Last week I took a rare-ish selfie whilst I had 5 minutes to kill, and popped it on Instagram. I added a few comments about how I am not on my feed much as, well, no one ever takes my photo! Asking if it was just me that felt this way, lots of mums responded (privately, which speaks volumes) with sentiments like:
“I take all the family photos… I hate having my picture taken but now and again I try to get some with me in just to prove I was present!”
“I’ve got maybe 2 of my boy and me, yet I’ve taken thousands of him and his daddy!”
“Occasionally my hubby will take snaps when we’re out and about but hardly ever…”
“I take all the photos and I’m not in any. It makes me very sad.”
I also asked mums why they felt this was the case. 81% said it was because they didn’t like the way they look. 75% said it was because they were the family photographer.
My husband is wonderful in many ways but he’s crap at taking pictures. His phone is for work mainly, and occasional chatting with friends. He doesn’t do social media. I am the house photographer, as I am on social and I’m just more inclined to do it. I know a little bit about cameras etc. And I think that’s fast becoming the norm nowadays; the more social-media inclined mother takes all the piccies. But also, I have become hyper critical of the way I look too. I don’t think I worry excessively about it as I can have a word with myself and rise above those feelings. It’s so sad that so many women feel that this is the main reason for not featuring in many pictures.
Back when I was a kid, my Dad was the one in no holiday snaps, as he had the high tech camera, all whizzy and zoomy and stuff. It was too much work for my mum who had more important things to do on holiday in Menorca, circa 1987, like sunbathe, jazz her perm up, and the like. Every now and then he would ask for someone else to take the picture. I remember doing it sometimes, and him teaching me what to do. “Half-depress it – is the green light flashing?? No? Oh come here!” Nowadays it’s so much more simple though; there’s no techie skills required; we all have smartphones with powerful cameras in built.
And yet, SO many mums hardly feature on their own Insta feeds. I’m not talking about celebs, or bloggers who are very good at taking selfies (and have talented Insta husbands quite clearly – lucky them!) but ordinary mums. There is a growing body positivity movement on Instagram that bloggers like Molly Forbes, Clemmie Hooper and the like are championing, and it’s encouraging to see more of us embracing what’s normal. Saggy tummies, and mum bods in all their glory are all the rage (in theory).
AND YET. STILL, loads of us don’t like having our snaps taken. When someone does try, we delete it as we don’t like how we look. I’ve done that to so many that I’ve asked Ad to take. The result is that in ten years we may look back and notice with regret that we barely featured in our family snaps. Rare selfies that do make the grade are filtered to death and we feel we have to trout pout and tilt the phone at an angle so we don’t show our double chin! We all know deep down these photos don’t capture the real ‘us’. When we are laughing, smiling or just chilling with our family. You know, the way the rest if the family are captured??
I know what you’re thinking; but look, there’s a nice photo above this post! And the previous post had lots of photos of you in. Yeah, because I asked a photographer to come and take some of me! And even then, as much as I could see the beauty in the moments captured (Kate is very talented) I internally criticised my own appearance in them. My hair is frizzy. I look tired. I look old. STOP IT! You look like a 38 year old pregnant, happy mum of two, which is exactly what I am.
So here’s what I want to do. I want to set up a monthly challenge for every mum who hasn’t got many pictures of herself, herself and the family, herself with friends, or herself and her partner. I want you then to ask someone, anyone, to #takemumsphoto. If you have to ask another mum, do it. If you have to ask Dad, do it (he could do with the practice quite frankly). Even if you have to ask one of your kids – they’ll probably be better than you at it anyway! The next thing I want you to do is not filter it, not whinge about it, not analyse it. Just ask one thing: does it capture a moment? If this answer is yes, it’s in.
What I want is for us mums to have more photos with us in, so that we get used to it. Maybe then we won’t overly analyse our wrinkles, our fat arms, our spots. Who bloody cares? In 30 years you will look back and think what the sod was I worried about? I looked bloody amazing!
Who’s with me?
Here’s what you need to do:
– Every month post one or more photos of you – on your own or with others with the hashtag #takemumsphoto
– Describe the picture and who took it. I will round up and share on my page in a collage. Then I’ll pick a ‘winner’ each month to share a full post to.
– That’s it. We will have a theme each month, which you may partake in or just don’t worry – the main thing is you get someone to #takemumsphoto
– May’s theme is ‘unposed’. Get asking!
Follow me on Instagram here: @mrsrachelbrady