The Santa picture that broke me

We’ve all seen those silly Santa pictures and chuckled. I did, too, except I was also relieved that none of my kids behaved that way on Santa’s lap. Getting the perfect picture meant a lot to me. So much so that I would literally break a sweat making sure everyone looked as perfect as possible.

And then my youngest kid totally threw all of my planning out the window.

A month before his second birthday, I sat him on Santa’s lap, and, well … he absolutely was not having it. At all. Not even a little. And after about thirty seconds of absolute embarrassment and horror, something inside my tightly wound body snapped. It broke me. And it made me so much better.

I no longer put a whole lot of stock into catching my kids at their worst. It meant more to me that each picture captured who they were at that particular moment in their lives. My daughter’s kindergarten picture day came exactly three days after she launched herself from the swingset and scraped her chin all to hell. My oldest’s third-grade picture day happened right after his dad shaved his head down to the scalp. My youngest has blessed us with some of the most memorable pictures purely by being his emotive self.

Insider gave me the chance to talk about how that Santa picture broke me and made me better. I now have a deeper appreciation for those snaps that capture authenticity rather than obsessing over the appearance of perfection.

Did you have a moment like this in your parenting journey? I would love to hear about it if you do.

The Ghost of Boyfriends Past

We all have relationships that we would LOVE to go back and erase. Stop our former selves from ever even looking in the direction of that person to save us from a whole lotta heartache, stress, frustration and pain.

And then there are those former loves who never actually leave our hearts. All sorts of things conjure those memories–a song, a mutual friend, a favorite sports team. Those are the relationships we might like a chance to do over. Most of the time, though, we don’t get that opportunity, so we continue to pine away for what might have been.

However, I did get a second chance to reconnect and try out a past relationship in a more mature headspace. And Insider gave me chance to spill the beans on that time I ghosted a guy in high school and went on to marry him 17 years later. Shout-out to my husband for being so cool with the fact that I’m sharing some of his pain with the world. What guy wouldn’t want to be outed for listening to ExposĂ© when he was 16? I wonder if this is why he stopped making eye contact with our neighbors?

Your turn: Do you have a long-lost love that you still think about? Even if you’re in a good space, do you sometimes wonder if only things had been different? Or have you ghosted someone who absolutely deserved it for one reason or another. Drop me a line and fill me in on the good and the bad of your ghosts of past relationships.

We’re Not Blended …

My husband and I came into this marriage with a whole lot of battle scars and fresh divorce decrees under our belts. While we muddled through to find our footing, we dragged our combined five kids along. What could possibly go wrong? We loved each other and our kids. And isn’t that all it takes to succeed at this blended-family thing?

Nope. As it turns out we were wrong. So.Very.Wrong.

Scary Mommy gave me the chance to pull back the curtain on parenting in a more scrambled than blended situation.

Have you been successful at blending your family? Or is yours a little more scrambled and scattered like mine? Maybe you vacillate between the two. Whatever it is, I would love to hear about it. Drop me a line and let me know whether you’re killing the step-parenting gig or it’s killing you.