Getting Mum's IN the frame - A Photographer on a mission...
If I asked you to look at your camera roll right now, what would you see? Hundreds (probably thousands!) of photos of your children. We take photographs of everything, snapping away at every candid, sweet, funny, touching moment - we send photos to the Grandparents, we post them on social media, we hang them on our walls.
We want our kids to be able to look back one day and remember every part of the lives we have created for them.
Now look at your camera roll again…
How many of these photographs include YOU?
I am not talking about a silly selfie or the forced ‘family’ photo we make everyone pose for on birthdays or a family day out – I mean REAL moments of you with your children… moments of you sharing a hug or giggle, playing together, being with one another, completely absorbed in that moment?
Can you count them on one hand?
I am the first to admit that I am far more comfortable behind the camera. I will happily take photographs of the kids - with each other, with Daddy, with their Grandparents and friends, every part of their life is documented. But when I think about it, someone is usually missing, and that person is me.
Don’t get me wrong, silly selfies are great (even if they are a little limited!) and my Husband will always take a phone snap if I ask him to but the chances of me liking (and therefore keeping) it are pretty slim.
And there is one fundamental reason for this. I don’t really like the way I look.
And I know that is such a ridiculous thing to say because really, why should it even matter!? But when I talk to a lot of my Mum friends, they feel the same way. We often joke about how rubbish we look, in fact the word ‘haggard’ has been used on more than one occasion.
We are so full of self-doubt. We see a photograph of ourselves and automatically focus on all the things we dislike until we are miserable (and that’s if we haven’t already deleted it!)
AND THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.
What if instead of being so hard on ourselves we chose to look at things from a different perspective?
What if we started to see ourselves through our children’s eyes?
My children tell me that I am beautiful all the time and that’s because to them I am the most beautiful Mum in the whole wide world.
Yes we joke about my ‘wobbly’ tummy and they love to hear stories about how they both grew in there (the truth is its wobbly these days because of chocolate but who am I to argue with them?!) We laugh about my crazy hair in the morning and the fact I can’t see without my glasses.
But they don’t judge me on these things. Far from it - these things make me their Mummy and they love me unconditionally.
Think back to the family photographs that you treasure most from your childhood - I bet you don’t care at all what your Mother looks like – do you see the bags under her eyes or the fact she probably thought she ‘needed to lose a few pounds’?! Of course you don’t! All you see is your Mum, the woman who raised and cared for you and the happy stories of your childhood.
We need to remember that to our children, we are the World.
We are their Mum.
We protect them, feed them, teach them, play with them and take care of them endlessly and selflessly. They think we are the most amazing thing since sliced bread and you know what, we are! We are frigging AMAZING!
So the next time someone asks if you would like a photo with your kids, jump at the chance and if you find yourself hovering over the delete button stop and look again, not through your self-depreciating eyes but through the eyes of your child and you will see that you are beautiful. You are important. You are perfect just the way you are.
And please consider this. As heart breaking it is to think about, there might come a day when we aren’t here with them anymore, and those images your children have of you will become their greatest treasures.
Our family photographs, our memories, our stories are incomplete without us. I don't want my children to look back on photographs from the best times of our lives and find me missing.
So if not for me then for my children, I will commit to getting in the frame more often.
Who’s with me?
And if you needed any more convincing, just look at these beautiful Mummies from some of my recent sessions (plus a couple of me and my crazy kids to prove that I am starting to practice what I preach!)