“Say cheese” When family life isn’t as cheery as it is in the photographs.

“Say cheese” When family life isn’t as cheery as it is in the photographs.

Read these wonderful steps to help you close that gap

As a family and children’s photographer based in Guildford working with a wide variety of families from Surrey, South West London and surrounding areas, I always try to capture happy and smiley images for my clients, but what do you do when family life isn’t as cheery as it looks in the photographs?

When you’re looking at other people’s pictures of happy family times and wondering why your family isn’t like this. When scrolling through social media means you get hit by those unforgiving waves.....

The “I suck at this” wave The “I’ve failed my children” wave

The “I’ve lost the joy” wave

Social media can be the loneliest place. The reminder of how we are lacking. Sometimes our photos look a whole lot more cheery than reality because those photos are not the whole picture and family life is not always easy or fun.

There are steps we can take to close that gap. Here’s 5 questions to help you stay standing and not get completely bowled over next time that wave hits.

How do I really feel? - When was the last time you were really honest about how you felt? It’s ok to not enjoy parenthood, to have regrets or to feel overwhelmed. You might not wish to admit this at the NCT reunion, but find a safe place where you can – a friend, a journal, a professional. Honesty is powerful.

What is going well? - Comparison is the thief of joy. If our focus is more on the ups and downs of others in comparison to us we will, probably find ourselves feeling smug or lacking. Neither of which is helpful. Far more valuable to focus on what is going well in your life – your small wins and your big ones matter.

What are my expectations? - Are you expecting to do 36 hours of activity per day? Here’s the bad news there’s 24 available. Have you accidentally bought into a myth you can have more than your resources allow or family life should be something it’s not? How realistic are your expectations of yourself and your children?

What is missing? - Family life entails sacrifice. Have you mistaken your needs as wants and sacrificed them too? Ask yourself: What is missing? What do YOU want? These questions may be key to family life being more cheery. If they feel too big then find someone who can help you unpick them.

What might help me? - What resources do I have? Experience? Friends? Family? Finances? How can these help me? Sometimes we underutilise the resources we have for a whole heap of reasons – why not get a cleaner if you can afford it? What stops you asking a friend for help?

Family life is gloriously messy, complicated, rewarding, fun, heart-breaking, exhausting, fulfilling and so many other things but definitely not easy. It’s not always cheery and it’s ok for it to be that way but we can make sure that instead of being bowled over by those waves that we grasp every bit of beauty and the joy, even in the difficult seasons.

This blog has been written by Julie Cresswell from Optimum Coaching – visit her website or even better join their free Facebook group with some incredible valuable guidance in how to help you parent the way you always dream of!

Julie helps parents find reassurance and get unstuck. She writes from her experiences as a foster parent, parent and teacher. She became a coach because she believes that ALL parents benefit from space to offload and reflect. With quality thinking space she regularly sees parents find the best way forward to fit their family and enjoy family life far more as a result.

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