So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I’m always taking pictures and videos of my kids. In fact, at this rate, I don’t really need the scrapbooks I bought but still haven’t put together, because my phone has their entire lives captured—the good, the cute, and the ugly (filming the tantrum is fun sometimes, no?).

I just want to capture it all. Save it. Savor it.

I often think they will love watching themselves live their lives one day.

One day, they will want to know how they were when they were little. One day they will need some candid footage for their wedding videos, or graduation slideshows.

I will have all the candid moments ready for them. I will be the mom driving the photographer crazy with the thousands of photos I’d like to use.

“But she is just so cute here trying broccoli for the first time. We HAVE to use this photo!”

I can hear myself now.

I also take videos and pictures of them playing together, reading books, and roughhousing with their dad. There are lots of videos of them with their dad. Sweet pictures of kisses, experiences, and tender moments I make sure to capture.

But me? Well, I’m just the voice. I’m the narrator of the video. I’m the one making the face or smiling big or saying the thing that makes them do the thing I need to catch on camera.

Why am I only the voice? It’s not because my husband doesn’t try. He does! But I love to say, No let me video it! Or, No I’m not dressed today! Or, Gosh I look horrible, don’t get me in the shot!

I do this because somehow, I’ve let the emphasis of capturing the picture or video to transform from catching a precious moment to portraying a precious moment perfectly.

Somehow, I’ve let social media make me feel like I’m unworthy of being in front of the camera unless I can live up to some idealized image of what I think I am supposed to look like in those moments.

I can assure you the candid, special moments don’t happen when I’m perfect. Nope!

I’m usually in yoga pants, with air-dried hair, and no makeup to hide my tired eyes.

So no, I don’t want to be in the video.

No, don’t show me on camera.

Let me be the one BEHIND the camera. I’m safe there.

Recently, a friend sent an old video she had found of my mom when she was about my age. She was playing in a parents’ basketball game with her friends. She was young and thin and super cute as she bounced down the court in her biker shorts and t-shirt. Her hair was in a ponytail, she didn’t look like she had any make-up on, and she was laughing. She was having so much fun!

My mom wasn’t trying to be perfect. She probably didn’t even know she was being filmed. She was just being involved with her kids, participating in our lives, being in the moment with her friends, and enjoying life.

I watched the video over and over. It was only a minute long. A small clip of a not-so-important day, but I watched it again and again because I loved seeing my mom like that.

She was cheerful, free, energized, and not giving a damn about how she looked on camera. She looked happy, and it made me feel happy to see her happy in that moment in time.

Seeing that video made me realize how much my kids will one day want to see me, too. They will want to see me from before they really remember me. They will want to watch me hold them and make funny faces. They will want to see me as I rock them and feed them their dinner. They will pay attention to how I move and smile and if I seem happy around them.

They will want to see me because they won’t remember me in these moments. If they hear my voice speaking behind the camera, they will yearn to see me. My unwashed hair and no-makeup face won’t matter to them if I seem happy.

I am happy. So they deserve to have the preserved proof of that bliss.

I’ve decided it’s time to stop caring. It is time to stop pushing the phone out of my face when my husband tries to capture the moments. I need to stop redoing the picture to show “my better side”. Or posting up in picture position, instead of just smiling as I am.

It’s time to remember to just be in the moment because that is all the picture and videos are trying to capture in the first place. It’s time to know that it’s not how I look that my children will notice first, but how I delight in them that will bring them joy.

It’s time to let go and let love shine through. It already does in my heart, my pictures should let the world know.

You may also like:

The Family Photo That’s Always Worth Getting

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

To The Moms Who Take Too Many Pictures: Keep It Up

Nicole Schoolfield

Nicole has gone from marketing to mommy-hood! She has one little one and another one the way! She loves all things that inspire each of us to live our best life possible. Her blog, The Extraordinary Day, has more on self-improvement, spirituality, and mommy life. You can also find her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.  

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

The Secret to Slowing Down Time Is to Notice the Moments You’re Living In

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear current self, You’ve heard a lot of mothers admonish you to slow down and enjoy every moment with your children. They’ve warned you with phrases like “before you know it,”  “in the blink of an eye,” and other cliché’s that haven’t really hit you, but they will. Soon, they will. I am writing you now because I’ve seen you trying to wrap your mind around the how-to—as if holding time in your hand is a skill anyone has successfully mastered. I’ll save you the suspense. It can’t be done. It is inevitable. Your kids are going to grow up....

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Celebrate a Holiday Just Because It’s On the Calendar

In: Kids, Living

I switched on the computer, adjusted my chair, then quickly swiveled back around again toward my husband, “Are you sure? You don’t mind?” “Me?” he made a swift waving motion as if swatting a fly. “Psht. Yeah, I’m fine with it. You?” He lifted his head and locked our eyes a little more securely, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said firmly, without hesitation. “OK, good,” my man turned back to his phone, “Love you.” “Good,” I confirmed. A rush of relief swept through me as muscles I didn’t even know were tense suddenly relaxed. A bubbling surge of energy had...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising Wild Boys

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy and toddler smiling at each other, color photo

Yesterday my boys (two and eight) were playing outside in our cul-de-sac—running, yelling, tackling each other . . . all the normal stuff. One of the neighbor moms was out as well, looking on as her son joined the fray.  “I need to send him over to your house for a week or two,” she joked, “so he can get more in touch with his boyness.”  “No, you don’t want to do that. My boys are wild things,” I quickly replied. And I wasn’t joking. My sons are rough, tough, primal beings.  Moments before this conversation, my oldest was ramming...

Keep Reading

A Big Move Brings Big Emotions For Little Kids—Here’s How to Help Them Cope

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

It doesn’t matter how outgoing or funny or charismatic your kids might be, the possibility of uprooting their little lives and relocating to a new city is terrifying for any parent. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s an idea that feels almost insurmountable.  But when my husband got a job offer we couldn’t refuse, we packed up the car and drove our two kids (eight and four) west from Pennsylvania to the great state of Arizona. The decision weighed heavily on me, and I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of mom guilt that followed. But as I’ve...

Keep Reading

My Kids May Never Be Professional Athletes, But They’ll Be Strong, Confident Adults Because of Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tween boy playing hockey, color photo

I have pivoted 180 degrees over the last few years on one major bone of contention in our household of four, which includes two sporty kids who love ice hockey and baseball: the rationale behind our, in my opinion, excessive expenditure of resources on our sons’ youth sports careers, and whether this makes any sense.  Neither of them is NHL or MLB bound. Or at least the chances, statistically, are extremely minuscule. And yet, we have directed an inordinate amount of our life savings as well as our precious time to not only club sports, but also private lessons, to...

Keep Reading

Food Allergies Won’t Stop Her—How My Daughter Is Teaching Me to Be Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear daughter, I know sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever do normal things without me hovering over you. Double and triple-checking your snack labels and drilling you about whether your allergy meds are packed and ready. It’s a lot for you to carry, physically and emotionally. But you’re so strong, sweet girl. Flexible, too. You can do this because you were built for it. And someday, someday, you’ll see it: that this story is yours because you carry it with grace. You don’t complain much, and when you do, you follow it up with a wise comment, saying this sort...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections