<b>I BRAKE FOR MOMS | </b>By Jennifer Bardsley
When this column first started I was asked for a recent picture of myself for the byline. That sounds like a simple request, right? Like most moms, I had a camera surgically sewn onto my wrist the day my first baby was born. Like most modern involved dads, my husband has archived our family photos on multiple hard drives and computers. But if you think that finding one decent picture of me would be easy, you would be wrong.
The problem is not that I squint my eyes or am camera shy; the problem is that I’m the one who takes the pictures. Well, that is not entirely true. My 7-year-old did take multiple pictures of me drinking coffee at the kitchen table wearing my bathrobe earlier in the year, but since I did not know that he was photographing me at the time I was not exactly camera ready. There are also some nifty shots of me wielding a light saber, but unless we change this column’s title to “I Brake for Wookiees” those would not have worked either.
This all begs the question: How can I have 40 pictures of my 2-year-old on her potty and not one decent picture of myself? Maybe it is because I am so focused on capturing my children’s good times, that I lose focus on me. Years from now my grandkids will probably be saying “Wow, this scrapbook you made of Legoland is really cool Grandma. Were you there too?” Um, yes! I was the one holding the camera. I was also planning where we would eat lunch, figuring out the directions to our hotel, remembering where we parked the rental car, and remembering what the rental car looked like. Wait, was that a vacation?
Another problem I have with our family photos is that I always choose the pictures that look best of my kids and my husband, but not necessarily of myself. This goes all the way back to my engagement photos. My husband looks great, but I have a weird smile. This tradition has carried over to parenthood and all of the portrait studios we have tried in our area. You probably know how hard it is to get a baby and her big brother to smile at the same time. Who cares what I look like? Just let me buy the darn family shot so we can leave, and no, I do not want the mini-wallets.
Looking back, I do not know how our family photos ran away without me. There must be a balance between your Facebook friend who posts 87 pictures of herself pouting, and the motherless photo albums that I have been creating.
So here is a challenge for you. The next time you see a mom taking yet another picture of her adorable children, grab the camera from her hands and shove her gently into the frame. This also brings me to an important tip for any new-moms-to-be who might be reading: Before you let the hospital staff wheel you and your sweet baby out the door, brush your hair, put on lipstick and make sure that your nursing bra is not showing. That “going home from the hospital” picture will be a keeper. It might even be the last picture you have of yourself for a long time.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at http://teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.