Moms, take a 10-minute break and go through the images on your phone, tablet, or whatever you use for everyday photos. How far back do you have to scroll before you find one image that includes your beautiful face and at least one of your children?
If you have to scroll past rows of shots that feature only your children, you’re not alone. If the pictures with your face are mostly selfies snapped in what little time you have away from your children, you’re in line with so many other moms. Many of us don’t get in the picture unless it’s a special event or holiday. If it doesn’t even cross your mind that you should, this little pep talk is for you.
Great Picture... But Where Was Mom?
When a child does something adorable or the family pet creates a magical moment, who is the one most likely to reach for the camera in your family? While there are some dads who enjoy snapping pictures of the family, in many cases, it is mom who thinks of pictures when something great happens.
In fact, most moms are snapping pictures even when nothing seems out of the ordinary. It’s what we do, right? We know our little ones won’t stay their current size, and we want to have as many memories as possible. Every stage of growth brings a new level of adorableness and pride. We just have to capture it all.
Unfortunately, when you’re always the one behind the camera, you don’t appear in many of those everyday pictures. The memories are captured without you the majority of the time. It’s not that you’re an afterthought or unworthy of pictures. It’s just that you’re the one seeing the beauty in the moment.
When you’re watching your child open a new toy or run across the backyard with a puppy, they’re sharing a moment of their life with you. If those moments make it into adulthood as active memories, they won’t just remember the toy, green grass, bright sunshine, or fluffy puppy. They will remember mom watching them, keeping them safe, smiling and enjoying the moment along with them.
You’re part of the moment. You deserve to be in the picture as well.
Oh, But I'm Not Dressed for Pictures!
How many times have you said or thought something like that? You’re relaxing at the end of a long day with the kids and someone points the camera in your direction for once. You instantly put up your hand, laugh, and say, “Oh, I’m not dressed for that!”
It’s an automatic response for many moms who are accustomed to taking pictures, not being in pictures. It’s natural to want to look your best when the cameras are pointed on you. We all have these moments where we just don’t feel ready to smile and have a moment of our lives forever preserved on film or in a digital file.
What if that picture ends up on Facebook or Instagram? What if someone accidently sends it out to everyone in their phone? These thoughts may not go through your mind in the moment, but they’re the fears that keep many moms from smiling bright for impromptu pictures. We live in the days of technology, and every picture snapped could end up in front of hundreds if not thousands of people.
Which Would You Rather?
Just for a moment, imagine getting out of bed and waking up the kids. You’re wearing dirty pajamas, your hair is sticking out in about 10 directions, and you have bags under your eyes that you haven’t even thought to hide for the day.
The morning routine turns into a dance party!
You chase your kids around the room, show them your best moves, and cheer for them as they get into the groove with you. Everyone is giggling and smiling ear to ear. It’s just an average morning before another routine day, but it’s a memory you will forever cherish.
While all of this is happening, another family member grabs a camera and snatches some snapshots.
Which of the following outcomes would seem the worst-case scenario for you?
- You remember that morning forever but your children forget with time. When you come across those pictures years later, you’re not in a single shot. The memory is incomplete because it looks as if only the kids were having fun.
- You come across those pictures years later and find that you’re in a bunch of the shots. Your hair is sticking in every direction, your pajamas had seen better days, and your eye bags made you look way older than your actual age. But, there you are in the moment.
When you think about this in terms of capturing complete moments that will later show what you experienced in life, the first outcome is the saddest. You participate in all these moments with your children, but you then omit yourself from the picture and remove yourself from the memory.
If your children happen to grow up and forget the details of those moments, the pictures aren’t going to show that you were there alongside them. The pictures aren’t going to remind them what a fun morning that was with mom. It’s just going to show them having fun in their pajamas with one another.
Complete Every Moment, Mom!
The next time you want to hold that hand up or step behind someone else to dodge the camera, we encourage you to stay right where you are with a genuine smile of pride. Allow every moment to get captured with as much authenticity as possible.
Get real with your family photos. Stay in place and smile for those pictures because without you, the picture is never complete.
When you look back at these pictures with your older children, they aren’t going to care that you didn’t brush your hair before having an early morning dance party in their bedroom. They aren’t going to look at your eye bags and think you looked so old.
No, they’re going to look at those pictures and see your beautiful smile. They’re going to notice the loving interactions between you and your family. They’re going to cherish the moments that they were lucky enough to enjoy while growing up.
Stay in the picture no matter what, mom. Preserving history with accuracy requires you to do so.
There Are No Perfect Tomorrows
We’ve made a pretty strong case for keeping your smiling face in the picture as a mother, but there’s one more thing to consider:
It just turns out that your opportunities to take in-the-moment pictures with your loved ones never seem to happen at an ideal moment. You may feel like you’re always caught off guard. You’re never prepared. You never get to put your best and most confident face forward.
That’s just how life goes, and it happens that way for everyone. It’s easy to step out of the way and think that you’ll get in the next one. You may even go as far as deleting pictures that you don’t think flatter you because you reason that you’ll have so many more that will show you at your best.
The problem is that the moments you share with your loved ones today will never repeat. You may wake your children up every morning, but that impromptu dance party will never happen exactly as it did that one morning. You can bathe your little one a hundred times, and you will have a different experience each time.
There are many tomorrows to come, but none of them will feel just perfect. There is always something that can make you side-step the camera or exit the room when someone else takes over the pictures. Each time you do, you’re allowing a unique moment to pass without documenting your participation in the memory.
We encourage you to stop pushing great pictures off to another day. Embrace the moments that you have to smile with your children. Document those moments with your full presence. You can’t look back at those moments and fully appreciate them if you omit yourself at the documentation stage.
Ways to Get in the Picture Today
Are you at least halfway convinced to start getting in the pictures with your loved ones? You don’t have to wait for someone else to see a special moment and point a camera your way. Right now is the perfect time to create cherished photos with your children. We have some ideas that will tell you just how to make it happen.
Psst… The great thing about making the photo-worthy moments happen is that you can prepare a little because you know what’s coming! Go ahead and put on a touch of makeup, brush your hair, and check your shirt for stains. Then take one of the following ideas and create a cherished memory with your little ones today.
1. Turn it into a Selfie
Who says you need someone else to take pictures of you? If you have a smartphone, you have all you need to take an adorable selfie with your child. Just turn the camera on yourself and put on silly faces or your most adorable smiles.
If you want to make sure that you show up in the memories when your children look back on their childhood, challenge yourself to take at least a couple selfies each time you snap pictures of your kids. Make sure that they know you were present in their daily lives. They know you were, but they need to see it, too.
2. Set the Timer on Your Camera
Prop your camera up on a shelf somewhere and use the timer function to give yourself a minute to jump back in the scene. You can do posed photos or just everyday action shots this way. If you’re brave, turn on the video camera and grab footage of you playing, singing, or just doing chores with your little ones.
3. Ask Someone Else to Point the Camera
Can your partner, a grandparent, or close friend hold the picture and let you pose with your children some? Getting someone else to hold the camera is the best way to ensure you show up in pictures, and you can do a little posing to make sure they get your best side.
4. Hire a Professional
How many professional photoshoots have you scheduled just for your children or for your family as a whole? If you’re like many moms, you often schedule shoots just for the little ones. You may throw in a family portrait here and there, but mostly you want to capture the growth of each child through professional shoots.
We encourage you to schedule at least one family photoshoot each year. That allows you to get in the pictures along with your children and maybe have some fun with them on camera. You can show up feeling your best, and an experienced photographer will make sure you look your best as well. Those are the best mom pictures ever because you know your images are in the hands of a pro who wants to see you shine in every shot.
The moments are ticking by, mom. Get in the shot today!