Thanksgiving: This Mom Stayed in the Picture

Last week, a very poignant post went viral – one that most moms can relate to. It’s called The Mom Stays in the Picture, published on The Huffington Post by freelance write Allison Tate.

Here’s a small excerpt – be forewarned, you may find yourself nodding with emotion more than once.

I avoid photographic evidence of my existence these days. To be honest, I avoid even mirrors. When I see myself in pictures, it makes me wince. I know I am far from alone; I know that many of my friends also avoid the camera.

It seems logical. We’re sporting mama bodies and we’re not as young as we used to be. We don’t always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up, perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to just take their pictures, we think.

But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don’t like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?

Too much of a mama’s life goes undocumented and unseen. 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.

To say that this article hit home is an understatement. I have cancelled our family photos more than once because I forgot to have my roots done – or I forgot to lose those extra 10 pounds. I’ve been a fixture behind the camera because my hair wasn’t perfect, my makeup wasn’t done or my clothes were frayed from overuse. In short, I’ve looked over photos of my children from the past four years and realize with profound sadness that I’m in less than 10% of them.

This Thanksgiving, we visited my in-laws for a family celebration. As I snapped photos of the children, I decided that it was time for a change. This time, I stayed in the picture. And believe it or not – they’re the first pictures I have with my children this year. 

I hope that these photos are just the first of many that I have with my boys. When they grow up, I want them to remember me for all my faults and fabulousness – but I have a feeling that looking at these pictures, they won’t see any of those things. They’ll just see Mom.

Special thanks to Best Buy Canada for providing me with a Canon ELPH 10.1MP Digital Camera to encourage me to stay in the picture, along with a ProLine 12″ Digital Photo Frame – where I’ll proudly display my photos for years to come.

Did Allison Tate’s article strike a chord with you?

29 Responses to “Thanksgiving: This Mom Stayed in the Picture”

  1. nicolthepickle
    October 8, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    Aww. these are beautiful. And those tights are fabulous!

    I never really thought about it, but I do that too. I made a photo book online and my husband edited it, and he added way more pictures of me. I thought there were enough *shrugs*.

    • Lena
      October 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Thanks Nicoline :) My husband would have done the same… but until now, there were very few to choose from! Changing that now.

  2. Kat E.
    October 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    So beautiful! Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family Lena! :)

    • Lena
      October 8, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, too! Thank you Kat!

  3. Anne Taylor
    October 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    I stayed out of the picture for many years…

    YOur photos of you and your kidlets are beautiful

    • Lena
      October 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

      You’re too kind Anne. I like that your comment is past tense – which means I’m hoping you no longer stay out of the picture ;)

  4. Michael
    October 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Hoping to see many more great photos of all of us!!!

    • Lena
      October 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

      Me too :) Thanks sweets.

  5. Julia
    October 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    You and your boys are gorgeous. So happy to see you in every single one of these pictures!

    • Lena
      October 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

      Thanks Julia! It’s been much, much too long!

  6. Jolee
    October 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Love the tights so much! And the pictures are stunning. No excuse for you not to get in the picture, lady!

    • Lena
      October 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

      Haha I like the tights too :) Thanks Jolee!

  7. Nicole W.
    October 9, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    I read Allison’s post and I loved it. I am lucky to have many photographs from my childhood, but there are definitely very few with my parents in them. Even now, as an adult, I so rarely am photographed with my parents! It’s something I would like to start doing more of.

    Your pictures are awesome (and I love your pink tights!). Wonderful pictures for both you and your sons to cherish in the years ahead!

    Make sure Dad stays in the picture too! :)

    • Lena
      October 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

      Nicole, I never thought of the fact that I don’t take pictures with my parents anymore. Another thing I’ll have to change! The tights are Secret! (Meaning the brand Secret, not that I don’t want to tell you!)

  8. Amy Brown
    October 9, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    We talked about this at my sisters house and I took a picture of her and her son, but we didn’t end up getting one with me and my daughter.. maybe Christmas?
    I love your tights!

    • Lena
      October 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      YES! Christmas for sure, please :)

  9. Parent Club
    October 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Beautiful pictures and a beautiful family Lena.

    I am usually the family photographer and never get into the shots (so your post really does hit home). I now make a point to say “take a picture of me with the kids” so that I get in the pictures.

    Our scrapbook will one day thank me for this.

    • Lena
      October 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      Thank you Caroline :) Love that you make a concerted effort to get in the picture. But then you’ve always been a very smart woman!

  10. dannyscotland
    October 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Wow. So true. My mom hates having her picture taken, and I try to get her to be in them, and now I find that I don’t like being in pictures, either. Sigh. I try to let myself be photographed but I refuse to be on video. I draw the line. :-) But this is so right. They will someday want to see pictures of us, not of themselves. Because someday we’ll be gone and the pictures will be all they have.

    • Lena
      October 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Exactly. Our kids will want to see US, because let’s face it, they’ve got more than enough of them :)

  11. Carlee
    October 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Simply beautiful post, Lena. Great that Best Buy as a company shows off a more tender side too. But I think I need to address the elephant in the room – where did you get your tights???

    • Lena
      October 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Good point! Love that Best Buy appreciates the little things :) And my tights are Secret! Available in lots of fun colours!

  12. Victoria Ess
    October 10, 2012 at 1:55 am #

    This post resonated with me deeply. I have known my partner for 6 years, and we have only a handful of pictures together, most of which have been taken just in this past six months. We actually have vacation pictures with us in them, rather than just pictures of landscapes and monuments!! Good for you for being brave this year! It’s inspirational!

    • Lena
      October 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      I think YOU’RE inspirational for having vacation pictures filled with yourself! Amazing! Too many times we stop to take a photo of the landscape, but don’t include a picture of ourselves enjoying it!

  13. Patti J.
    October 13, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    I rarely get in photos and usually end up having a lot of scenery shots from our vacations. I don’t have children so instead of kids only shots, I have a ton of our two dogs (who are my furry kids :D). I use the excuse that I’m not photogenic, but I’m sure it has more to do with all the insecurities I have about my appearance. I’m going to TRY to get in the next photo (after I lose that 10 lbs, that is) ;-)

    • Lena
      October 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      I think it’s great that you’ve recognized that it’s time to make a change, too. I felt so good taking those pictures! You will too :)

  14. Rachel VD
    October 15, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    I do almost all the photography for our family, so our pictures are usually of the kids and my husband… for the most part, no one else really thinks to take pictures! I loved this article, and it reminded me how important it is for my kids to have photo evidence that their Mom really was around for them!

    • Lena
      October 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      It’s so true! Our kids need to know the little things about us… ESPECIALLY that we were around for them!

  15. Debbie Bashford
    June 26, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I am normally the picture taker and like my mother don’t like being in pictures

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