How many of us find it so important to capture images of our childrens’ childhood? If you’re anything like me, you have an iPhone album full of their adorable little moments… Maybe their faces on Christmas morning, or them blowing out their birthday candles. On top of that, I find so much passion in documenting their daily lives. You know, the not so eventful moments.
The ones where they are quietly playing together and you turn your phone on silent and snap a quick picture from the doorway so you don’t interrupt this adorable moment.
Or the ones when they have just done something on their own, and that sense of pride on their face is something that needs to be documented and treasured forever.
And what about the messy moments? You have to have some of those too… The ones where you haven’t left the house in days and your kids appearance proves it. Messy hair, dirty face and grubby little fingers as they carry their baby doll around, singing songs that you can’t quite make out the words to.
I’m great at capturing all those moments and more. If you’re the same way, your Facebook is probably filled with the daily adventures of your children. But what I’m not so great at capturing, is me in those moments.
My family and I just spent a week on the beach in Florida and as I was packing, and packing, and packing (we are a family of 7), I had to give myself a pep talk. You see, it’s not always easy being in front of the camera. I sometimes feel like it is a giant magnifying glass to the things I don’t particularly love about myself… And here I was, packing for a week long trip that we would be spending on the beach. And let’s be honest ladies, I am girl who is not afraid of putting on a little Minnesota winter weight, for the purpose of keeping warm, obviously.
But as I was packing for our vacation, and even today, as the sun is shining and I know spring and swimsuit weather will be here before I know it, I had to remind myself that the pictures I was about to be in weren’t really even for me. They were for my kids, and hopefully, even their kids.
You see, I don’t have many, if any, pictures of my mom and I when I was young. Heck, I have very few pictures of myself during my childhood years. I feel that is why I am so diligent about capturing images of my own kids. And even though some days can be difficult, I know it is important for this season of MY life to be documented for them.
I am a mom of five. I have four boys, ages 4-8, and a 21 month old daughter. My body has been through the ringer, but isn’t that the case even if you have one child?
Not only has my body gained and shed about 250 pounds over the past 9 years, but it’s also dealt with late nights, breastfeeding, poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, emotional stress and all the other joys that come with being a
mother woman. I could list at least 8 things that I dislike about my physical appearance right now.
But what is that teaching my kids?
What is that telling not only my daughter, but also my sons (I think it’s a good reminder that it’s not only girls that face body image issues) about the phases and stages that their body will go through? Or what about the characteristics that will stick with them for the rest of their lives? My freckles that I would be happy to lose? Yeah, they now grace the face of my sweet son and every negative word he has heard me say while looking in the mirror at them, those are now projected at him.
That is a lot of weight that my words now hold.
I have really been working on loving my body. Strike that… I have really been working on accepting my body… On not pointing out my flaws when my husband says I look nice, or cringing when my kids want to take a picture of me. Keyword… I have been WORKING.
I have also been working on accepting that this is the season of life I am in.
My house is rarely clean.
I am often sporting no make up and yoga pants.
My hair is usually dirty and up in a messy pile on the top of my head.
… but with all of that, I am happy.
So, I have to give myself that mental reminder… When my husband snaps a picture of me building a sand castle with my kids on the beach, or when my son turns the camera on me and takes a quick video of our kitchen dance parties, it’s not the dark circles under my eyes or my jiggling thighs that they will see.
They will see me.
They will see the season of life that we were in.
They may see a messy house in the background, but I hope they also see the love I have for them radiating from those laugh lines.
And as much as I want them to remember the great vacations that we have taken, I more importantly want them to remember our everyday life. The ones where I didn’t shower for days, that there were dishes in the sink and that no matter how many times I had to sweep the floor because of them, that they were loved.
That they were read to on the couch, and given snuggles and drinks of water before bedtime.
That they drove me bonkers and gave me an endless smile at the same time.
So, if that means I have to get in front of the camera for those moments to be captured, I guess that is the price my ego will have to pay.
I challenge all of you, be seen. Be documented. Let your perfectly imperfect life be remembered.
Hand the camera over to your husband for a change.
Give your children your phone and let them interview you.
Prop your camera up and let it record twenty minutes of your daily life… Maybe over dinner, maybe while you are washing dishes and they are ‘helping’ you. Maybe during your kitchen dance party, or while you read that same book for the 100th time.
Be captured in those moments because you will never get them back, and years from now, or maybe even just weeks, your life will be a little bit different and those mundane things you’re doing now, may be a sweet thing of the past and you will miss it.
If no one has told you recently, you are beautiful. You are strong and you are amazing. Let your family remember that for all the years to come.