You’re their mom. You’re the hug giver, the hand holder, the book reader, the one who tucks them in at night. Mothers are the center of our kids’ universe – the one they look to for literally everything.
But when you flip through the photos on your phone or look at your Instagram grid, are you in them? It’s so easy to go months upon months snapping photos of our kids (because they’re so darn cute, right?!), while avoiding every opportunity to be in a single photo ourselves, and put off the family photo session another year. Do you ever find yourself saying,
“I need to lose a few more pounds.”
“My hair looks awful.”
“I’m not wearing any makeup.”
“This outfit doesn’t look good on me.”
We tend to be our own worst critics, and it’s so easy to make excuses in order to hide behind our cameras or phones. Let’s change that! I’m encouraging you to step in front of the camera more often this year. After all, we want our kids to look back on their childhood and see the woman they adore in some photos, too! As such a vital part of their lives, you should absolutely have the photos to show for it.
I want you to know, before I dig into some tips on how to combat this phenomenon, that you aren’t alone. As a child of the 80’s who became a teen in the 90’s, coming around to this new age of acceptance in 2022 isn’t easy. In the 90’s it was all about being rail thin. The supermodels were like clothes hangers, there wasn’t a curve in sight and I was a ballerina on top of it all where curves and weight gain are your worst enemy. Then the tides changed in the 2000’s and suddenly having a figure was a thing, everyone gaped at Victoria’s Secret fashion shows each November and somehow overnight we were supposed to have ‘D’ cups. Then in the 2010’s the curvy trend became even more pronounced with the likes of the Kardashians and Cardi B’s of the world. Now, at present, body acceptance is the way of the land, and believe me, I am thrilled. Teens and young adults coming of age in this generation have much healthier body images thanks to this change.
But for those of us women who rode the body image rollercoaster these last 30 years it can be a lot more difficult to immediately catch yourself up to a place of acceptance just because the rest of the world has already arrived. So it’s ok, go at your own pace by starting with some of the tips below to see yourself in some of your family photos and memories.
If you’d like to find yourself in a few more photos this year, here are some tips you might try —
Learn to love yourself, in baby steps
The same person you see when you look in the mirror is the same person your family loves wholeheartedly. What you see as your “double chin”, your “bad side”, or “too many pounds” is what they see every day as their beautiful wife or mother. Loving yourself beyond the imperfections isn’t something that will happen overnight, but the more you see yourself in photos, the more you’ll learn to notice all the things that make you exceptionally beautiful (and what your loved ones have seen and loved all along!).
…Then turn your insecurities into posing power
One way to accept the idea of being in more photos is to embrace your insecurities. When you’re casually hanging out with your family, ask a family member or friend to snap some pictures of you with your other half or kids – maybe a few at every possible angle. Then, commit to keeping a few – not to post all over social media, but so you can look through them and get used to yourself! The more you do this, the more comfortable you’ll feel about yourself and your insecurities, so you’ll be less likely to point them out every time and more likely to see beyond them.
Looking Like a deer in headlights, and smiling & laughing WAY too big are two things I tend to do when a camera is in front of me out of sheer nervousness (yes, even the photographer gets nervous!) and my own inner insecurities swirl around inside. While the photos above wouldn’t normally see the light of day, I am showing them here to illustrate that you can practice in front of a mirror, or the camera over time and learn how to modify! When I laugh or smile too big my cheeks take over my face, my eyes go squinty, and worst of all, my smile gets ‘gummy’. But you’ll notice in the images below during the same session I was able to tame the smile, calm the deer in headlights, and still have a nice laugh without the ‘too big’ look. If you take photos with results you don’t like, practice in the mirror and you’ll get better!
Resist the urge to hit “delete”
When you do manage to make your way in to a photo, please resist the urge to immediately grab the phone or camera and hit “delete” on any images where you might not look your best. Sure, you might find something you don’t love about yourself in some of them, but what if one day your little ones look back at those photos as memories from one of the best days of their childhood? You’d hate for them to be gone forever because you weren’t a fan of how you looked, right?!
Many of these images were taken in the first few years after my boys were born, when I was still carrying more baby weight then I would have liked, and would have maybe preferred not to be photographed looking the way I did, but I know that even these snapshots may mean something to my kids down the line, as honestly they already mean something to me now. And a few others of these snapshots were taken when the opposite happened, when I lost so much weight due to chronic illness that people would make comments to me regularly asking if I was ok. But these images are important too. Bottom line- don’t delete- memories are memories and they are all valid.
Share your goal with your partner
We can’t be in more photos if no one knows we want to be! Share your new goal with your partner, and maybe they’ll be more likely to grab your phone or camera the next time you’re playing with the kids. Please also remember that being in photos doesn’t always have to mean a formal session with coordinated outfits, hair, and makeup. When you’re out and playing in the snow, on your favorite hike, or even just snuggled up on the couch, capture some memories together!
When you’re ready to step in front of the camera…
I’ll be here and ready with mine! If you’re hoping to schedule a family session, I’m here for you and happy to help – from choosing something beautiful to wear all the way to selecting the perfect location. Please reach out to me with any questions or if you feel eager and ready to go, jump straight to my schedule to snag a spot on the calendar.