If there's one thing my dad did well as a parent, it was taking tons of photos of my mom and me. In fact, he took a lot of pictures of my mom with all three of her children together.
Now that I'm a parent, and pretty much the family photographer, I can probably count the number of photos I have of me with my four kids on my two hands. And I can't tell you how much this bothers me, especially since my favorite photos from my childhood are the ones taken with my mother.
So here's how I'm changing that, and how you can too.
I, like many new moms, avoided having my photograph taken with my first baby because I gained almost 70 pounds and just didn't feel like myself. I didn't like the way I looked.
And as I was pretty much pregnant or breastfeeding for the next seven years after my daughter was born, my weight fluctuated, and I never quite felt "good enough" to be in a snapshot.
Looking back now, it sounds utterly ridiculous, not just because no one cares about the bags under my eyes and the extra 40 pounds I'm carrying in my mid-section, but because I know it's sending the wrong message to my children.
I want them to remember me when I'm gone as I am now, or was then, which was wonderful, even if I didn't really feel that way at the time.
To be fair, I'm always the one taking the photos in my family and I've become picky about how I set them up and how they look. At least, that's the excuse I use when I take a ton of photos of my kids and my husband, or my kid and his parents, or my kids and anyone else, really, except me.
If I could start all over, I wouldn't care so much about how I looked in the photographs, or even how the pictures themselves turned out. That's why there's Photoshop, after all. Not to shave off the double chin, but to fix the lighting, move the weird-shaped lamp from behind my head.
And okay, maybe shave off the double chin just a little.
It'e easier now, thanks to smartphones and apps like Instagram, where you can flip that camera around and snap a ridiculous amount of annoying selfies and share them with your followers (hey, better than snapping annoying photos of your breakfast, I say). Because you can take some of those selfies with your children in them.
I do that all the time now, when we're just fooling around in the house, or reading a bedtime story, or doing the other things we do every day. And I make sure that on every special occasion, like birthdays and holidays, I get a photo with them, no matter what I'm wearing. Or what I look like. Or how long it's been since I showered.
Because I know I'll be glad I did. And I'm pretty sure they will be too.
Do you make sure you're in photos with your children, or do you shy away from the camera like I did?