Go to the image folder in your cell phone. Turn on your digital camera and open the memory card. Flip through baby books and photo albums. You probably have access to hundreds — maybe thousands — of images of your amazing, adorable children. But where are you?
Moms are often missing from the picture! While children's lives are documented through imagery more than ever before, the focus remains on them and often excludes important people who influence their lives on a daily basis (aka mom).
Yes, moms are usually taking the photos and therefore behind the camera. Sure, it's easy to say no to saying "cheese" because you're wearing sweats today or hair is tossed into a sloppy bun. Perhaps your post-baby body has left you a little low on confidence, and photos sound about as fun as getting a cavity filled. There are a million excuses.
News flash! Your children love you and don't care what you look like. They just want their mama by their side grinning from ear to ear. And a few decades down the road, when you want to look back at the special memories of your kids who grow up ever so quickly, you're going to be so happy to see images of you by their side.
Think about looking back at photos of your own family while growing up. It's fun to see how everyone looked at certain points of their lives. Old images of your own mother probably conjure warm memories of her soft hands, crooked smile and frizzy hair. You don't care that she doesn't look red-carpet ready! And neither will your children when they look back at photos of you.
In fact, when kids see Mom as her authentic self, it empowers them to feel confident about their true selves. You are human, after all. When your daughter sees you smiling proudly despite the wrinkled clothes and your son observes you jumping in front of the camera even though you feel far from beach-body ready, it shows them it's OK to be vulnerable, break society's expectations and simply embrace the moment.
You're everywhere in your kids' lives and so much of that is a silent presence. You stay up late when they're sick just to make sure they are comfortable in bed. You research endlessly to find the perfect holiday gift. You spend hours thinking of the best way to surprise them on their birthday. You lose sleep wondering if you're doing it all wrong and you'll internalize the moments that prove you're really doing it all right.
When it comes to getting in front of the camera, don't be a silent presence. It's time Mom gets in the picture, if not for herself, for her kids. Give someone your phone and ask them to take the photo. Jump in that photo booth with the family at the next wedding celebration. Get in on your child's Lifetouch preschool pictures.
It's more than just a visual memory of parenting. It's expressing your profound impact on their little lives so they can see just how much you love them, whether that's an awkward photo of you running through the sprinkler with them or a raw moment focused on quiet embrace. A photo is worth a thousand words, and every single one that features Mom says "I love you."
You have so many pictures of your children, but you're nowhere to be seen. Get in front of the camera to capture those authentic memories with your children that they'll cherish when they grow up.