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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

It’s Just Another Day on the Reality of Parenthood Olympics Show

By Jessica Guerrieri

I’m a sucker for a family photo. Every year around October I scroll through social media and watch moms getting their act together well before I’ve even had time to start feeling guilty for not pre-ordering our matching flannel. You know that famous Teddy Roosevelt quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There is no greater truth, especially during this time of year. It’s the season where everyone’s highlight reel takes the form of a sparkling holiday card, and parents everywhere can’t help but wonder about the story behind the pictures—because there is always one.

Well, let me tell you the story behind the holiday photo we took last year:
You know the family that wears matching PJs for its portrait? I decided we should unapologetically be that family. Because why the heck not? My husband does have certain clothing standards. If he is wearing anything less than jeans and a t-shirt—say, just a pair of basketball shorts—he won’t even answer the UPS person at the door. Luckily, I need only bat my eyelashes and he’ll give me the world. Still you should have seen his face when I held up our outfits (see photo above).

Last year, my entire family traveled to Park City, Utah, to celebrate Thanksgiving. I was especially thankful that my dad, a retired professional photographer, offered to take pictures for us. Everything about the photo we chose for our card is adorable, from my baby’s glee to my eldest’s bare feet. It succeeded in capturing a perfect moment, but that moment certainly didn’t last! Exactly eight hours after the photo was taken, just as we were about to fly home, I was hit with a violent combination of food poisoning and the stomach flu. Oh, the joys of traveling with three small children while every ounce of bodily fluid is trying to leave you faster than a toddler on Santa’s lap. It was just another day on the Reality of Parenthood Olympics show, that segment sponsored by adult diapers and Pepto Bismol. At one point I turned to my husband and said, “If the plane goes down, save the children and let me go.”

Of course, the real story of our family is not this silly tale; indeed, it’s nothing that ever could be captured in a frame. It’s all the moments of love and joy—and conflict and forgiveness—that we share the other 8,758 hours of the year when we are not wearing flannel for a photo. It’s those moments that I cherish the most, the moments that help paint the whole picture. 

Jessica Guerrieri is a freelance writer/blogger. She lives in Davis, California, with her husband and three daughters. Find her at and follow her on Instagram @witandspitup.