Get in the Picture

“Oh, please don’t take my picture.”

I get it.  You just had a baby.  Or you didn’t.  You’re *just* a mom.  You’re tired.  You feel fat, you feel ugly, you hate your hair, you have wrinkles.  You haven’t lost those 50 pounds, yet, that you said you were going to lose before you got your picture taken, again.  You don’t want any evidence hanging around that you once looked exactly the way that you do.  

Y’all.  I hate to be the harsh one here, but that’s a pretty terrible way to think.

Let’s imagine telling our kids when they are older that we don’t have any pictures of us together when they were babies because we hated the way that we looked and didn’t want to have our picture taken.  Arguably, that’s a more damaging message to send.  That we can literally hate ourselves so much that just the visual of ourselves in a picture is just too much to bear, when the reality, again, is that this is just what we happen to look like, right now, in this moment of life.  It’s not good or bad, it just is.  And we alone get to decide how it makes us feel.  Let me say that one more time.  We get to decide.  

I remember getting ready to take 6 month pictures with the big one – the first professional pictures I had taken since my wedding.  I was really worried about my clothes not fitting (the clothes I had literally just bought specifically for pictures) or about me not being able to style my hair (I’d just gotten it cut recently) and generally worried about my being in them, looking ugly and ruining our pictures.  A close second place worry was wondering if my kid would do anything remotely cute for long enough that could be caught on camera.  I even rambled through an email to our photographer about it.  Not sure what I thought she would do – maybe offer to make my belly roll smaller in editing?  She didn’t, by the way.  She just basically told me that everyone worries about that stuff but to try not to and that it would all be ok.  And it was.  It was all ok.

But, I can now admit that, even so, I continued to worry.  I worried at our 1 year pictures because the big one was a little timid and couldn’t hardly stand to be away from me, let alone with the photographer (not alone, just without me holding him) trying to capture cuteness.  

I worried at the 18 month session because it was cold out.  I brought his favorite books and favorite snacks, none of which were paid any attention to.  That session we actually got for free because he was so uncooperative, ha ha.  

Then I worried again at the newborn session for the little one.  I worried that the big one wouldn’t sit next to her (since he had barely acknowledged her since she had been home) and wouldn’t smile and then I worried that the little one wouldn’t do the cute baby poses and I would have wasted my money on that silly ruffle diaper cover and sparkly headband.  And of course, I had just given birth.  I was fat.  I didn’t look at all put together like my friends that were posting their newborn pictures – looking like they weren’t still wearing their maternity pants.  Maybe they were (I mean probably they were, right?!) – that’s the beauty of maternity pants – you generally can’t tell by just looking at them, but still.  I felt different.  And definitely not picture ready.  

But eventually, I got it into my head that there was only so much I could do about any of these scenarios.  I wasn’t going to crash diet for a month before pictures – I have small kids, who has the time or energy for that?  I wasn’t going to go and have my hair or makeup done professionally before a shoot, because that’s not every day.  Because this is life.  This is what we are dealing with on a daily basis.  This is what we look like today.  And even if it’s not what we think it should be, it still deserves to be documented and celebrated.  In the grand scheme of things, our kids are only little like this for a minute.  And if they act like assholes the whole time and we don’t get a single good picture, well, that’s something else for the memory books, ha ha.

And beauty is not in a size 6 pair of pants.  Beauty is what we find when we stop worrying about the size 6 pair of pants.  We don’t stop worrying because we have “given up on life” but we stop worrying because the pants don’t define us.  The pants don’t know about the struggle and sometimes pains of breastfeeding.  Or of not being able to breastfeed and wanting to.  The pants don’t know what it’s like to essentially not have slept through the night in close to 3 years.  The pants don’t get to tell us if we deserve to feel pretty or happy or picture ready.  And the pants don’t know love.  When we take the time to appreciate and honor what we are and what we have, I promise, that’s when we get the good pictures and that’s when love shines through and that’s where the beauty is, even if those pants you’re wearing are the biggest size you’ve ever had to buy.  Even if you just didn’t have it in you to put on mascara.  The beauty and the love is there.  They are simply waiting on you to embrace them and just get in the picture, already.   

Need a little guidance?  Check out my FREE guide on the 12 Essential Items You Need in Your Wardrobe: