There’s a new “challenge” going around Facebook. “Seven days. Seven black and white photographs of my life. No photos of people. No explanations. Challenge someone different every day. Today I challenge ___.”

Thanks for thinking of me, but I will decline the offer.

Why? It’s a simple reason: it depresses me to think my life can be summed up in seven black and white photos.

You see, just the other day, I was speaking with my husband over the phone. He was gone for work, it had been a rough day with the kids, I was juggling a few difficult realizations about myself as a parent, and a night without his comfort was fast approaching. Things were looking dark for me.

I knew I’d be fine after a good night’s sleep, but at that moment I was stuck in Negativeland. My life sucked. I was a terrible mother, a pitiful housekeeper, hated being home with the kids, was tired of cleaning up urine-soaked bedding from my toddler, and I just wanted to run away.

At that time, had someone asked me to participate in this “challenge” I would have probably taken photos of my master’s degree gathering dust, the pile of dirty dishes in the sink AND on the counter AND on the table, our big couch covered in laundry, an empty seat at the table where my husband normally sits, the barren landscape around my home, the empty picture frames on my wall that are meant to house my kids’ pictures, and a tear rolling down my face.

That’s what that day felt like. However, it doesn’t sum up my life. Those pictures would be bleak and depressing. It was something I was going through at that moment.

I don’t want my life to be seven black and white photos of objects.

I want my life vibrant and full of color. I want people in my life, especially my family. I want smiles with the tears. I want a mix of the positive and the things that make me appreciate the positive things. I want people to know I love my husband and children with everything I have, even while they drive me crazy. My degree may be gathering dust, but I learn new things every day, and I put the things I learn to use. I volunteer at the school, church, and in my community because those places need help and it fulfills something inside me to offer it. I have dirty dishes and laundry everywhere because I’m busy, and I’m blessed with the ability to provide shelter, food, and clothing for my family.

No photo could show the complex feelings I have about being a stay-at-home mom instead of a working mom, like I was for years. No photo can show the amount of love for my husband and children I have. No photo exists to show my angel in Heaven. No photo could explain the complexity of overcoming insecurities and self-struggles to make the most of opportunities.

Photos simply provide a snapshots of moments. Those moments may be brief, lasting a day, or lasting a lifetime. They provide a glimpse into someone’s life, but only a glimpse. Each photo in itself cannot explain that person. Even seven photos would not suffice, no matter how “boring” and “uneventful” we may think our lives are.

Your life isn’t black and white or a single moment. It’s full, and colorful, and ongoing. There are brighter and darker apertures, shaded filters, cockeyed angles, different views, various subjects, sharper or blurred focus–and none of it is ever the same at any given moment.

Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a mom who is working outside the home part-time and who is learning to cope with the ever-changing daily challenges of full-time parenthood. She graduated with her Master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005, and works with a diverse mental health population. Jessica resides in Central Nebraska with her husband and four children on the family ranch.