PICTURE THIS... You are at a family party enjoying yourself when your child comes running up to you with unbridled excitement, "MOMMY! They set up a fun photo booth in the other room! Come take a picture with me!!!!"
You smile and say, "Oh, that's nice honey...." quickly running through all your goto excuses trying to figure out which one you're going to use that will let you escape the dreaded camera...again. You decide on, "...but my hair is all messy - why don't you go take one with Uncle Tom?"
"But Mommy! You look beautiful! P L E A S E ? We can make silly faces!"
"I want to finish up my meal, OK? Maybe later...."
"Pleeeeaaaaasssssse Mommy? I want YOU in the picture with me...."
"No, not now. Find Uncle Tom - he'll take a silly picture with you."
You watch the light slowly disappear from your child's eyes - he/she knows that you won't be taking a picture today, or any other day. He/she sadly walks away to go find Uncle Tom.
The Mom guilt sets in, but you just can't bring yourself to have your picture taken. You weren't planning on it...your makeup isn't right and you still need to lose that extra 10 pounds.... A photo is just going to remind you of all those things you are currently unhappy with about your looks and your body.
I can't tell you how many Moms I know who absolutely avoid being in photos...it's not they don't "want" to be in the pictures, but they have this irrational belief that they are not good enough to be in the photos. And YES...this is IRRATIONAL and even worse, it's damaging. Damaging to them and their families.
I admit that I'm guilty as well, but you know what.... THIS IS NOT OK.
Look at this photograph. What do you see? This photograph is priceless because it shows a genuine moment between Mom and Son. There is nothing but love in their hearts and eyes. Every single mother should be willing to let go of their self-doubts and allow for something like this to be captured on camera. This little boy will cherish this photograph forever.
"Affection without any limitations, it can also be love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism, or complete love."
Need more convincing? Keep reading...
WE EXIST & WE MATTER (A LOT)
Here is a little eye-opener for you... pick up your phone and open your photo app. Put it in gallery mode and quickly glance through your photos...based on your quick scroll, what percentage of photos are you actually in? 50%, 30%, 10%? My guess is that most of you will probably say 10% or less. That's really depressing isn't it? If a stranger were to pick up your phone, they probably wouldn't know you exist, would they? The thing is, us Moms are the engine that runs our families! Everything pretty much revolves around us! But yet, we don't value ourselves enough to allow our image to be taken. Crazy.
WE HAVE A STORY
As much as we embrace motherhood and live it day in and day out, that isn't the only thing that defines us. Each of us has a personal story (or stories) that brought us to this point in our lives. It is that story that has made us who we are and it is that story that is oh so important for us to share with our children.
Photographs are a great way to share and celebrate your story. They also serve as a great reminder that you do indeed have a STORY!
OUR CHILDREN NEED DOCUMENTED MEMORIES
Let's face the hard truth....we are not going to be around forever. Whether that day comes tomorrow or 50 years from now, it's going to happen. And when that does happen, it will be even more important that your children have photos of you to remember you by and images that they can show their children and grandchildren when they re-tell your story and teachings. The other day I was speaking with a Mom who had just rattled off about 3 of the excuses from above. When I explained how all those things were not important to her children and that they would need documentation of her existence I noticed her eyes start to well with tears. She then told me that her Mom had just recently passed and how she and her siblings poured over hundreds of photographs to display at her funeral and could only find one because her Mom never wanted to be in the pictures. She then went on to tell me how sad this made her because to her, her Mom was the WORLD and now that she was gone, she had barely any evidence of her existence.
OUR CHILDREN LEARN FROM US
From the moment they come out of our womb, we worry about how they will be affected by society, pressure, and all of life's challenges. We want only the best for our children and hope that we provide them with all the tools they need to be self-confident individuals who are willing and able to go out and get what they want from life. We preach to them about how they should not let nay-sayers stop them, or how no matter what anyone says, they are beautiful and valued. And then they see us, the most important role-model in their life, shy away from a camera because we aren't good enough. What does this teach them? We need to show them that despite our messy hair, our extra weight and our lack of makeup that we love who we are! Actions speak louder than words. Don't sabotage your life lessons with you own insecurities. Embrace who you are and be PROUD. Remember, to your child, you ARE a model. They don't see those extra 10 pounds, they don't see that freckle on your forehead or that mole you are so self conscious of....what they see is their MOM. The woman who wakes them up every morning, cooks them dinner, washes their hair, kisses their boo-boos, sings them bed-time songs and plays Candyland with them. YOU ARE THEIR EVERYTHING.
The next time your child draws a picture of you or writes you a little letter telling you how much they love you take it to heart. Bottle that stuff up and let it build up your confidence. THIS is what matters. THIS is what they will remember. THIS is EVERYTHING.
You owe it to yourself and your children to have some unconditional love for yourself.
Photographs aren't about looking like super models....photographs are about LIFE. We owe it to our children to put these superficial insecurities aside and get in the picture for several reasons...so the next time the opportunity arises, throw caution and excuses to the wind and jump in the picture knowing that you are providing a visual memory of yourself for your children that they can cherish forever.