Have you read this excellent article called The Mom Stays in the Picture? It’s about why we, as mothers, need to make sure we are in our own family photos. We may not want to be photographed, preferring not to see just how much baby weight we’re still carrying, how many wrinkles we’ve got, or how much grey we’ve sprouted. Maybe we didn’t have time to do our hair, or put on make-up, or clean the spit-up off our shirt. Maybe we’re just feeling frumpy and un-photogenic. So we wind up with LOTS of photos of our children, and maybe even lots of photos of our kids with their daddy, but hardly any photos with ourselves in the picture.
The author, Allison Tate, writes:
But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don’t like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?
This really struck home with me. I am almost never in the picture. I have thousands of photographs of my family. THOUSANDS. But I appear in very few. For one thing, I’m usually the one taking the photographs. Jesse readily admits that he is no photographer, so I’m usually the one behind the camera, capturing our family’s memories. But, if I’m being honest, even when Jesse does take photos, I usually cringe when I see myself in the picture. Look at that hair. Look at those frumpy clothes! Is that really what my neck looks like? Have I really gained that much weight? DELETE. DELETE. DELETE.
I already regret how many memories I’ve not captured by never being in the picture. Someday, when my girls are grown, and the memories of their childhood become hazy, photographs will be all that is left of those memories. And I won’t be in any of them.
As Allison wrote,
I’m everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won’t be here… and I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.
It breaks my heart to think of my children one day, remembering me when I’m gone, and wishing they had more photos of us together. My children don’t care what I look like – they both see past my flaws and think I’m the most beautiful mommy in the world. They won’t look at photos of me one day and think I looked wrinkly, or that my hair looked messy, or that my face looked splotchy. They will look at my smile and think how happy I look, or look at our laughter, and think how much fun we had. They will see how much we love each other.
I may not like what I see in photos of myself, but I want my kids to see me anyway. I need to be in the picture, even if I am not perfect. I want my children to see how much a part of their life I am, the look on my face when I hug them, the love that surrounds us when we are together. I will not press delete next time I see a photo that reminds me I don’t look like I did ten years ago. I will keep the memory for my children. I will be in the picture.
I challenge you, mamas, get in the picture. BE IN THE PICTURE. Will you take the challenge?