Advice

Moms, say 'cheese' and get in those pictures with your kids

Oct. 9, 2012 at 2:24 PM ET

As moms, we’re arguably the most important person in our children’s lives. We’re the ones they run to when they scrape their knee, the ones they make the macaroni necklace for. But, while we have starring roles in our kids’ lives, far too often, the photographic evidence is missing. Flipping through the photo albums of many families, a stranger might think that mom was a mere guest star, not the lead that she really is.

So, moms, it’s time to surrender the camera. Hand it over to someone else or get out the instruction manual and learn how to set the timer because it’s time to get in the picture.

Writing at The Huffington Post, Allison Tate discussed her aversion to cameras – and her resolve to get over it. One day, her five-year-old son asked her to hop in a photo booth with him and she hesitated. She hesitated because she was worried about the baby weight she was still sporting after giving birth to her youngest a few months earlier. She hesitated because she worried that her appearance wasn’t up to par. Then, she got over it and got in that photo booth – and we’re all glad she did because she’s helped teach all of us a valuable lesson. Our kids don’t care what we look like. To them, we’re beautiful simply because we’re their moms. 

“I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother,” Tate wrote. 

Tate shared those photo booth pictures and it’s clear she was way too hard on herself. What the rest of us see is a radiant mom who’s in love with her sons. They’re beautiful and, most importantly, they’re the type of photos any child would want to have of his mother. The type of photo that shows just how much a mother loves her child.

Tate’s words have resonated with so many of us. Touching as her post was, some of the comments were equally moving. We’ve included some of our favorites below. 

Amelia Farquhar Sherry commented: 

"You are SO right! As proof, I'm thinking of the (few, sadly very few) photos we have of my mother when she was my age and mothering me.... I remember staring at those pics as a young girl, trying to imagine who that young, blond, pony-tailed beauty was... she was SO different from the older, short-haired and serious woman I knew as my mother. I never thought she was fat or disheveled or unstylish, just that I wanted to know her MORE. 

Just as you are, my mom was a beautiful woman, yet always avoiding the camera pushing us into photos instead. I'd love to have more pictures of her in all the moments we had together when my brother and I were young. I vow to take your advice and jump into those shots, remembering that my own daughter will cherish them someday. Thank you for the wonderful essay!" 

Dawn Luster Phelps wrote:  

"It is so very important to take all the pictures you can. My mother hated having her picture taken and so wouldn't allow it often. She had no idea that she would have cancer at 35 and be gone from this world at 37. We have very few pictures of her and it makes me sad that my children can't see how beautiful I thought she was. My 14 year old can't see how she looks so much like her grandmother. Please, please, please take those pictures together!"

Jackie Medina wrote:

"I'm always so hard on myself when it comes to pictures. I always was one to have my hair done and makeup ready but yeah now those days are over so I try and avoid the act of being caught in pictures. But reading this article really puts into perspective that I'm a human..I just had a baby and even though my hair is in a bun and I hardly have time to ever get make-up ready I do love my daughter to pieces and for her i will be in more pictures so when she gets older she can say "that's my momma" :) I love you liliana and mommy promises to not be so concerned if I look a hot mess..I will take more pictures of us together xoxo love you baby girl"

Even dads want moms in the frame. Says pawnman99:

"I love it. I'm always trying to convince my wife to get in the pictures, and I always hear about how bad she thinks she looks."

This year, don’t just take a picture of your kids in their Halloween costumes – include yourself in that picture with your adorable kids. Remember to ask someone else to snap a pic of your whole family together. Someday, you’ll look back and be amazed at how young you were – and another day, your kids and grandkids will look back and cherish the visual evidence of the role you played in their lives.

Dana Macario is a Seattle-area mom who has now resolved to get in front of the camera more often – no matter how big her upper arms look.

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