For the last five years, Jonathan Stanley has had his family pose for photos that capture the “chaos of parenting.” And yes, he and his wife actually send the images out as their Christmas cards.
It all started when the new parents tried to take a “traditional” Christmas card photo after they welcomed their first child. Stanley told HuffPost via email that the pics ended up “hilariously bad.”
“The baby cried the whole time, it was windy, the camera kept misfiring, you name it,” he said. “If two of us looked OK, the third one blinked or sneezed or something.”
Stanley said he and his wife thought the results were so funny that they ended up sending the outtakes to friends and family, who ended up loving the pics. Based on the feedback, the couple decided to do a series of comedic Christmas cards that showed an exaggerated version of life as a parent.
Before they posed for their 2014 card, the couple had welcomed another son. The holiday pic (above) featured the two boys as well as multiple versions of the parents trying to keep it together.
After that first card, the couple decided to put the boys ― and their shenanigans ― even more in the spotlight. The next year’s card showed the kids seemingly playing with power tools and climbing on the roof. Don’t worry, Stanley said he Photoshops some of the details for laughs.
Last year, the boys took the family car for a spin.
And this year, the card features the family’s newest addition: a daughter. Their latest holiday pic shows her up to no good ― with the help of her brothers, of course.
For the cards, Stanley takes inspiration from “Calvin and Hobbes,” a comic strip he loved as a child. He hopes to pass on Calvin’s “creative and imaginative mind” to his own kids as well.
He hopes other parents who see the family’s Christmas cards love them just as much and go a bit easier on themselves.
“Aside from a good chuckle, I want parents everywhere to know that it’s OK to feel a little overwhelmed at times,” he said. “Nobody has it all together.”