I am not one of those moms who posts insanely perfect shots of my kids or my home on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean there is any less thought that goes into what I put out there. I like to show that parenting isn’t easy or neat, but even I stop short at posting certain pics. I always laugh when people say, “Thank you for being so real.” Because even my “real” is not actually my REAL. Do you know what I mean?

I crop out messes. You never see the hole in my couch or one whole side of my dining room table, which is almost always covered with piles of paper and junk. I make my husband look like a hero. I don’t like to show my kids when they are making angry faces or when they are fighting. That doesn’t mean it never happens.

My so-called “relatable life” is actually even more of trainwreck than it might appear.

When Minute Maid asked me to post a few real family moments for their “This is GOOD” campaign, I asked them, “Just how real are you talking about?” When I take photos for the blog, there are probably about 300 outtakes of my kids acting like total animals before I actually get something presentable. The new thing that Mazzy and Harlow like to do is agree to be in the photo (I always ask them first now) and then purposely do the opposite of my instructions so I can’t get the photo I want. I say look at the camera and then they stare at each other. I say look at each other and then they close their eyes. They think this is HILARIOUS.

Did Minute Maid want those???

They said they wanted photos that wouldn’t normally make it to my Instagram feed. Well, yes. I have PLENTY of those. In fact, Minute Maid recently conducted a study that found that “more than 1/3 of parents admit that almost all of the photos they share of their family on social media are staged or posed” and “81% of parents have avoided posting something because their house looks messy in the background.” I solve for the second problem by almost never taking photos inside my apartment, but if you watch my Instagram stories, you definitely get a good taste of the mess. It’s unavoidable.

Here are a few photos I’ve taken in the past that obviously did not make the cut.

The time we took a peaceful boat ride in Mexico:

The time that Harlow fell to ground like a sack of bricks and refused to get up for our holiday card photo:

The time that I just wanted ONE photo with my girls in California:

The time that Mazzy looked tortured to take stand next to Grammy when two seconds earlier she was having the best day ever:

The time Mazzy looked like she was going to keel over and die if I made her ride on the back of my bicycle for one second longer:

The time that Harlow decided she was no longer part of the family:

The time everyone stopped feeling the love:

The time that I came home from a girl’s night out and found everyone in my bed passed out with the TV still on (good job, Mike):

The time Harlow tried to escape my arms mid photo:

The time I was trying to get Mazzy to hold still for a photo at the top of One World Trade and it looked like I was choking her:

The time we gave up trying to control the kids and just let them act how they wanted:

When it came time to take photos of us drinking Minute Maid Tropical Punch (which my kids agreed to in a heartbeat), it felt like a big relief to know that I did not have to deliver the perfect shot. We just had to be ourselves and in the moment.

Here’s how it all went down:

First I tried to explain to them to act natural.

Then someone tooted but nobody copped to it.

Mazzy tried to blame it on her father but I made the very good point that Daddy wasn’t even home.

Then Harlow suggested that the stink was so bad, we could smell it all the way from his office.

Then Harlow stuck her tongue out.

Then Mazzy stuck her tongue out.

Then I told Mazzy to just act normal and drink the juice.

Then I realized this was the one shoot where it didn’t really matter what I captured. Thanks Minute Maid!

I was actually imagining that we would get a photo that was really awful and hilarious, but in the end, I think all the photos are still pretty adorable.

That’s my family and that’s what’s real.


This post was sponsored by Minute Maid, but all thoughts, opinions and horrible photos are my own.