It seriously happens all the time, and I don’t think it’s in my head. I can see people, Baby Boomers mostly, silently watching and judging me when I stop to take a video, or try to get Reese perfectly posed for a cute picture. I know there are people who see how often I post on Instagram or Snapchat and think “Well does she actually ~do anything with her kids or just take pictures of them? Everything is just a photo opportunity for her! She’s missing life while she’s worried about capturing everything!!!”
Yes, you’re absolutely right. I just dress them up and haul them to the park solely for the purpose of taking a photo. I care for nothing else. In fact, I only ~had them in the first place because I wanted to grow my Instagram following and IT WORKED. When my kids don’t cooperate with my Snapchat agenda they are banished to their rooms. I only see life through my iPhone camera lens and it TOTALLY prevents me from enjoying everyday life.
Wow sorry I got defensive and sarcastic in a HURRY there didn’t I? I guess I have just dealt with one too many think pieces shared on Facebook that slam my generation for trying to record everything. You’d think the generation who had to pay for studio photography to get pictures of their children would understand.
There aren’t ~tons of photos of me and my siblings as tiny kids, which is the case for basically every millennial. There are plenty of good ones, of course. And I’m not saying my parents were neglectful or didn’t love us, obviously. But photography simply wasn’t as accessible. You had to pick the age and outfits that you thought would be best, and hope you got a good shot. Then you printed out the good ones, sent them to family and friends, stuck them in a scrapbook.
Video cameras were expensive, and sometimes what you get is your toddler crying at Disneyland (which is, incidentally, one of our favorite family home videos lol). It wasn’t often that daily life was recorded – usually vacations, special events, and birthdays in our case.
My parents did a great job of taking pictures and recording video, but I guarantee you they would love to have more. I’m willing to bet most people would love to relive 5 minutes of a random day when their kids were small, or have certain moments captured on video or immortalized in a photograph. Because life moves fast, things change, babies grow.
And that’s why I take constant photos and videos. Reese was brand new, a novelty to me. Everything she did surprised and delighted me, and I wanted to record every little detail. My Malone is different today than she was yesterday, and I feel like I get even less time with her because I have Reese, so I want to preserve as many of those golden moments as possible.
If I was raising Reese in the 90s I wouldn’t have a video of her saying “Oh no! She sad!” at the beginning of Hello on the Trolls soundtrack. But I’m raising her today and I do.
If I was raising Malone in the 80s I wouldn’t have a picture of her little grumpy brows when she first wakes up. Or a picture of nearly every outfit she’s worn. Or a picture of her perfectly fluffy hairs after a bath. But I’m raising her today so I do.
Contrary to what may be popular belief, I don’t take pictures of ~everything we do. There are a lot of days that we go to fun parks and wear cute outfits and do funny dances, and I don’t take or post about. But most days I do.
Does stopping to get a slow-mo video of Reese’s pure joy in a swing make me “miss” the experience? I don’t think so at all. And now I have forever this video that I’ve already watched 50 times. I frequently go back through photos and videos of Reese, remembering great days we’ve had and how cute she looked in that one awesome outfit. I find that the photo triggers so many more memories about that day or that stage or that facial expression. Simply the act of taking the photo means I’m concentrating on the moment, watching their faces closely. Even if I never look at that photograph, taking it helps me pin down that moment in my consciousness. I love it.
You know who else likes all the photos and videos? My parents and in-laws. I love sharing my girls with my mom, because I think she’s the only person in the world who can understand what I feel for them. It makes me so grateful for my iPhone when I put myself in my mom’s shoes, raising toddler me in Oklahoma and having to print and mail photos of me to my angel grandma who loved me to pieces and would go months without seeing my face. Instead, anytime our parents want to see our girls they can FaceTime us, pull up my snapstory, scroll through the latest photos I’ve added to shared albums. (Yeah, they live 10 minutes away – but even if they WERE in Oklahoma they’d still know exactly how Reese’s hair looks today and that funny little smirk Malone’s been doing lately.)
Taking constant photos and videos and sharing random mom moments has also strengthened my relationships with pretty much everyone else in my life. I’ve bonded with friends, and felt immense gratitude that so many people I know feel love and affection for my girls. On hard days and good days I take and share pictures and videos to remember, and to know that I’m not alone in any of it.
I’m not missing out on life. I’m making it more memorable.
I’m not obsessed with social media or followers. It’s a tool I use to enrich my life, and share joy with others.
I’m not wasting time. I’m saving time, in little moments here and there.
I have thousands of pictures, videos, moments, feelings, memories, and lessons stored right here on my phone, and I don’t regret any of them.
And if I do, whatever. I just delete it and vow to work on Malone’s selfie skills tomorrow.
JOKES her selfie skills are on point, as expected.