Okay a genuinely shocking thing has emerged following my Family Book post on Friday, which is that we are all taking hundreds of photos of the kids, and none of ourselves!
This is a rotten state of affairs – brought about because (sorry to be sexist) but we are the ones most usually wielding the camera, or who think to take a snap but ALSO because we don’t like photos of ourselves, because in our heads we look like Gisele and don’t want that delusion messed with. That’s my reason anyway.
But this is all topsy turvy and wrong and the real losers here are our kids. There are only a handful of photos of my mother from when we were young and hardly any of us with her. Some is better than none, but still it’s sad.
So PLEASE, everyone – just remember: you’re not asking to have a photo taken with your kids for yourself, because you’re a vain nutter: you’re taking them for your kids. I don’t care if you’re all red in the face and need to lose a stone. Your kids won’t care and they will be so sad not to have any photos of you together. They will treasure the ones that they have. DO IT. Show this post to your husband. Hand him your phone, grab the kids by the back of the neck. Get it done.
YES! This is so true. Thanks, Esther.
Angela O'Donovan says
This is so true. I bought a cheapo selfie stick to take on holiday this year. Yeah, using one makes you look like a dick but now at least I have loads of lovely family shots and silly shots taken by the kids but crucially all with me in them.
So true – and thinking about it, I’m struggling to think of many pictures of me and my mum together except as a baby, as she never liked how she looked in pictures. I try and take ones now of her with the grand kids whether she likes it or not. My dad only had one photo of his parents together and his mum is looking away as she didn’t like her photo taken. It is sad. When we go places now at some point I hand my husband the camera and say take some pictures please, but I always feel pissed off having to ask, but like you said, needs must. We went for a walk at a country park recently and my two year old held my hand all the way round; only wanted me. She briefly switched to daddy and I whipped the camera straight out and took a photo because it looked so sweet. It occurred to me then it how the one-sided nature of the snapping might actually create a false picture in the future – other people look and say “Daddy’s girl” etc, and while it is true she is “Mummy’s girl” too and I don’t like the idea of them having the impression that I didn’t enjoy them or love being around them just as much as their father. I’ve overthought it now but I’m going to not feel guilty about handing over the phone.
Hi Esther have you seen the Instagram hashtag #proofofmum? Exists for this same reason…
Nicky Woolner says
you are very right.
This hit me the other day when I realised if I died the kids would have no photos of me with them. So I’ve taken matters into my own hands and booked a photographer to come and do a session with us (Hopefully I found a good one – anyone with photos of naked newborns in knitted hats I immediately ruled out). I’m also crap at taking photos of toddlers and would like a few unblurry photos of them together. I think my husband was joking when I told him. Ha! That’s his birthday and Christmas sorted – and for the grannies.
My mum’s dying and the first thing I thought of when we found out was that I have no pictures of us together and very few of her at all because she doesn’t like the way she looks in photos. There’s no reason, in the age of selfies, to not take pics with your mum/kids.
This bugs me too. I ended up getting an ex colleague (who is now a baby photographer) to do a short photo shoot with us, just so that we had a few photos of me with the kids.
My father died in November and I can’t find any photos with just him and me as an adult. It makes me so sad. But my husband reminds me that although I was taking the photos and never in them, we were there together at every party and event, so that brings some comfort.
For precisely this reason there are no photos of me with any three of my babies as newborns. In both instances (twins followed by a singleton) I’d had an emergency c section so had been sawn in half, run over by a truck, drained of all blood and stuck in a hospital bed and told to breastfeed so was in no fit state to pick up a camera. Because of this juggernaut of body blows and because my husband is selfish, thoughtless twat when it comes to immortalising Kodak moments, there is nowt. Friends who came to visit took photos of him holding the babies but, mysteriously, none of me, which still grinds my goat. And, when I was well enough (which was MONTHS down the line) it was me wielding the camera because, frankly, it never occurred to him. Even worse, because my hideous c sections were both under general anaesthetics I have seen none of my children being born so this whole newborn-in-hospital bit is a blank I can’t even fill with photographs. If I think about it too deeply it breaks my heart a bit.
When my twin girls were two-and-a-half I took the situation by the scruff of the neck and dragged us all off to Richmond Park with the camera. Because I didn’t want to look vain and because, inadvertently, I appear to have signed in my life’s blood a contract to abject myself on the sacrificial maternal altar and put myself last, I took about a twenty, stupendous, frame-worthy pictures him with our daughters first. Only then did I announce it was my turn (note, I had to suggest this to him. At no point did he leap in and say “No, no. There are none of you. Let’s take some of you first…”. My husband is amazing but he’s a twat when it comes to photographs.) but as I handed him the camera the battery ran out, the camera died and, once again, there were no photos, which I’m still pissed off about seven years later.
This post has galvanised me to push myself into photos of my children, for them, and also for me, because on the latter, why not? I always look like I’ve got one eye and a giant nose in photographs but the bird holding the baby in your black and white pic looks as miserable as sin and as if she’s growing a moustache and yet here she is, immortalised forever and rightly part of her family set.
Thank you for wise words.
Tess this is a great story. GET those photos done!!! you DO exist!
Crumbs, you had twins? You’re like a superhero.
Alas, no. Although that’s all I wanted people to think in the early days when I limped about London with my giant pram and my hair up on end. Twins are excellent though. I highly recommend them once you’re through the terror ride of the first year.
Tess, I really feel for you, I remember feeling so unimportant in the weeks after my first was born. If it makes you feel better I did get some photographs taken in the aftermath of my traumatic birth and when I look back at them I just feel really sorry for that poor woman! I never look at them now. Photos are important, but actually getting through that time and being someone’s mother is much more so. Be kind to yourself (and throw the bloody camera at him from now on!) x
Ha! I have visions of me tossing a camera in his eye when he walks through the door this evening.
Actually there is one photo of me on the bed in hospital that my father-in-law took about half an hour after I woke up in HDU. I’m not holding any babies (no idea where they were at that point) and in fact, I just look as if I’ve been in a terrible accident with a chainsaw and a bike pump. It’s an advert for not having caesareans, or at least not ones I seem to end up having.
I’m pleased to report it all loses its sting. I am at peace, or at least diverted by the noble mandate of keeping three children alive for ten years.
Photos though. If only there was someone who took decent, sane family photographs that didn’t involve tossing piles of autumnal leaves in parks or hilarious group laughter in tonal shirts.
This is so true. When my mum died a couple of years ago there was exactly 1 picture of her and I together because it was always us with the cameras pointing out. I dislike selfies for all of your reasons but now I take them with my (older) kids, my husband and my dad whenever we do anything. They always make me shudder but I guess that must be what I look like now, the camera never lies.
I love getting The Spike every morning even though my family is much older than yours and I don’t have schools and sleep issues to deal with, please carry on with it. x
It’s shit but true. If I died though, I like to think my kids would know who I was because I learned the hard way. There are hardly any photos of me and my wonderful Dad who died in 2011, and nowhere near enough of him holding my eldest. I wept on and off for months, WHY WHY WHY didn’t I photograph every damn time he came over to visit, every walk to the park we ever took…it breaks my heart. So, I’m now always the Mum photographing every tiny little bastard thing we do, much to the disgust of those smug women who are all ‘Jeez, put the phone down and LIVE the moment…’ But hey, screw ’em!
Also, and this is important to note, if we were KIDNAPPED then would there be any up to date photos for the police to put on Crimewatch?? You have to think of these things…
It takes seconds to take a photo, plenty of moments to live in between. You carry on x
My mum..The Granny…nagged my big children into taking photos of her baby girl as she said there were none at all. So now they both take pictures of me to send to Granny…
You MUST get photos taken of you with your children for every reason but most importantly because if anything should happen to you — you want your children to be able to look at photos of you. But not just you with them but you holding them or looking at them or doing whatever in such a way that one day they will be able to look at those photos and know — without a shadow of doubt — that their mother really and truly loved them.
A bit of a detour here, but I quite like having photos of the interiors of different houses I’ve lived in. They sometimes get to be squashed out when you’re taking pics of people, obvs, but well lived-in rooms are very evocative.
This is a wonderful idea and I really hope this struck a chord with your readers with children. My mother died when I was 11, after being ill from when I must have been about 7 and in and out of hospital and I don’t have a single photo of her with either me or my brother as she hated having her photo taken and we’ve only got about 5 of her taken during her whole life. Without being a creep, when I see a mother taking photos of her children in public I always say ‘would you like me to take one of you together?”
Get your photos taken this weekend parents!
Thanks Emma! I feel a campaign coming on…