I love taking photos of my kids – I love showing them off to my friends and family. I like documenting what activities we do, and share them with my mommy friends. But sometimes I get to thinking, am I trying so hard to get “proof” of our good time that I’m forgetting to enjoy the moment?
A few years ago I went to Italy with my hubby – I was trying to get the “right” photo in front of some random tourist attraction. It ended up in a fight because he thought my photo was stupid, and I was almost hysterical over it. I retrospect I could’ve smacked my now 9-year younger self – we were in a romantic country and instead of enjoying our vacation I was obsessed over a photo!
Fast-forward to now, I take photos of my kiddos and my toddler will give me an exaggerated grin and scream “CHEEESE!” while looking off – she’s not engaged, she’s pandering to my trying to get the perfect photo. I take hundreds of photos of family adventures, looking for that handful of photos to post on Instagram of us all having a wonderful time.
I really don’t have a point, as these are just thoughts milling around in my brain.
My mom took lots of photos of us as kids, and I love looking back at them and reliving the good memories. Photos aren’t bad. Photos are awesome. Sometimes photos are all you have of memories, and allow you to travel back in time and be reunited with loved ones. Photos are gifts you give your future self.
But where is the balance when taking the photo is more important than the memory? I don’t want to be that mom with her phone always in picture mode whipping it out to catch that one adorable moment. Why can’t I just relax and enjoy the time spent with my kiddos? We were at the park the other day and there was half a dozen moms taking photos of their kiddos instead of just playing with them.
There has to be a balance. A balance between being known as the “picture lady” as family has sometimes referred to me. But I don’t intend to stop taking photos. I just want to remind myself that it’s more important to play with my girls and spend quality time with them than try to capture that right moment to “prove” we had a good time. I want to experience my toddler’s genuine joy over mommy and me time, not a fake “cheeze” that she gives me so I’ll let her go back to playing.
I want real life, real experiences and if I don’t end up with evidence, so be it. Don’t worry, I’ll still be snapping photos. But hopefully I’ll also be spending time with my girls and forget my phone is even in my pocket.