Do any of you have strange, obsessive, or remarkable personality/parenting/marital quirks that you inherited exclusively from your Mom? I do.
My mom is definitely what I would call above average. She gave motherhood her heart and soul and while I am sure she wasn't perfect, she made every possible attempt to be.
Though I have tried, I am not quite measuring up to her status. For one, she would have a meat and potatoes (with veggies!) type of meal on the table almost every single day of my childhood.
EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Let's be clear. I enjoy providing my family with a well-cooked meal on occasion; but, we definitely enjoy pizza night once a week, leftovers at least once a week, and for sure there are some grilled cheese and tomato soup nights, as well as a couple of "make your own b/c I am just too tired" meals thrown in the mix as well. You can do the math (but please don't) to see how often we do the fine dining around here.
Bottom line: I don't quite measure up to my mom in this category.
Other quirks I picked up from my mom is the ever present WORRY syndrome. She can always predict (sometimes accurately) the absolute worst case scenario in every possible situation. and I inherited this gift! I also inherited her problem solving skills (we can find just about any lost item, even if that means losing sleep, tearing apart every room in the house...if it is lost, WE WILL FIND IT).
The Anti-Picture Mom Quirk.
I have been playing around with a trial version of Animoto since I am a sap and I love photo videos set to music. I thought it would be a great idea for Mother's Day this year to do a video collection of pictures of my mom and me when I was younger and some pictures of myself and my kids to kind of show her the "legacy" of motherhood she has created.
After hours of searching, I found approximately two pictures with my mom in the photo. Equally distressing, there weren't many more than that of me with my own kids. What the heck?
I do love and definitely prefer to be behind the camera. In fact, of the 300,000+ images I have stored on my 2 TB external hard drive, SIX of them have me in them. BUT, let's rewind and be real here for a second:
I am DEVASTATED that I don't have more pictures of my mom as a young mother.
Three out of four of my kids are teenagers, so I don't think they care to have any pictures of me right now, but I am fairly confident (please tell me it is true) that they will turn around and like me again in the (near??) future.
Moms are far too often behind the camera, or they find the following excuses for not wanting to be in the photo:
- I look fat.
- I didn't fix my hair today.
- I look tired.
- I didn't put any makeup on this morning.
- I don't want to ask anyone else to take the picture.
- I haven't showered in days (or washed my hair in days).
- The kids are so much cuter to look at than I am.
Two years ago, Allison Tate wrote a moving essay vowing to make a better effort to be in photos with her kids despite not being her ideal weight. A year later, looking back on her year of being in the pictures, she wrote, "When we take pictures with our children, we are asserting ourselves as important and valuable, and our children are watching us."
I am officially un-adopting this anti-photo quirk of my mom. And I am making her quit the habit also.
So let's get to the real reason you are here reading this long-winded rant.
How can you get more pictures of yourself as the mom in your photos?
- Avoid Guilt and Regret. Parents die. Children grow up and leave home. It is a horrible, depressing and possibly harsh thing to start this list off with, but so often we are self-conscious of our looks or our body and don't want to be in the image. If you were to pass away suddenly, would your children care one wit about those scowl wrinkles? (I am particularly sensitive about those wrinkles these days). No. They would not care. They will want to SEE and be reminded of the mom who attended their sporting events, made them their dinner, sacrificed life and limb to keep them safe and make them happy. Let's remind the kids of our awesomeness by including ourselves in some of these images to make sure they can never forget.
- Push The Remote button. Camera remotes cost very little money. If you don't own a DSLR camera, and just take pictures with your Iphone (and I say "just" lightly as I have seen many INCREDIBLE photos taken with "just" an Iphone), they even make smartphone remotes now. This little smartphone remote costs $9 and has almost 4,000 positive reviews. Easy and affordable. The excuse of "no one else can take the picture besides me" doesn't fly anymore.
- Use a Timer. Most cameras and smartphones have Timer Button settings. Get the camera on a tripod or propped on a stool or rock at the right angle, set the timer and RUN! Just kidding...usually they have increments that don't require an adrenaline-induced sprint. But even if it does, and you are caught on camera mid-stride--have some fun with it. At least the world will know you existed, and that you were capable of potentially rapid movement. :)
- Overcome Selfie Stick Shame. Anyone over the age of 30 is probably self-conscious about the selfie stick. I am FOR SURE a mom in this category. But seriously, I always tell my kids not to worry about what other people think of them, and then I regularly experience the Hypocrites Remorse that comes from not following my own advice. If you are a married mom of teens and using a selfie stick to show off your cleavage while doing smooch faces on your Instagram profile--you probably SHOULD be self-conscious about your selfie stick usage. But, if you are taking a picture of yourself with the kids at the top of your hike, or while holding the GoPro on the Ferris Wheel, or jumping into the swimming pool--you just look like a fun mom. And there is no shame in that.
- Ask a Friend or Ask a Stranger. I have literally not once ever had someone turn me down when asked to take a picture for me. NOT ONCE. In fact, I usually end up chatting with and meeting someone new when I ask them for pictures. Definitely choose your stranger wisely (for many reasons) but try and go for someone who is either carrying a camera, or you have seen taking pictures or attempting a selfie of their own (offer to trade, I have done this many times also). Make sure the chosen photographer doesn't look like they are in a frazzled rush or that they might murder you in a dark alley. A little common sense comes in handy pretty much at all times. Before you hand anyone a camera or iphone and walk away, take two seconds to compose the image for them, and tell them how many pictures you want them to take. It is usually a good idea to get at LEAST two just in case one of you blinks, someone looks away, or one of your kids is biting his sister in the shot.
- Take Video Instead. Sometimes it is less awkward to talk to the camera and be in the moment than having to stand and pose and smile at the camera. Take video of the kids and turn it around and talk to the camera for a moment. Just make a few appearances in the video so your posterity knows how funny you were or how smart you were or how great your eyebrows were. They NEED to know these things!
- Let Your Kids Take Some Photos. As a photographer and a mom who knows how easily things get broken...I have a REALLY hard time letting any of my kids use my camera. But, it is such a great opportunity for them to learn something new, try something grown up, and feel like they are responsible and you have trusted them with this important thing. Explain to them how to compose the picture, teach them a little bit about light and expression and have it be a moment of learning instead of a rushed, stressful task. My kids absolutely LOVE it when I let them use my camera. Let them catch some pictures of you with your spouse, or with one of your other kids or even of you by yourself. And most importantly, DO NOT DELETE THESE ONES LATER. Even if you hate them!
- Challenge Yourself. Make a goal to get 20 pictures of yourself on your next vacation, or while you are at the zoo with your kids. Create a theme of images you want to capture in a day/week/month. Make a list (I have a free printable list of Mom photo challenges you can download below) of specific images you want to get each month and cross them off as you go. In the first few days/weeks of the challenge, don't be particular as you work at getting over your anxiety about doing this. Then, work towards more quality images and better composition, etc. as you get more comfortable and confident.
- Ask Dad. Umm...hello. Dad can take the picture occasionally too! Take turns on who has camera duty for the outing or event, or if you want to be the Primary Family Photographer, just make him be in charge for 5 minutes while you get in on some shots with the kids.
- Hire a Professional. You had to know this one would be on the list. ;) Obviously as a photographer, I think getting pro photos taken of your family regularly is really important and something you will NEVER, EVER regret. As a busy mom of four who FAILED to get family pictures last year, I TOTALLY get how hard it can be to get this in. It is kind of like going to the dentist or getting your regular doctor checkups. It can be put on the back burner when suddenly you realize a year or two or three has gone by and Johnny no longer has braces, and Jane has grown six inches since your last photo. Try and get professional, or at least semi-professional (as in, ask a friend and do a trade) family photos done once a year. If you live in the Portland, Oregon or nearby surrounding areas and are looking for a family photographer or even a Mom and Me Portrait Session....I just might know one you could use! ;)
Moms, let's get back in the picture. You are the heartbeat of the family...don't be a ghost!
Don't forget to download your free printable below to keep you on track for getting yourself in more pictures this month.
Also, just so you know I practice what I preach...I have been taking more pictures of myself all year (or having my kids take them...ie: the ghastly angle of the picture of me and my husband). I even managed to sneak a couple of me and my mom in there! woohoo!!