I was reading a magazine the other day and stumbled upon a piece that had asked readers to write in and tell the magazine about an event or moment that they wish they had a photo of but don’t. There were many different responses covering a wide variety of memories from a graduation ceremony to a photo at a special location. It made me stop and think about how I would answer the question. I love taking pictures so my first thought is that I have photos of everything important – don’t I? After giving it quite a bit of thought the thing that came strongest to mind is that I lack photos of me with my children – especially as newborns and young babies. I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only mom who would answer in this way. Why does there tend to be more pictures of our kids without us in them than of our kids with us? It’s time to be more intentional about getting in the photo.
As a mom, I am often the photographer, the one behind the camera taking all of the precious photos of our children. I enjoy snapping pictures of our adventures and our children’s antics. My husband is often in the photos with my children as well since I often encourage him to jump in or pose with the boys. But, if I want MY picture taken; I have to make a point to specifically ask my husband to take it. It just doesn’t come naturally to him to think to ask or snap a photo.
In addition, my husband often takes selfies with our kids on his phone. On the other hand, I am usually multitasking, and to be honest, I don’t feel that selfies are all that flattering so I don’t often attempt them. They just don’t measure up since photography is my hobby and selfies tend to have awkward camera angles, bad lighting, and appear super posed. Has anyone mastered the selfie without these pitfalls? If so I’d love to hear your strategies!
The other reason, and perhaps the biggest excuse, why I don’t often appear in photos with the kids is that I am still coming to terms with the shape and feel of my body after carrying and giving birth to two children. I often avoid being in the photo not because I don’t want a picture of me and the kids but because I feel like I look awful and do not want to be memorialized that way. When someone asks if I would like my picture taken with my kids, you will often hear me politely decline but offer to take theirs with my kids instead. Sound crazy? It is – but I’m afraid of looking back in the photo albums and seeing what I look like – a bit too lumpy, hair a mess, and more than likely baby drool or kid slime adorning my shirt. But now that it’s been brought to my attention I realize that worse than being a mess in a family photograph might be looking through the photos someday and realizing that I’m not in them at all. What if my kids wonder where I was the whole time? What if they ask why mom never wanted to take a picture with them or why I was always hiding behind the camera? I want my boys to remember that I was there for them every step of the way.
Making this change isn’t easy so I’m putting a plea out there to dads and extended family members. Encourage the moms in your life to get into the picture –even if they try to tell you that they “look awful.” Remind them that when you look back at the picture you will see the memory, not the flyaway hair or the stain on your shirt. Better yet? Learn Photoshop and offer to edit out the kid slime! Either way, consider how often your wife takes your picture with the kids and snap a few of her doing the same. Don’t let mom fall through the cracks to the point where she disappears from the family photo album forever. As for moms – your family loves you just the way you are – imperfections and all. Don’t hide yourself away. You’re missing out on precious keepsakes of memories that will last the test of time.