Proof Of Mom: Why It's Important To Be In Photos (And Videos) With Your Kids
After all, your kids will want to see you in pictures someday, too.
I remember the moment I realized I wanted to make sure there were moments captured that included me and my children together. My dad and I were looking at a video of my mom with my daughter, dancing in the kitchen. One of them was stark naked, and we were all standing around, watching in hysterics. My dad said to me, "One day, you'll be so glad you have your mom's voice to listen to again."
My dad has always been very nostalgic and sensitive. He lost his mom when we were just kids, long before technology would have been common enough that he would have his own mom's voice to listen to in years to come. I knew what he meant, and I was so glad to have that video, and countless others.
I am, like many moms, the memory-capturer of our family. The majority of the everyday moments that my kids are captured in, I'm standing behind the camera or the phone. Every so often, I'll throw my husband my phone and say, "Hint, hint!" But beyond that, there's very little proof of my existence. Well, beyond the occasional selfie in which the child is almost always looking at a bird or a tree or something shiny off in left field.
And while the world won't end because I'm not in every photo with my kids, my dad's casual comment was a reminder that we don't just take photos of ourselves with our kids for our own sake. We take them for our future kids, and maybe even their kids, to enjoy or look back on when we're gone or simply when they're missing their mama. I know that happens to me more often than not, and when it does, you can find me watching a video of my mom and my naked baby girl grooving in the kitchen.
I'll admit that most of the time, I don't exactly feel too psyched to have my photo taken. Makeup seems to be a rarity lately and I have somehow grown into a mom-cliche of yoga pants until pajamas, almost always in the eternal hope that I'll get some exercise other than picking up children or toys or both. But sometimes I just have to try to forget that I look like I haven't showered in days, or my knees are covered in banana goo, and throw someone my phone anyway.
My husband isn't a natural documenter of moments, and that's okay. I have no aspirations of turning him into an Instagram husband any time soon (and social media doesn't need to see banana goo anyway!). But over time, I've realized that I can either feel sheepish asking my husband to take a photo of me with my kids, or I can get a little bossy (heck, I'm bossy enough in the rest of my life anyway!), and throw him my phone every once in a while.
And you know what I've found? I've found photos in my photo reel of ME, with my kids, with a look of sheer joy that I hope we'll always remember. They'll probably remember me reminding them (maybe too sharply sometimes), not to bonk each other with toys or food or sticks, and they'll definitely remember my no nonsense insistence on wearing shoes at the playground. But I hope they also remember the look I've seen captured in glimpses when my husband or sister snaps a photo of me tickling my son or reading to my daughter. It's a look of happiness that I've always wanted them to feel from me, and I'm glad to see it shining through the banana goo.
Popular toddler blogger, Susie of Busy Toddler (@busytoddler), coined it "Proof of Mom" when she manages to capture proof of her existence on an outing with her kids or family. She made asking for photos of herself with her kids her New Year’s resolution in 2018, and while it required getting a little more brave in asking strangers to snap a photo at the zoo or out on an adventure, it resulted in a heck of a lot more photos of her with her kids doing fun things as a family.
We all snap a million photos of our kids to capture the memories of their first time at the splash pad or their first time attempting ice skating, but how about this year we all make a commitment to ask for a few photos to document proof of mom? Ask your partner, or your sister, or a stranger at the park. It feels a little narcissistic, but suck it up. Proof of mom is important and you — and your kids (and potential future grandkids) will thank you for it.