Allison Tate wrote a fascinating piece on Huffington Post yesterday called The Mom Stays in the Picture. It’s about how she’s realized that while she’s all over kid’s lives, making sure they have the treats they love and staying up all night worrying about preschools, there are very few photos that SHOW HER in their lives — and she wants this to change:
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.
When I look at pictures of my own mother, I don’t look at cellulite or hair debacles. I just see her — her kind eyes, her open-mouthed, joyful smile, her familiar clothes. That’s the mother I remember. My mother’s body is the vessel that carries all the memories of my childhood. I always loved that her stomach was soft, her skin freckled, her fingers long. I didn’t care that she didn’t look like a model. She was my mama.
So when all is said and done, if I can’t do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.
It had me wondering: how many of you have a ton of photos of yourself with your child? I know I don’t have nearly as many as I’d like. So I challenge you to this: take a photo of you with your kid(s) this week. Get in the picture!
Comments on The mom stays in the picture: where you are you in your family’s photos?
Oh my golly, this made me cry! My daughter is 3 months old, and there are so few photos of me with her. Every time I realise this I regret it, but then promptly forget to remedy! Challenge accepted!
I realized this when I was searching for a facebook profile picture. I hate when people have their children as their pictures, but after having my son, I at least wanted him IN my picture. Couldn’t find any. Now I try to take pictures of us together…
Are you me? Are we each other? Me too! Haha!
This reminds me soooo much of the modern version of The Invisible Mother, the Victorian practice of literally cloaking the mother to hide her from children’s photos: http://www.retronaut.co/2011/10/the-invisible-mother-1800s/
Those are just creepy.
Wasn’t this done so the mother could hold the child still and talk soothingly to the child so they could get a good photo? Since photography was expensive and the exposures were so long to get a good picture, it was very important to sit verrry still. Children would have had a hard time with that, even then. I don’t think it was all sinister, though the pics are a little spooky.
Yep, that’s exactly why it was done — but the mother could have held the child tightly for the duration of the exposure WITHOUT being cloaked.
This happened in my pre school photos last year, except I was photo shopped out awkwardly holding up a blanket over myself while propping up the baby!
But in at least one of those pictures it’s the Dad, which I think is pretty cool 🙂
thats so creepy! You can obviously tell its a person, why?!?!
these just get funnier and funnier.
Can we have another offbeat mama challenge t take your own cloaked pictures too!!
There are definitely some modern takes on the concept: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellengreene/7999975241/
My problem is usually getting someone else to hold the camera. When my mom visits, I take her camera and upload all her pics to my computer (with her permission, of course) so I can get a different view of things. That’s usually when I find pics of me.
This reminds me of my mom! Growing up, she’d get the photos developed, then promptly rip up any of her that she didn’t like, which were often all of them. It became a family joke that if she was gone, we’d never remember what she looked like!
Seriously, though, it definitely came from a self-conscience place of not wanting others to see her in what she thought was an unflattering image. We’ve been trying to tell her for years, though, “Mom, we love you! It doesn’t matter how you look, we love it, and we want photos of you with us!”
It’s a little better, now, since she can’t get hold of everyone’s digital cameras to delete herself! Haha.
We may notice our own flaws when we look at photos of ourselves, but to the people who love us it doesn’t matter what we look like, only that we look like ourselves.
I set the camera on a table or dresser, periodically hit the timer and allow the camera to just capture us at home in our daily routine. They look pretty mundane now, but I think they will be invaluable to her in the future. Even if I look like crap, I make myself take photos of myself with my daughter. For her.
I also take 90% of the photos, so I’m never in them. getting out the tripod this weekend!
Totally this! Most of the photos that I’m in involve me holding the camera waaaaaaay out and taking an awkward photo of myself & kid. I have so few photos of the two of us just spontaneously loving each other, so that’s my weekend goal for the Flickr pool: to get a few non set-up photos of us. Putting my husband on camera duty!
We are masters of the self portrait! Luckily, I have long arms. 🙂
This is something I’ve been trying to remedy for a while to be honest. Its slowly getting better 🙂 So yes indeed, challenge accepted 😀
I have to ask my husband specifically to take a picture of me with my son, and if I don’t specify that it should be of us together, he’ll often zoom in to our son so I become phantom hands holding our baby. This irritates me to no end, and reminds me that he needs some very basic photography lessons. He’s not trying to leave me out, but it still feels insulting. Thanks for the nudge!
My husband is the same way and it drives me crazy! I can see him angle the camera downward, cutting my head off and just getting the baby! And I’ll say, “I can be in the photo too.” And he looks at me like “Oh. Why?” I finally sat him down and made him look at 50 photos, where he cropped me out of 45 of them! He kind of understood after that.
Am I wrong in assuming that no one likes a photo of a cut off person? Isn’t that just really bad photography 101?
ugh, i hate having my picture taken, but my wife takes snapshots of everything – so now that we have kiddos, there are suddenly a bunch of photos of me with kid ’cause, well, i’m often around them, and she’s always taking pictures.
and i’m much happier to see photos of me when the kidlets are in them.
but what that means is that there are very few photos of my wife, because i don’t really take pictures, so, same problem.
Side-challenge for the kid-less: Take a picture with your mom. You’ll be glad you did.
THANK YOU! And dad. And grandparents. I’ve pretty much made a rule… anyone who comes into my house has to have their photo taken with someone in my household.
YES! Love this. Thank you!
Yes! My mom and I have the hardest time with this because we’re both so self-crticial that getting a photo we both like is really hard. This reminds me of yet another effort I’m going to have to make to not pass on my body issues to any kid I have. I should make a list of all the promises about this that I plan to make.
Maybe I am just a narcissistic cow, but I freaking LOVE being in pictures with my baby. And I shamelessly ask people to take photos of us, even when it annoys them (because I also shamelessly ask them to re-take it if its blurry).
I love being in them with my kid also, but just so rarely am because I’m allllllllllllways the one taking them. Definitely have to work on asking people to take more of us!
Mom’s tend to be the ones taking pictures. The result is that they’re usually not in them. One of the great things about being Poly, which both me and my metamore have commented on, is that now that there are two moms taking pictures, there is usually evidence that we were there, too. We each end up in the other’s photos. So it is still pretty rare for all 7 of us to end up in one photo, but if you look over all the photos from a trip or event you will (nowadays) see us all. It’s pretty nifty 🙂
Other poly mamas!!! Sorry that that’s off-topic, I just had to be excited for a sec. Hadn’t even thought about the camera perk yet…
I don’t have kids, but I have a good amount of photos of myself as a baby/small child with my mom and my dad. They’re awesome, with my mom’s long red hair, giant eyeglasses, and tiny waist, or my dad with his big glasses, curly dark hair, and flannel shirts. Awesome AND hilarious at times.
I’m doing a “photo a day” project with some other bloggers and one of the women participating in the project died unexpectedly, encouraging all of us to make sure that we’re in front of the camera WITH our kids, showing them we were there, and not just shooting from the sidelines. It might be difficult to work out the logistics of getting a “good picture” with you in it, but but showing your children those photos later will mean so much to them.
My dad was the photo taker so he was never in any photos. He died when my siblings and I were still in our teens and there are only a handful of photos of us together, it is such a huge regret.
I love when a proud mom shows a photo where they don’t look aesthetically the best in. My cousin is very appearance conscious and I loved when she showed me a picture of her and her newborn baby. Yes she looked exhausted but it was such a beautiful moment.
My mom is not a fan of aging and now won’t be in any photos and honestly it hurts my feelings. Keeping those memories is so much more important to me than a few wrinkles.
My Mum is like this too, she is very critical of her aging face in photos. It makes me feel like I should be worried about aging as well, and while I’m trying hard to be more positive about all of us aging and looking good, her attitude is a huge influence on my internal monologue.
I’m in more photos now than I used to be, probably because my husband bought himself a smart phone. But I don’t think I was ever an invisible mama despite being the primary photographer: we have prints made from our digital photos every month, and I always make sure the albums have a fair balance of baby, mama, and Daddy photos.
Ooh, I didn’t think about getting prints! A printer’s on my list, but in the meantime, there’s no reason I couldn’t get some at Walgreen’s/wherever ^_^
so true. love this. “Too much of a mama’s life goes undocumented and unseen” struck a chord.
Oh wow, this is one of those *ouch**sniffle* topics. I have always been the photo-taker–I’ve always even decided what phone to get based on the camera! 😉 My partner, while so talented artistically, has a terrible time taking photos (and I have to ask, and he hesitates, and takes one shot, and awkwardness and bluggghh!)
But he’s going to upgrade to an iPhone 4S (not a plug, it’s just what I have–and love) when he’s eligible for an upgrade on 01/01/13 😀