Dear sweet mama,

Please step out from behind the camera. Pass the camera to a friend or loved one. Or, if needed, a complete stranger.

I get it, precious mama, I really do. I have five little ones of my own.

We mamas are FULL of excuses when it comes to being in front of the lens:

If I could just lose 10 more pounds.
Oh, but I didn’t have time to put on any makeup.
Maybe in just a little while.
Look at me! Have you seen my hair?
That’s OK. I’ll take the picture! You get in there!

You see, I have more pictures than I care to count stored on my computer. But, the sad thing, the thing I noticed more than anything else? 

Just how much a part of my little ones’ lives I am—but just how absent I was from our photos of them.

It got to me, forcing me to really take a look at myself. And why I was so hesitant to be “present” in those priceless photographed memories.

So, I sucked it up and decided to start diving into the scenes with our precious girls.

Because, honestly, beautiful mamas, who are these pictures really for?

If they are for you, your family, your memories . . . then, why all the fuss?

Yes, we probably spend 80 percent of our time in yoga pants, oversized tops and our hair in a knot.

But, if that is “you” then why do your sweet little ones need to remember you in a made-up, pristine way?

If they are simply for social media, then, maybe just take a minute to review some personal priorities. Because, our “private” does not always need to be everyone else’s “public”.

Those memories? They are ours. Especially those that remind us of those days knee-deep in the trenches of motherhood.

Reminding us, just how much . . . 

We sacrifice.
We give.
We pour from ourselves.
Into teeny-tiny beings.
Into school-aged beings.
Into growing-into-adult beings.

Reminding us, just how often . . . 

We wear dirt.
Spit-up.
Last night’s macaroni and peanut butter.
Juice box stains.
And yesterday’s hoodie.

Reminding us, just how much a part of their lives we are. As a cheerleader. A nurse. A dance-instructor. A chef. A secret-keeper. Potty-trainer. Hair-stylist. Lifeguard.

I get it, weary mamas.
Getting in front of the camera?
It means being vulnerable.
And that’s uncomfortable for anyone.

We look tired.
Because we are tired.
To our core.

We don’t wear makeup.
Because we don’t always have time.
Because we hardly ever put ourselves first.
Because that’s just our season of life right now.

We always say how we would do “anything in the world” for our precious beings. But, when it comes to the one thing that will provide them with a keepsake for the rest of their lives? Why are we so quick to shy away?

It doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t bear any extra burden.

Simply memories.
Beautiful.
Messy.
Heartbreaking.
Over-the-moon, joyful.
Memories.

Because in the wake of every passionate mama’s trail, every career-driven, family-raising, selflessly-giving mama, lies a life unseen by the rest of the world. A backstage existence. One very few ever witness. A mother, creating the background, the stage work, building the scenery of life’s path for all those around her.

And that mama—she deserves to be seen.

It only takes a minute, precious mamas, to step out from behind the scenes—and to put on the only accessory you need to show your incredible beauty, your hard work, your pride, your joy, your glow.

One thing, and one thing only:

Your smile.

Because your unconditional love will take care of the rest.

You may also like:

The Reason My Husband Cropped Me Out of This Picture Broke My Heart

He Took the Picture—and I Hated it

This is Why Moms Are So Exhausted

Liz Spenner

Liz is a former elementary teacher and now a stay-at-home mama to five little ones. She writes as an inspiration to other women, and most especially mothers on her blog, at www.simplycomplexmom.com. Liz loves spending with her family, outside as often as possible, as well as sneaking a few moments to herself with a run, dark chocolate or cup of tea.