Tuesday, 10 June 2014

On Being Present In Your Family's Memories...

Do you take lots of pictures of your children but run when the camera is pointed at you?
Do you make endless excuses as to why you cannot feature in the making of some important photographic memory?
Maybe you think you are too old?
Or overweight?
Unattractive?
Or awkward in some self-perceived way; spouting a multitude of excuses as to why you cannot be photographed at a particular moment?

I was looking through the 3500 or so images on my iPhone recently and noticed that there's not too many of me in there. I take ample shots of my kidlets for sure - they are my main subjects. I like to catch them doing the many millions of ordinary or fantastic things they manage to get up to everyday. This is one of the benefits of living in the digital age; the mega-storage of memories, easily and efficiently.

I snapped this image a week or so ago. I hadn't really intended to feature in it at all. It was meant to be a shot of my baby doing something cute at the time. She tricked me however and slid off the bed to jump on the wrong side of the camera next to Mummy, where she pulled this most delightful little pose.
Celeste has worked out what picture taking is all about these days and rushes to see the image on my camera, sometimes before I have even taken it. I now have to do many selfies with her just to get any shot at all. And so I was trapped into this picture in order to capture the cutest moment ever.
I was nervous taking this as I felt idiotic and vain despite no-one being around to witness my hesitation and I reluctantly took this image:


An unexpected delight
 
I have to admit, I love this picture and I am loving the pictures I have been taking since, featuring myself with my children.

I don't think I look too fantastic in this image at all (or anytime really for that matter), but the point is, this came out as a surprisingly good Mother and baby shot which I am set to treasure for a lifetime.
It is us, as we are, right now, naturally and it portrays myself in my most beloved role in life yet; a Mum, next to a very special little person whom I adore.

Overcoming this fear of being photographed got me thinking about how Motherhood is intrinsically focussed on being the instigator of good things for others, and being a proud observer in life (of others), and less about being a participant in the joy we engineer for those around us.
How frequently do we find ourselves in the role of the carer, the cleaner or the cook while the fun rolls on around us a little distance away, as we worry and fuss in our duties?
So little of our time seems to be in front of the camera where the memories are happening and that's more than a little sad.

It's wrong.

It is important to capture these moments while our babies are babies, and to be in your pictures with your children as active participants in their lives and not just the cogs behind the scenes. 

No matter how old, overweight, unattractive or un-photogenic we may perceive ourselves to be (or whatever your unique excuse is), time will guarantee we will look back in a different light a decade from now.
Your grown children will appreciate your presence in the stills of their childhoods and perhaps we ourselves will instead marvel at how darn good-looking we were when we were younger with the passage of time.
Please don't let these beautiful years slip past without being present in your own treasured memories.
Cherish the moment and place yourself in the heart of the picture where you belong.

 
Me - Breastfeeding 17 month old Celeste

Do you hide from the camera while your family's memories are being made?
When were you last happily photographed in a natural setting?
Are you making an effort to be featured in your family's memories?

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28 comments:

  1. What a beautiful photo of yourself and Celeste Jody. The love and happiness of both of your faces makes me smile. You are spot on, I have been trying to make a bigger effort to be in photos, instead of always taking them. I have also felt a bit silly doing the odd selfie with myself and the boys, but often these are the best photos!

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    1. Thank you Lauren. We definitely need to make more of an effort to be in our pictures. It's time to get over the fear and realise that these simple shots are all the future generations have to remember us by.

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  2. When a family member died, her husband asked for a picture of our family with her for the funeral - and there wasn't one - there were once of everyone except me. And I realised I was missing in all the photos from the last 10 years...so we've started taking at least one with each of the kids or my partner each holiday (as we don't get the camera out much in between, except for me taking shots of the kids)

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    1. Lydia I am so glad you realised before it was a major problem down the line. We have some family pictures of members who are no longer with us and they were literally fought over on rarity! Pictures are priceless and it's great you will now be in your own. :D

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  3. I don't hide from the camera, it's just that no one remembers to point it at me! They're too busy taking snaps of the kids. I think I need to get better at taking selfies. And by the way, you look gorgeous in all those photos:-)

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    1. Bec, I know that reason for being absent in pictures too. And thank you for the compliment :D

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  4. This is very true, and for us it is also about getting a whole family shot - I end up taking quite a few of hubby with the kids and the kids together but make few shots myself. As our kids are adopted we have virtually no photos of them before we met them. We do have a cherished album of 25 photos of our daughter in very similar poses at the orphanage. For our son, we only have two photos prior to meeting him at almost 9 months old - but then we got to live four months with him that we missed out on with our daughter who we didn't meet until she was almost 13 months old. I know it is digital overload now, but I appreciate every single image.

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    1. I bet you are making up for it now. You can never have too many pictures and this is certainly the age to take them in. It is very hard to get good family images. My eldest girl at 14, often opts out of photos these days which is very sad. I am hoping she will grow out of it soon.

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  5. I don't particularly like taking photos of myself but I'm getting really good at taking mummybubby selfies :)

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    1. We don't have much choice when they're little do we?! They are wherever we are and always on us :D

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  6. I can really relate to this post. I have thousands of photos of my family and I struggled to find one of me just the other day.

    I also agree about parents (mums especially) needing to get amongst the fun that they create. It's hard to do sometimes...

    I adore that top photo of you and Celeste (gorgeous name). You both have lovely smiles!

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    1. Thank you Kaz. It is so hard to drop the role and roll with the fun times. We need to learn to do this.

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  7. Most of our pictures are of our kids and hubby mainly because I'm the one always taking the photos. I have been more mindful of getting others to take them recently though. Not a huge fan of selfies though! Always too judgmental :)

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    1. Yes this happens to me all the time. Selfies are very hard to do aren't they?!

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  8. Both shots are lovely. Did you see the recent weekend mag story on Victorian era mothers hiding under black cloths to not be seen?

    I don't hide from the camera but I do find there aren't enough shots of me *with* my children unless I get a volunteer to do it. #teamIBOT

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    1. No I didn't see the article but I would love to read it. How long ago was it published? I will have to look into it.

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  9. Sometimes it's my vanity that prevents me from being in photos with my kids but I try to get photos with myself in them with my girls because they are memories and I remember reading an article once about kids looking back on photos of themselves and wondering why their mum wasn't in them. The hardest part is getting the four of us (with dad) in a shot. I love that photo of you and Celeste. She is a gorgeous baby and you are a beautiful mum. :)

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comments Rebecca. I feel silly being in my own pictures but we really need to get over it. I am quite sure men don't even think about it at all.
      Getting a family shot of everyone is quite an art isn't it.

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  10. I used to hide from the camera a LOT, but now not so much. You can always delete a shocking photo, but you can never take one again of the moments you've missed.

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    1. So true Jess. I find sometimes too that if you leave a photo you don't quite like and then come back to it a few days later, sometimes it doesn't seem as bad as your first impressions. I have done this so many times and end up quite liking the picture in question.

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  11. I love the photo Jody, it's very natural of you both. And what a gorgeous toothy smile from Celeste! I tend to take the majority of our family photos, which means I need to ask my hubby to take a photo that includes me so when we look back at our photos I can see that I was also present.

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  12. There are very few photos of me and my boys and it is one thing I would like to change. Great post.

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  13. You're spot on with this one Jody. Of all the pics I've taken of my son in the last year (thousands!), I only feature in about two of them! It's ridiculous. I'm going to make more of an effort after reading this. That's a gorgeous photo of you and your baby.

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  14. Such an important message here Jody something I keep trying to remind myself of. x

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  15. Love this Jody. I discovered a hashtag on Instagram, ( #becauseofkayla , I think, off the top of my head) that changed the way I think on this subject. Kayla was a friend of a friend of someone I followed on IG. She always took selfies of herself and her children. Her feed was full of them. Silly, bad angled, happy smiling selfies. Kayla died. To honour her memory, someone came up with this hashtag and encouraged us to put ourselves into our photos with our children. Because one day, we will not be there. One day, these photos will be all our children will have of us. These pictures of us will be treasured. If not by us, our children will love them.

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  16. Here, here! What a wonderful, thought provoking post. I also think - no matter how fabulous it is to record special moments of our children - sometimes it's actually good to put the camera down and just enjoy the moment. I love photos as much as anyone else, but life is for living and sometimes, if we want to be truly present we need to leave the technology alone and just be. Thanks so much for sharing Jody! x Katie / poutinginheels.com

    #allaboutyou

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  17. Love this post and totally agree. I often find that even if I hate the way I look in the picture at the time, when I look back a few months later I don't think I look so bad and actually enjoy seeing my part in the memory. Great post xx #allaboutyou

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  18. I love that picture - what a beautiful moment and a fantastic smile!
    I completely agree on the picture front - there are hardly any of me and I know it's something I'll regret in the future.
    Xx
    #AllAboutYou
    www.joyandpops.com

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