Dear Mamas Everywhere

August 28, 2013

It’s been a hard few weeks around here. A sweet friend of ours was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She has two daughters, just 3 and 5. One of the first things that came to my mind was how I needed to give this dear friend a photo session. You know, before her life gets crazy and even more out of control, I wanted to document her with her babies and her husband. Because even though we are confident she will come out on the other side of this battle victorious, you just never know. I want her girls to have images of their mom just as she is right now. Wouldn’t I want the same for my boys?

(my friend Jenn with her girls)

And this thought, this possibility has stirred in me an intense passion I had no idea I had: to make sure the women that come to me for pictures, the mothers that are now or someday will be, to ensure they exist in pictures for their children. I was so overcome with this thought yesterday that I left this on my photography facebook page:

A word to the mama’s out there: You must exist in pictures for your children. No, you may not feel your best, but your children will always see you as beautiful. 10, 20, 50 years from now, you will be so happy you put yourself out there. Stop saying “When I lose this, or fix that” Perfection is over rated – be you and be it now 

Listen, I get it. I feel the same way 99% of the time. But you know what? These are my issues, not my childrens. My husband thinks I’m beautiful, my boys think I’m beautiful and likely always will. If I’m blessed to live to be 85 they will be able to look back and see what I looked like at 30. And Heaven forbid I lose my life next year, what will they have to remember me by? I don’t want my legacy to be hiding away from the camera or 3 random shots where I was caught off guard by my husband in a stolen moment on film. I want to live life, not just in the moment but also in the memory. What better memory do we have than photographs?

The media has done us a disservice for as long as I can remember – if we aren’t the picture of photoshop perfection then what’s the point? Lean in here and listen to me, especially if you have daughters. How will our children ever learn how to love themselves, exactly as they are created unless their mothers are already doing the same? We have got to stop buying into the lie that we aren’t good enough, pretty enough or slim enough to exist during this year or time in our life. Lies.

My husband lost his mom when he was 23. My cousins lost their dad when they were just teens and preteens. You read stories of women dying young all the time. Pictures are priceless and when you put yourself out there you are giving your loved ones a gift that can not be measured or replaced. Pictures literally make time stand still. A moment preserved.

Starting right now, let’s make a decision that from here on out, we are going to smile for the camera. Take a moment to grab your camera or hire someone to do it for you and capture life right now. We must exist in pictures for our children. I promise we will never regret it.

  • Trish

    Well now I’m crying. But you are so right. It’s something I struggle with anytime the camera comes out, but I’m working on it. I don’t want to look back or have my kids look back on these years and not have the tangible proof that I was present. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.

  • Margaret

    Thank you for posting this. My father passed away two years ago at 62. He was always the photographer and rarely the subject. While going through boxes of photos to prepare a memory video for the memorial my family found many photos of us as kids, of locations where we travelled and meals we’d eaten but only a handful of photos of my father. My sister now has very little to share with my 5 year old nephew who lost his “Lolo”.

  • Ashley D.

    So touching! This is definitely something this mama also needs to work on.

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