Mama, you’re tired. The days are long. The nights go by before you feel rested. You’re wondering when you’re going to have some time to take a shower or comb your hair…or drink a hot cup of coffee or enjoy a glass of wine.Your kids have newer, nicer clothes than you do and you may have been wearing the same loungewear for a week now (no judgment!). Your confidence is lacking. You may even feel like you’re not good enough. And finding the time to be with your significant other is nearly impossible. It’s hard to look at photos of yourself and feel beautiful, because, chances are, you spent your whole day making sure everyone else looked good and felt better. You do all the things for all the people…except yourself.But, to all those people, you are their world.
I’ve been talking to other moms about this very topic. Moms have so many things in common. We love fiercely and we give all of ourselves to our kids and our spouses. Most of us feel like our mom bun and yoga pants just aren’t attractive enough to let the world see. Social media doesn’t help either. In the world of social media, where nearly everything you see and read is only half true, it’s hard to feel like your life even remotely compares to that other mom who was able to get out of bed, head to the gym, take a shower, dry AND curl her hair, and put on a full face of makeup all before 9am.
But let me tell you something, those moms are self-conscious too.
I’ve been thinking a lot, recently, about the photos of my mom and grandma that I have. I wonder how they felt about themselves the day the photo was taken. I’m sure they were tired. I’m sure they were wishing they had more time to fix their hair or put on makeup or find an outfit that looked and felt good.
I bet they have looked back on photos of themselves and cringed. But I see NONE of that when I look at them. I see beautiful women who have sacrificed so many things to make other people happy. I look at photos of them and my mind is flooded with memories and stories from my past.
And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Think about it. How do you feel when you see photos of your mom from your childhood?
“I feel like a kid again.”
“I see a beautiful woman who makes me so proud.”
“My favorite photos of my mom aren’t Sears portraits. They are the ones where she’s doing little things like fixing my Easter Hat.”
“When I look at her smile I feel peace, and I am always transported back to a time when I was little and under her wing.”
“I feel happy for the memories. I miss her!”
“So happy. She had orange, fluffy hair. She always looked like she was having fun.”
“I feel like I’m taken back in time. My grandma was the heart and soul of our tiny family and she passed a few years ago. So when I see photos with her in them it takes me back to a time when our family was connected and I feel that connection again.”
“I wish I had more photos with my mom. When I see photos with her as young or younger than I am now, I can identify myself in her or relate to her more. I feel nostalgia too.”
“My grandma had a big family with lots of grandkids-so when I think og her I just envision her sitting in her chair with all the chaos and loudness going on around her and her twiddling her thumbs ad just soaking it all in. She was a kind, tender-hearted lady. I have many fond memories of her. She used to always have icecream sandwiches in her freezer and we (the grandkids) would either have to brush her hair, take out her curlers, or rub lotion on her feet to get one.”
“I feel like it was such a different time and they make me feel like there is so little stress in them. Also that she was so hot!”
This all came about one night when I realized that so many moms HATE photos of themselves. So, I asked my daughter how she felt when she looked at photos of me. She has a lot of photos in her room of me, so I pointed to one and asked, “how does that photo make you feel?” She said “I feel joyful. You look like a beautiful princess and you love me SO much!” In my eyes, there were about 10 things I could’ve pointed out that I hate about myself. They’re all physical, though. My girl sees her mom. She sees the woman who holds her when she needs held. She sees the woman who bathes her, cooks for her, cuddles her, dresses her, and laughs with her. She doesn’t see my mom bun and sweatshirt. She doesn’t see my chipped nail polish.
So I decided to ask other kids how they feel when they see a photo of their mom.
“Good. I love it.”
“I feel happy when I see her!”
“She looks like me.”
“I love her!”
“She’s the best!”
“I can see how much she loves me.”
“It makes me smile.”
” I like photos with you in them more than I like photos of just myself.”
Your kids don’t care about your mom bun or what you’re wearing.
They don’t see all of that. They just see their mom.
And one day, years from now, they’ll be sitting in their home with their own kids telling stories about you. They’ll want photos to go with those stories.
To the women that do all the things for all the people, I challenge you to ask your kids how they feel when they see photos of you. I guarantee they’ll say things like “you’re beautiful and strong and joyful.” You’re so many things to so many people.
So next time you feel like putting yourself down about a photo, ask yourself how YOU feel when you see a photo of your mom.
Then take another photo for your kids to have when they’re your age.