taking the photo

The Importance of Taking the Photo: AKA Proof of Mom

Pick up a mom’s phone and take a few minutes to scroll through the camera roll. Chances are you will find dozens upon dozens of photos of her children. Their sweet faces smeared with chocolate from a donut, dressed up in a cute Halloween costume, or spinning circles at a local park.

Do you know what you will rarely find in the camera roll? Photos of her.

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Behind the lens

As moms, we chase our kiddos around endlessly trying to capture their sweetest, most lovable moments.

Like many other women, I become instantly uncomfortable when I think about being in a picture. My post-baby body, wrinkles, and double chin don’t always provide the confidence that helps me relax when I know a photo is being taken of me.

But a few years ago, as I spent an evening walking down the memory lane that is my camera roll, I became incredibly emotional.

I had captured so many moments of my kids’ lives. And many of those moments included my husband. Holding hands with our daughters on the beach. Building legos with our son.

But where was I in many of these moments?

I was silently capturing them of course. And any time my husband tried to capture one of me, I spent an embarrassing amount of time nitpicking over bad angles, bulging veins in my legs, and unflattering waist rolls.

The memory behind the angles

lifestyle photo

Of course, I had years of professional family pictures. Matching outfits, beaming smiles, picturesque backgrounds. But let’s be honest. No one is making happy memories on family picture day.

When I look back at our family photos, I am pretty sure that at least one member was crying at some point each and every year.

Every single day, my heart breaks a little when I think about my kids getting older. But, their photos are the constant reminder of our happiest and brightest moments. Each photograph, a frozen, happy memory.

But I so desperately wanted to have moments in time that included me in them as their mom. Snuggles on the couch. Painting nails in the bathroom. Getting my daughter dressed for her school dance.

This desperation came after realizing that I have virtually no photos of me as a child with my best friend to this day. My mom.

Because she too spent her time hiding behind the lens.

Taking the photos

mom and me picture

Since recognizing that my own face was missing in those most precious moments, I had to have a hard talk with my self-confidence. Would my kids look back on these photos after I was gone from this Earth and think, “Man, mom really needed to suck that belly in”?

The answer was an unequivocal, no.

I know this because I am the child of an alcoholic. And the happier memories of myself with my father are fleeting.

But on my desk, is an old photo of him and me on the beach. Taken from the back, by my mom, of course, we are holding hands and walking bravely into the ocean. I am four years old. And while my heart holds hurtful memories of our past, this photo brings my heart joy each and every time I see it.

A frozen, happy memory.

Take the damn photo

mom and daughter candid picture

So I made one simple request to my husband. I asked him to take the photo. Despite my complaints of not looking presentable, or needing to lose ten pounds. Despite my messy mom bun or unflattering angles. Please, take the damn photo.

At first, he was thoroughly afraid. I was giving him full permission to capture moments when I wasn’t paying attention, despite what I looked like.

At first, I told him to keep them on his phone, knowing full well at the beginning that I would waste my time obsessing over the imperfections in myself. But in time, I learned to look at the picture and see the joy. In their little faces, and in my own.

These photos have become priceless to me.

Lifestyle videos

If there is one expense that I would pay for a million times over, it was deciding to schedule a lifestyle video. I came to our wedding videographers with the idea when our kids were 2, 4, and 12.

I wanted to take our family into Sequoia National Park to explore while they filmed our adventure.

I remember picking a baggy sweater to hide the belly that still showed signs of Mackinley, even two years later. And while I did carefully pick outfits, there was no posing. I didn’t care if the kid’s clothes got dirty, or they made weird faces. In fact, the more their little personalities showed, the better.

The incredibly talented husband and wife duo of Reverie Photo + Film then carefully edited that day into three and half of the most precious minutes I have ever seen.

This was not just a frozen, happy memory. It was a living, breathing video time capsule. Each of their little voices captured as they laughed and ran through the trees. And it was worth every single penny.

You can watch the full video here

Photos of just us

photos of parents

After realizing that I only had a few photos with my kids, I also noticed that the only pictures I had with my husband were a few selfies taken with outstretched arms on rare date nights.

So recently, I asked a dear friend of mine, who also happens to be an incredibly talented photographer, for a huge favor. I had this idea for a candid photoshoot with my husband.

Similar to our family video, I asked her to follow us around for a few hours in one of our favorite places, Lake Tahoe.

No perfectly matching outfits, or structured poses. And for this shoot in particular, no kids.

All I wanted were photos of just us, doing the things we loved. Having a beer. Laughing hysterically. Reminiscing about old memories on our rooftop patio. Making out. All the things.

And you know what, I love each and every one of them. They remind me why I love doing this crazy exhausting life with him.

Frozen, happy memories

Being a mom and a wife is one of the most beautifully exhausting experiences of my life. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything in the world. But I also want to look back and relish in the moments that I miss dearly through photographs.

And I want to be in them. I want to be a part of those frozen, happy memories.

So to all the moms, wives, and significant others. Forget the belly rolls, double chins, cellulite, and all the imperfections. Forget them. Find a stranger and ask them to take your family photo. Snag a passerby to snap a “just us” photo. But please, whatever you do, take the damn photo.

**Photos of “just us” taken in South Lake Tahoe by Jeena Caywood with Jeena C Photography.


Megan Rix Northern Nevada Moms
Megan Rix

Megan Rix is a former at-risk high school English teacher turned stay at home mama, lifestyle blogger, and entrepreneur. After leaving the classroom to focus on being a mama, she needed a place to document the life of her very strong-willed child and what she realized along the way were all the things in her life that “anchored” her. A love for food, beauty, family, and giving back to others helped shape the blog as it looks today.