When the First Day of School Isn’t Picture Perfect

Dear Mom whose first day of school wasn’t picture-perfect

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Yes, I know it hurts as you scroll through facebook and see picture after picture of smiling children, matching outfits, and hair just so. The chalkboard they’re holding proudly proclaims their grade level…

Yet, your kids somehow don’t look like that. No one wanted to get dressed, let alone wear a new outfit or pretty hairstyle. And grade level? You are wondering where your struggling learner is even at these days.

You try to get the kids in order, so you can take the obligatory picture. After all…everyone is doing it– it’s tradition.

They bicker as you try to get them in a cute pose. They whine. They aren’t digging the picture…and neither are you.

Mom, I’ve been there. I know. Every first day is not picture-perfect. We’ve had years where there were tears, arguments, and big, huge let-downs. Mainly on my part. I had built up that the first day should look a certain way…That we needed to have a new outfit, fresh school supplies, a traditional picture, a gift for each child, a special breakfast… and mostly, great big smiles while doing it.

We build these expectations in our heads about what it should be like. We want the picture perfect life. We want our first day to fit in with the world. 

Well, sometimes life isn’t picture-perfect. What if God doesn’t want that for your family. What if He is using your struggles right now for a purpose to grow your family closer to Him? He isn’t looking at that picture, He is looking at your hearts. It is much more essential to have the inside in order right now, than a picture that portrays perfection.

Moms, if you are struggling with not living up to what you see online...or you have created expectations based on others, let’s remember Who we are living for. We are living for the King of Kings and not an Instagram ideal. When did the Internet become the standard for which we live? His Word is the standard in which we should be desiring to follow. He is the One who has given us these children to raise- let’s not waste it worrying about things that are so unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

So if your day had joys, then celebrate them. If your day wasn’t so joyful, let it drive you to your knees and seek the Lord. He wants us to go to Him. And remember it often in the hard times, where we grow closest to Him.


And share those joys and struggles with your friends. Seek prayer, and seek support. We are all in this together and we are sisters in the body of Christ. Don’t pretend it’s all together when it’s all falling apart. Authenticity matters. So much. It matters. Shallow relationships based on appearances aren’t real. But the ones who share the nitty-gritty, where you have cried so much there’s no tears left…those are the times, where your girlfriends step in and pray for you, They cry for you. They lift you up. It’s a beautiful picture.





And remember, the first day, is really just another day. Kids won’t look back and remember all those first days specifically, but you can bet the ones in between, will be what fills their memories- and what you did on those days…what you taught them…will matter. Teach them well- teach them His Word, teach them to follow Him and not the world.

Now, in being transparent…this was our picture yesterday. It wasn’t even supposed to be our first day, but on a whim, we started early. Everyone was smiling and happy because we also got baby chicks yesterday! We always take a photo with our verse for the year, and this year we chose Romans 12:2.



Immediately after this picture, the kids argued about who was holding the chicks, and who was holding them too tight or not right. Later on, there were tears as the high schooler was overwhelmed with her work. Overall, it was a good day, but not without it’s difficult moments. We did work through the hard stuff, and it sure brought me to my knees at times.

This picture is not supposed to represent our whole day. It was a snapshot of a moment, to document our first day. Remember that when you see a photo and take it for what it is- a snapshot of a moment in time. Not a whole life.



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Author: Karen DeBeus

Karen is the author of Simply Homeschool, Called Home, and Bible Based Homeschooling. She is passionate about encouraging homeschooling families on their journey to keep their eyes on the One who called them here. She can also be found blogging about all things simple at Simply Living for Him.

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