The Best Mother’s Day Gift
On Sunday morning, I looked at myself in the mirror. “Urgh,” I thought. “Another 15 pounds need to go.” Generally I have a rule of avoiding eye contact with all the body enhancements provided by age, pregnancy and my love of cheese. But today, I was going into the studio for a photo shoot with Baby and my fatty friends reared their ugly little heads, especially as we were planning to do some very artsy topless shots.
I have a lot of beautiful photographs of my daughter. I have a lot of beautiful photographs of Baby with James. But because I’m usually behind the lens, my presence in these photos is felt, but not seen, like a ghost. On James’ iPhone case, he has a fantastic photograph of Baby and him from her first birthday shoot. She’s beaming with her big, beautiful smile and James looks pretty hot, too, if I do say so myself. Every time he shows it off, I feel a twinge of jealousy, thinking how much I’d like a great, recent photo of my darling girl and me (aside from the one at our newborn shoot). Last week, I decided it was time to stop being the ghost and get in front of the lens. We needed some photographs to promote Mother’s Day for the studio, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to overcome my fear of being photographed. After all, how can I tell other mothers that they should be photographed with their children if I wasn’t willing to do it myself?
Growing up, I regularly heard maxims like, “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” We always seemed to have diet food in the house: low-fat butter, low-fat mayo, low-fat cheese, low fat cookies – everything low fat. It was as though we believed that we could eat as much low fat food as we wanted and we wouldn’t gain weight. I used to order low-fat pizza with pepperoni, for heaven’s sake. Of course, now we know that all that low-fat food isn’t good for us (which I could have told you anyway because I swear those low-fat potato chips killed my pet cockatiel, who liked to snack on them).
So it’s no surprise that, like many people, I’ve grown up with body issues. I never have been satisfied with my body – the only exception being when I was pregnant and everything suddenly seemed to be in proportion. Other than that, I’ve always hated my legs and hips. I used to like my stomach, until I gave birth. I’ve even fallen out with my neck, which now has visible lines on it.
I recently found a brochure from my junior high school, for which I had agreed to “model” for the front cover. The modelling involved wearing my soccer kit, walking down a path with another student in her softball kit and another in her track & field kit. My legs were plainly visible. And you know what? They didn’t look that bad.
They didn’t look bad enough for me to spend hours obsessing about my body as a young girl. Or disgusting enough for me to cry over them. Or gross enough for me to subject myself to inedible, cockatiel-killing diet food. They looked like…legs.
And I know that when I look back on the photos from Sunday’s shoot with Baby, I’m going wonder what I was so het up about. My future self will most likely kill to look like my today self. So I should just enjoy it while I can.
My shoot with Baby went really well and we had so much fun. She spent most of it running around the studio like a naked crazy thing, playing with all our studio props. I’m so happy with the images we captured and I’m excited that I now have a great photo to put on my iPhone cover.
So, the point is, this Mother’s Day, my sincere advice to you is to celebrate by being photographed with your little ones, whether they are just snaps or professional images. One day, when we’re gone, I can promise you that the last thing our children will think when looking at photos of us is that we’re a little chubby. What they’re going to think is, “That’s my mummy.”