Okay, I am aware that I’m an extreme case when it comes to selfies, but admittedly I have an addictive personality… and isn’t the first step knowing and admitting you have a problem? I have a problem, and I admit it. Let’s move on. Regardless, as moms, most of the time we find ourselves behind the camera (or cell phone camera most likely), trying to capture and hold onto the fleeting moments of our children’s lives. While capturing those moments is important, what’s also just as important is getting yourself into those pictures as well.
With the rise of digital media, more and more families will not be passing down printed photos to their children – photo albums to be shared, smiled, and reminisced over. Don’t you remember the albums you have from your childhood? The smell of the aging padded vinyl and the feel of cracking plastic sleeves losing their grip on faded but oh-so-priceless memories… Will your children have those? And if they do have them, will you be present in the pictures? I make a point to have digital albums printed every year for each of my boys because I see the value in passing along tangible remembrances.
“Back in the day” (ugh, I sound like my parents) when taking a picture required much more thought, effort, and planning (before the age of cell phone cameras and digital ease), people gathered on the other side of the lens because it was more of an event to take a group photo. I mean, can you imagine back in the 1800’s when taking a picture took 15 minutes of sitting still? People back then didn’t even smile for multiple reasons:
- Who can smile for 15 minutes (ouch!)
- Their teeth were not picture worthy (dental hygiene was EWW back then)
- Apparently smiling was for peasants, children, and drunks (sounds like a good time to me!)
These days, owning a real camera is rare, let alone getting one out with the intent of staging a group or family photo with the addition of planning, wardrobe, lighting, editing… it means a lot of work and hassle which is why few people put the effort in. I myself do tend to shy away from things that I don’t want to do so believe me, I get it, I do. I mean, when I think about taking a real family photo (which only happens twice a year, mind you) I get sweaty and anxious. Someone usually isn’t looking, someone’s smile makes them look like they’re pooping… (I’m not naming names here… ok, Cambridge, my youngest). I mean, I do use sugar as bribery, but that only elicits genuine smiles for the first two minutes before they start whining if it’s done yet – oh wait, that’s my husband. The whole process is groan and eye-roll worthy.
I hate to say this, but even though I’m the proud owner of an enthusiast-level DSLR, I still find myself using my cell phone camera because it’s easy, it’s usually on my person, and it’s just easy. That, and cell phones have come a LONG way (but they’re still no replacement for a good DSLR, IMO).
While of course your children will remember that you were there in their childhood, I’m sure they’ll want to be able to see your smile in photos with them, enjoying family time and being present in the moment. They’ll want to tell their spouses, their children, and their grandchildren, “Hey, that’s my mom back when…” I know I’m not usually a fan of having to ask or inconvenience someone to take my picture with the kids… we as mothers are all about taking charge and getting things done quickly and efficiently. Plus, I’m a control freak, and letting someone else have that control over the picture usually terrifies me.
I know there are more reasons that mothers don’t want to step in front of the camera, and sometimes those self-image issues can be detrimental in more ways than one. If your children ask why you don’t want to get into a photo, and you say that you need to lose weight, or your hair isn’t right, or whatever other self-deprecating excuse finds its way out of your mouth… that translates to them something about self-worth and self-esteem. In those instances, you just need to take one for the team and the greater good. They see you for you, and they love you for being mom. Mom in their eyes is always the most beautiful woman in their world.
And don’t try to tell me that selfie sticks are just for tweens or 20-somethings… I thought I was “too old” to have one too, but then I met a mom who is 10 years my senior, and she has one, too! Regardless, you should totally own it if you have one. Don’t be afraid to use it because it’s the pictures that you take that will be worth the 10 seconds of potential embarrassment.
When I pull my selfie stick out, I make a big deal about it; I own it. Plus, my kids are totally into taking pictures with me, and that’s great. I’ll have so many wonderful pictures of us or of all of us with our friends, and to me, it’s worth whatever people think of me in public. I don’t care at this point in my life, and neither should you. Plus, you can blame me… “I read a blog about it – she said every mom should own a selfie stick… that’s why I have one; otherwise, I totally wouldn’t!” See, easy-peasy excuse. You’re welcome!
Fellow moms, I know we all have our issues, me included. However, life and technology might be changing, but how we capture the moments we cherish should evolve and help us to be able to share those memories with those we love and hold dear. Now, go out and get yourself a selfie stick, work it, and own it!