Recently I’ve started lying to myself about how I’m going to start exercising more regularly. I’ve even started wearing yoga pants while I work in the hope that through some kind of sartorial osmosis I’ll tone up whilst at my desk. I make this confession because I know how it feels.
I know how it feels to think that you’re not quite the version of yourself that you’d really like to be, yet. I know that there’s always going to be more weight to lose, or a better haircut to have or an enviable wardrobe just waiting for us when we finally get the money/motivation/time to shop.
I do sympathise, and I do understand when you tell me that you would love to have more pictures of you with your kids, but you can’t step in front of a camera until you’ve lost 10kgs, fixed your roots and found a way to reliably photograph with just one chin.
But here’s the thing. Your kids don’t see you that way. When they look back on photos of you together they won’t say “ew what was mum wearing?” (well, they might, but it will be in a loving “I can’t believe skinny jeans were ever a thing” kind of a way). What they see is a parent that loves them fiercely. They’ll look at those photos and see honest moments of tenderness and fun and chaotic daily life.
I know this because that’s what I see when I look at pictures of my parents with me as a child. Those photos are a window to a time when I was small and they were the ones showing me the world. I look at those pictures and I think “look how young they were!”. Admittedly there are times when I also think “what in the sweet merciful crap were we wearing?” but even still I’m drawn to the memories and the glimpses of a time I can’t remember well enough on my own.
So that’s why it’s important to get in photos with your kids. Regardless of whether you need to hit the gym. Regardless of whether you only own one t-shirt you actually like. Regardless of whether your only option is a top-knot mum-bun because your hair hasn’t been washed in three days.
So I challenge you to stop making excuses. Take a picture with your kids. If you have a self-timer or a remote for your camera (and know how to use it) then do it! Or better yet, have someone else do it for you! And if you still need convincing, go and get that dusty old box of family pictures out from the wardrobe and look back at your own images of childhood. What stands out? What memories flood back? Wouldn’t you like to create a little time portal like that for your kids?
After all, you will never again be as young as you are today. There’s no better time to share the frame with the rest of your family and preserve the memories you’re making together right now, so that they can enjoy them in years to come.