Last night, I read a blog post by Allison Tate called The Mom Stays in the Picture. In it, Allison talks about her hesitation appearing in photographs: “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.”
I had the same epiphany a few years back. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends… they all were well represented in the pages of our albums, but I, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found. I didn’t want my flabby arms or pudgy stomach or white hairs documented, so I opted to live behind the camera instead of in front of it. You’d be hard pressed to know I actually attended those parties and birthdays and school plays at all.
I’m happy to report that I have made an effort to actually appear in photographs with my kids and it’s been a major success. There are even some frames around the house with images of me in them… imagine that!
So, how did I get over myself, you ask? Do I suddenly love the way I look? Did I gain a mountain of confidence overnight? No, my friends. I just discovered a little tactic called “grab a kid,” and it can change your life, too.
Gone are the days of taking pictures side by side with my children. When I smile for the camera, I am now engulfing them in love (and body weight.) Not only does grabbing my kid for a photo memorialize for all time just how very much I adore them, but it also takes an instant 15 pounds off of my frame. Spanx, mommy style!
Are hips your problem area? Balance a kid on one. Got stomach rolls? Plop a kid on your lap. Want to hide your double chin? Go cheek to cheek looking up at the camera with your little one. Want to cover it all? Give them a big bear hug and just show your face.
Trust me, it works.
Take for instance, this photo of Lily and me from last week’s trip to Seattle.
See us, all happy and loving? Well, sure, we were, but the reason I’m smiling is because she’s covering every one of my problem areas and I know it. What’s not to be happy about?
So, yes, get in those pictures with your kids. You’ll be glad you did and, someday, they will too. And if you’re not ready to see every one of your flaws staring back at you, just grab a kid, squeeze tight and say cheese.
It never fails.