Avoid Guilt and Regret: Mom, Get in the Photo

Photo by Chelsea Adams Photography

Photo by Chelsea Adams Photography

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." 

Parents die.  Children grow up and leave home.  It is a horrible, depressing and possibly harsh thing to start this post 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. 

So how do we do this without feeling ridiculous?  How do we do it despite our self-consciousness over our weight or our looks or whatever negativity we feed ourselves?  There are SO many ways and I am going to dive into a few of them as we build up to Mother's Day this year.

{Free downloadable Photo Prompt Idea list at bottom of post}

Photo by Chelsea Adams Photography

Photo by Chelsea Adams Photography

The first idea I want to introduce is to think about something you do all the time and often for your kids (or if this is for a gift for Mom for Mother's day, make a list of the things SHE did for you as a kid or does for you now).  Try and get down to the basics, what are some of the day to day things that come to mind when you think about your mom or you look at your life?  Here are some examples:

  • Cook dinner

  • Pack lunches

  • Nurse wounds

  • Family Home Evening or Scripture Study

  • Scheduling the day to day activities

  • Chauffer everyone to all of those day to day activities

  • Teach or Help with Homework

  • Read books 

  • Teach Music or Enforce Music Practice

  • Plan meals (Menu, Recipe Collect, Grocery shop, etc.)


  • Birthday party organizer

  • Fix Hair

  • Buy clothes

  • Entertain sometimes

  • Fix broken things

  • Find Lost things

  • Multi-task

  • Brusher of teeth

  • Photographer of the family (don't get me started)

  • Trip Planner

  • Coach

  • Snuggler

  • Laundry

  • Magic Maker (Holidays, etc)

  • Pet caregiver

  • Sports sideline cheerleader

Also, make a list of her (your) talents and hobbies or things you catch yourself or your mom doing often:

  • Listening to podcasts

  • Out on a walk

  • Baking pies

  • Crochet, knit, needlework, quilting

  • Taking pictures

  • Skiing

  • Hiking

  • Exercising

  • Painting

  • Drawing

  • Dancing

  • Reading

Then make a list of things that might be quirks or unique or can be an identifier of YOU (or your mom):

  • Nails are always done

  • Must clean house before every big trip or family outing

  • Wear glasses when you read

  • Has a favorite greeting or goodbye phrase "Remember who you are!" or "I love you to the moon and back!"

  • Wears keys around her neck

  • Sits in a certain chair to read

  • How much crap they have in their purse

  • A certain journal or scripture or anything that is very uniquely MOM.

  • You drink diet coke on the daily or order a "large diet coke with extra ice" at every Mcdonald's you pass throughout the week.

  • Your favorite go-to snack or your favorite treat you buy yourself.

  • Always wears a scarf or a certain jacket, slippers or hoodie.

Photo by Chelsea Adams Photography

Photo by Chelsea Adams Photography

Okay, so now that you have a kinda long list...look at it and think of ways you can photograph or video some of these things.  In another post, I am going to talk about ways to actually TAKE the photo, but for now, we are just going to get our list ready and find ways to document the human that you are so we don't leave our kids with the regret of not having more to remember you by.  Going back to the list, I will give you some examples of what I mean:

  • Cook dinner (take a photo of your moms hands stirring a certain pasta pot that is always used to make a signature dish.  Get a picture of yourself or your mom in your favorite apron in the kitchen.  Take a photo of the recipe, the utensils used, the countertop, the ingredients for the signature recipe, etc. Use your imagination and creativity to make this one thing that you and/or your mom do a document and representation of who you are.  I will do a tutorial on food or meal documentary photography in a later post, but for now, if this idea excites you, put a star by it and we will get into the "how" later.

  • Pack lunches (always packing a train of lunch bags and sandwiches, take some pics of the process of making several sandwiches, the tupperware used or the typical sandwiches or side items that were included.  Think of this like family history and also a documentation of your or your mom's awesomeness).

  • Nurse wounds (take photos of the bandaid first aide bin in your cupboards and drawers.  Get a photo of you applying the 7th bandaid of the day.  Go to voodoo or trendy meds or vitamins or miracle cures or oils or whatever that you use regularly? Get some photos of the items and mom in action).

  • Family Home Evening or Scripture Study

  • Scheduling the day to day activities (photos of the calendar or the dry erase board of the millions of to do lists

  • Chauffer everyone to all of those day to day activities

  • Teach or Help with Homework

  • Read books (Are there some books you have read to your kids so many times that you have the words and cadence memorized? Take some photos of those books and of yourself reading it the kids.  Maybe as the kids have gotten older you all read Harry Potter together or Percy Jackson series, etc. DOCUMENT this thing with photos.)

  • Teach Music or Enforce Music Practice (get close ups of instruments and sheet music or metronome or whatever reminds you of this aspect of motherhood).

Take a few minutes for this first step in the process. I have a free download to help with making this list here:

Name *

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