parent opinion

"If you’re with a mum and her kid, please, just take the picture."

Take my photo. Please.

There’s a meme going round that’s just reminded me to ask this, so I’m going to ask it right here.

When you see me with my kids, please pull out your phone and take my photo. Oh, I’ll tell you not to. I’ll say, “My hair looks shocking right now because I haven’t been to the hairdresser in months. Don’t get me in there.”

But do get me in there. And then remember to send me the photo.

 

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#justtakethepicture

A post shared by Sadie Martin (@sadie_momofboys) on

Maybe you’ll find an angle where my hair doesn’t look so bad, and I’m smiling at my kid, and my kid is smiling up at me. Maybe that will be one of the photos that I’ll treasure and they’ll treasure when we’re both much older. Because there just aren’t that many photos of me with my kids.

It’s weird, because I have millions of beautiful photos of my children on their own or with family members, nearly all taken by me. That’s pretty normal, I think, for a mother. That’s one of the jobs you just naturally take on with motherhood: present buyer, shoe finder, library day rememberer, family photographer.

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When I brought my newborn son home from hospital and my family came around to see him, I took photos of every family member holding him, even though I was so sore that I could barely move. I took photos of my husband snuggling him, of my daughter curled up next to him. The shots are gorgeous. But no one was taking gorgeous shots of him with me. They didn’t think of it, and I didn’t ask, because I felt sore and not very photogenic. But I wish I had asked.

I’m thinking photos all the time. I want to capture everything. I take so many photos that I even have a couple of action shots of my son rolling over for the first time, just because I happened to have the camera on him at that time. My kids and I look back over our photos, again and again, and it helps memories of the good times stick in their heads. I should be there, with them, in the centre of those good times.

Sure, I’ve taken a few selfies of me with the kids, but we’re always mugging for the camera and it never looks very natural. I want natural shots of me with the kids, and I want them to look good.

It was when I needed a photo of me with my children for work that I realised I barely had any – certainly, not any nice ones. So I found a good location in the backyard, chose a time of day when the light was just right, bribed my son and daughter into being cooperative, and asked my husband to start snapping.

I love those photos so much. But I would never have had them taken if I didn’t need them for work.

As mothers, we are the ghosts in family photo albums. It’s the double whammy – we take on the responsibility of photographer, and we try to avoid photos if we think we’re not going to look good. That’s why the people around us need to be firm. They need to take photos of us with our kids without waiting to be asked, and they need to put in some effort to make sure that we do look good – thinking about soft lighting, flattering angles, natural smiles – so that we don’t immediately delete them. Because one day, we’re going to go looking for those photos, or our kids are going to go looking for those photos, and they won’t be there.

As the meme says, #JustTakeThePicture.

Tags: kids , mums , news-stories , parenting-2
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