A powerful reminder why us mums need to 'get in the picture' more
I think parenting always comes with a ton of smaller and larger regrets.
"I wish I had breastfed longer," "I wish I had slept when the baby slept," "I wish I hadn't bickered with my partner so much about who had gotten less sleep."
Literally, rife with regrets.
The one thing I think I personally regret the most about my first few weeks and years of parenthood is not being in enough pictures with my children.
It wasn't always intentional, as in, most of the pictures of them I snapped myself and so, for practical reasons, of course, was behind the camera. But I also know that I on many occasions opted out of being in pictures simply because I felt self-conscious about the way I looked.
Whether it was in those very early days when I felt like I had just given birth and looked huge, or later, when I was just unhappy with how my hair looked or felt like I just didn't look like I had slept enough or, on holidays, was worried about being snapped in my swimming suit or bikini, I very often excused myself and opted out of being in the picture.
Silly, silly me.
Not only because I one day will probably think about how I looked when I was 29 or 32 and kick myself for not appreciating how young and pretty and happy I was. But also because in my silly self-consciousness have deprived my children of so many memories of moments with me.
When I should have just gotten in the picture. Because at the end of the day – and this is all that matters – my children think (at least for now) I am the most beautiful person in the world. They never think I have a bad hair day or that my thighs are too big or my tummy too soft or that I look tired. They see their mum – and they love me, and I wish I had so many more pictures of us together than I actually have.
But at least I have the chance to rectify this going forward.
Because this mum’s heartbreaking story reveals just how important it is to make sure you put yourself in the family photos.
When Michelle Steinke posted a photo to Facebook this week of her in 2008 with her baby son, she explained the significance of capturing memories with your family, even if you don’t like what you see when you do. Because less than a year after this photo was taken, Michelle’s husband was killed in a plane crash.
At the time of the accident, her daughter Addison was 3 years old and her son Matthew was just one year old. And ever since her husband passed away, Michelle explains how she now regrets not being present in many family photos.
“My self-hate and loathing kept me from taking photos of my babies and photos with the man I loved. Hindsight is always 20/20. I can tell you now it was stupid. I can tell you my kids loved me regardless of my weight. I can tell you my husband loved me irrespective of my body.”
She goes on to warn others of missing out on the being present in your children's memories.
“You can always work on improving yourself, but this moment will never come again. Don’t waste it wishing you were more,” she writes. “You are enough, right now, right as you are. Take the photos. Love your life. Don’t regret what you can control.”
Make sure you put yourself in the pictures, mamas, every time!