Dear Instagram, this is what having kids really looks like!

Staged family photoshoots with matching outfits, idyllic settings and cute signs with slogans like ‘Love’ and ‘Family’, are all the rage these days. But what happens when parents let the lens capture what family life is really like?

Toys all over the floor? Food spilled all over the counters? Kids crying in the background? This, mum and dads, is what we prefer to keep hidden behind closed doors. Until now…


Welcome to the photo project Sham of the Perfect which unwraps the perfectly packaged idea of parenting and instead gives us a ripped (and most likely passed down from at least three birthday parties) gift bag of reality.


The creators of Sham of the Perfect – Erike Roa, Lacey Monroe and Natasha Kelly – came up with the idea after feeling tired of  “seeing photos that only show happy smiling clean children in immaculate interiors or sun-drenched fields during golden hour”.


Because, let’s be honest with ourselves, family life isn’t Instaperfect. Family life is messy, chaotic and an emotional roller coaster.  Together with 15 other photographers in Canada, the US and Australia, the three mums launched Sham of the Perfect which brings real life photography to a new frontier.


“Our project is dedicated to documentary family photography and all the messes, tantrums, unadulterated joy, and memorable moments that happen when you aren’t busy trying to make everything look perfect,” Erika tells The Huffington Post.

sham of perfect 1

And, let’s face it mums and dads – the pressure to be the perfect parent is very evident in today’s society. It’s quite rare to get through a day without being overwhelmed by a sense of mummy guilt, hearing about a new parenting trend or feeling like you are being judged for something.


“We get it on all ends,” said Lacey. “From the parenting books with endless amounts of conflicting information, to the mothers’ groups and forums which can quickly turn catty with online shaming if you don’t subscribe to their practices, to visual representations that we are constantly bombarded with via advertisements, Pinterest, and social media.”


The photo series succeeds in letting all mums and dads know that it’s okay to let go of the perfect and embrace the chaotic.


These honest depictions of family life showcase a mixture of messy lounge rooms, kids attempting to cook and do laundry (leaving a trail of disaster in their paths) and muddy moments, as well as the more personal photos like cuddles in bed, baths in the sink, tears at the playground, broken arms made better with ice cream and siblings playing quietly together.


Through the myriad of emotions and situations that are all too familiar, the group succeed in capturing real life.


And while there may not be any white sandy beaches in the background or children holding hands, the beauty lies in the truth, the purity, the innocence and the relatability of the situations.


You can check out all of the photos via Sham of the Perfect or through their Facebook page.


In the meantime, we’d love to see the real moments and messes of our Babyology community. Simply upload a photo below and we will highlight some of our favourite real life moments in parenting in a future article.

Mess and all.

Fill out my online form.

(via The Huffington Post)

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