite Social Media platform where I can scroll through beautiful pictures of life and enjoy the things other people are experiencing. While in the right frame of mind I rejoice for the success and beauty in others’ lives, but when I’m not careful or feeling vulnerable, I tend to get jealous when I look at all the perfect pictures on social media and begin to wish my life was more picture-perfect.
The Cute Pictures
This week served as a reminder that any situation can look picture perfect for the few seconds it takes to snap a picture. I had this realization when I took my son to get his hair cut.
The occasion was long overdue, but he refused to allow us to do it. He said his hair was too itchy on his skin and didn’t like the way we did it at home. So, we offered to take him to a professional where they could drape him and keep all hair off of his skin.
He was so cooperative, smiled, and even helped pick out his haircut style. The sweet girl cutting his hair commented repeatedly about how well he was behaving and how easy it was to cut his hair.
Inside I celebrated our success and the happy state we were experiencing at that moment…..until the moment ended.
As is common, once we left the public space he nearly immediately he let loose. For the next 30 minutes his vocabulary was mostly filled with words like “I hate” or “that’s stupid” or “I never want…” and on and on. The bottom line was that he hated the way his hair looked, his head felt itchy, and he told me over and over that “I told you I didn’t want to get my hair cut mom!”
Thankfully I was able to work on my inside voice enough to not get sucked into the frustration. I knew his reaction was because of his hair cut, and his words and anger towards me weren’t REALLY because of me. So we hurried through and went straight for the checkout without any backlash or frustration on my part.
His whining continued until we were able to get home, to our safe place, where he could cool down. We all endured it as we always do. We let his horrible words bounce off of us knowing they weren’t real. But it wasn’t fun. None of it was.
As I got home and things calmed down, I looked at the pictures I had taken. I could have easily posted them and said “successful haircut!” because essentially, in the moment, it was. Reality extends beyond those pictures, however, and I’m ok with that. Our reality is what keeps me from thinking that I have it all together. Reality helps me to understand and empathize, reality is what I appreciate because life isn’t perfect, even if a picture may make it look that way.