Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Pottery Barn Kids Catalog Lied to Me About Parenting

A great picture of the table (with a background shot of my childhood friends and me)!  The best pic a ten-year-old photographer can snap!

Took the boys canoeing in Sugar Creek.  When asked how they felt about canoeing, they flashed these responses.

The before shot.

My co-pilot and navigator.  

At a mid-way stop, Cooper was more than happy to engage in some vertical exploration!

Last swim meet!  Cooper looks like a professional in his pre-race stance.

A friend and I chatted on the phone.  We lamented about the various challenges and struggles associated with parenting tweens.

She huffed, "Parenting is certainly harder than I thought."

I added, "Yeah, and the Pottery Barn Kids catalog made it look so easy!"

She laughed and agreed.

I was only half joking.  

I certainly remember perusing the Pottery Barn Kids catalog while I housed baby #1.  With my feet up, I stroked my swollen baby belly and admired the images on the beautiful catalog pages.  The photos featured clean, handsomely dressed nurseries and children's rooms.  Monogrammed linens hung on towel racks and personalized pillows perched on quilts.  And the monogrammed names were brilliant, better than those featured on soap operas or made known by the most celebrated of celebrities.

Then there were the children splashed upon the pages.  They were cute (understatement. understatement.): perfectly dressed, impeccably groomed, seemingly well-behaved.  I imagined they were smart, funny, creative, and (above all else) easily parented.

What I gleaned from the pages of those catalogs was that parenting was easy, clean, organized, pretty, and fun.

Shame on you Pottery Barn Kids.  

Parenting doesn't look that way.

Nowhere on the pages of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog will you see a child throwing a fit upon a gingham quilt with matching shams.  

You will not see the children firing punches over a bath toy with the backdrop of a pastel, butterfly shower curtain.  

The personalized lunch box will not be pictured filled with Cheetos, Milky Way bars, and nachos (because the fictional mom was truly over having yet another fight over the nutritional value of organic food).  

The monogrammed backpack will not be packed with substandard homework grades.  

The beds will not disheveled.

The walls will not wear crayon marks.

The floors will not show scratches from Matchbox cars and Tonka trucks.

No, Pottery Barn Kids shows an image of a utopia parenthood that I strongly believe is unattainable by mortal households.

What the Pottery Barn Kids catalog failed to tell us is that parenting will look nothing like the images on their pages.  Parenthood is messy, disorganized, stressful, and challenging.  There will be minutes, days, and seasons when life will be completely out of whack.

But the catalog doesn't display that even when life is chaotic and messy and completely off track, it can be beautiful...even if the shams don't match the bedding and the personalized towels are misspelled. 

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