Remember the days when you would snap a picture, take your film to get developed and anxiously wait to pick up your pictures? Way back then😉 you couldn’t view your pictures before getting them developed and choose which ones would make the cut…half the fun was getting your stack of pictures back and laughing at the silly ones and being mortified of the ones you should have used better judgment in before taking. But you know what, I have albums filled with amazing memories..not all of the pictures are great but who cares. That’s not the point of taking a picture, IS IT?

Well fast forward to now and its ALL about taking the “BEST” picture. We put on lipstick before taking a candid shot. We photoshop the hell out of a photo so it looks “PERFECT” and we carefully select which picture will make the cut before sharing our oh so precious memories with family and friends.

The holidays, which should be a festive and fun time of year, has turned into a sort of pageant in which we see who can out decorate, bake and dress each other. Speaking of pageants, I do think growing up learning to compete at such a young age has equipped me for this ultra competitive world we now live in. Let me explain…

I took the stage at 3 years old competing against 10 or so other tiny dancers in the tap division. My older cousins danced so my mom decided to put me in it for fun. I left my mom in the wings, took my starting position on stage and never looked back. I took 1st place at that competition (I’m sure I had no idea what that was) and received a score sheet telling me what I did great and what I needed to work on. That score sheet went back to my dance teacher so we could prepare for the next competition.

Through the years I won many competitions and pageant titles and lost many as well. There were tears when I lost but I never felt inferior to the dancers I lost to, I vividly remember telling myself that I needed to practice harder or brush up on my skills when I didn’t get the score I wanted.

I remember at times seeing costumes that I thought were prettier than mine so my mom and I looked for different costumes. I didn’t wish ill will on the dancer with the “better” costume or envy her. When I saw a dancer that was clearly out of my league in a category I would watch in awe and take notes and congratulate her when she won top honors.

All of this I learned from my mom. She told me that God gave me my dance ability and that I could take it as far as I wanted too. If she heard me talk negatively about myself or compare myself to another dancer she would sternly say “don’t you dare do that!”, “God made Wanda with a unique set of gifts that no one else has, you concentrate on your gifts and not anyone else’s” Those lessons have shaped me and I only hope I can do the same for my daughter!

Social media makes everything a competition and its really sad and exhausting especially for new parents who already feel the need to keep up with “appearances”. Who dresses their little one the “best”…who decorates their house the “best” and we all LOVE this one..who has the“best” after baby body…seriously???!!!

I can honestly say that 99% of the time (because no one is perfect😉 I don’t fall into those traps! I can look at a picture for what the picture is and not what material things are in it. I can look at a picture of a beautiful friend and sincerely think, WOW she looks great without comparing her to me. I can look at someone’s life and not think I wish I had their life and be sincerely happy for them when they accomplish their dreams.

You see it all starts at the beginning. Teaching our children to value and love themselves and to be content and proud of who they are makes them confident and secure. There will always be someone prettier or more successful than you if you look at it that way. However, beauty doesn’t have to have one definition and neither does success. EVERYONE CAN HAVE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BABY and believe me you wont be able to tell a mom any different:)

So this holiday season try not to get wrapped up in making everything perfect. Be bold and post a picture without you wearing makeup or take a candid shot of your family just being a family and just try to lay off of the filters and picture perfecting…Trust me people will still “like” your pictures :)May your Holidays be MERRY AND BRIGHT and full of LOVE!!!

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