I spent a fair amount of time dreaming, tentatively planning, and envisioning what baby Paul’s first birthday smash cake photo session would look like.
There would be balloons in the background, I would seat him in a funky vintage highchair, and there would be a eclectic handmade birthday crown (probably found off Etsy) on top of his little blonde baby boy head.
It would look brilliant, amazing, and totally original. It would probably get pinned on Pinterest one million times or something equally ridiculous.
But on the day of the photo shoot, not one single piece to that puzzle came together. Life got away from me, as it often does. I could offer you 1,000 different excuses for my shortcomings, but basically my perfectly staged photo session never materialized, and it left me feeling like a lazy failure of a mother.
Instead, baby Paul ended up wearing one of his old cloth diapers, and the only prop was the cake itself, sitting on the floor. No balloons, no vintage chair, no party hat. Nothing.
But the thing is, his smash cake session was ultimately perfect. I love the photos, and will cherish them forever. Sure, it would have been nice to stage an adorable backdrop, but in reality, it was totally unnecessary.
As a mother to four little kids, I often feel like I’m coming up short. In my mind I have a vision of what “perfect” looks like, and I’m always missing the mark. But in reality, there is not a single person in my life that expects perfection from me. My kids and my husband love me just the way I am, and a flawless mother isn’t something they require.
Sure, it’s fun to dream big and shoot for the stars. And every now and again, I might knock one out of the park. But for every mothering home run I achieve, there will be 100 more strike outs. And on those days, I’m giving myself grace, and reminding myself that perfection isn’t a parental prerequisite.