Moms, Get In The Damn Family Photos, Please

As moms, we are blessed with certain innate talents. We can instinctively tell when one of our kids had a bad day at school — even before they come off the bus. We can also miraculously stretch our arms about an extra 3-4 inches to come into contact with the kids sitting (and fighting) in the backseat of the car…while driving, nonetheless. But none of that compares with our ability to be completely invisible in most family photos. And that’s why I say (plead, really) to moms, get in the damn family photos already.

“But wait,” you say. “I’m in my family pics.” Really? Are you? Go scroll through your phone to see how many photos there are of your children at the pumpkin patch, or your baby taking a bath, and I’ll bet that you’re in almost none of them. Of course, your rebuttal will be something along the lines of: “But someone has to take the photos, and I’m the only one to do it!” And again, I say, “Really? Are you?” Because I’d bet that you could ask someone, anyone, (whether it’s a partner or a passerby) to grab your phone and snap a shot of all of you.

You see, this isn’t a blame game. This is a wakeup call. It’s time to stop editing ourselves out of our family’s lives. Without even realizing it, we’ve become masters at Photoshop, removing what we feel doesn’t matter all that much (i.e. ourselves) out of the images, so the focus stays on what matters most: the kids and possibly your partner. And this is wrong on so, so many levels.

Moms, Here’s Why You Need To Be In Your Family Photos

When the love of my life, my Mom, passed away years ago, I scrambled to find any photos or videos that I could of her. But she, too, had that superpower to avoid the camera for fear of not looking her best. And what I was left with was a handful of images of us together, and it made me feel incredibly sad. Sad that someone who I absolutely adored and thought was the most beautiful person on the planet didn’t think the same of herself, and robbed herself (and me) of the chance to look back on images and reminisce about happy times shared together.

Despite the fact that I knew better, that I knew how much it hurt to not have many images of the one human being who meant the most to me, I started to repeat the cycle. I would shy away from the camera (which was ironic, considering that I’m a photographer), for any number of a bazillion reasons. Maybe it was because a baby had just puked on my shoulder, or because I had spent all day scrambling to get a picture-perfect party together for my kids, that I didn’t have those extra 15 minutes to get myself all gussied up.

Then, one day, my own daughter called me out on it. She said, “Why aren’t you in this photo?” and I rattled off a bunch of reasons. She looked at me earnestly and said, “Momma,  you’re so beautiful, don’t think that way,” and it made me realize that she was looking at me like the way I looked at my Mom. Did it matter if I had dark circles under my eyes? Nope. Was it a concern that my natural curls were looking a little crazy that day? No (but it was definitely worth a laugh).

And that’s when I got my ass into almost every photo. I deserved a spot in my family pics, damn it, and I wasn’t going to volunteer to shoot any more images when I was supposed to be in them. That way, in the future, my kids can look back on all of our amazing memories, some questionable fashion choices, and know that their mom loved and valued herself enough to come out from behind the camera — and smile happily for it instead.


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