Monday, October 28, 2013

The Truth About Family Pictures {Mindful Mothering Mondays}

I dug through the bin of baby clothes I had pulled out from under my bed.  Family pictures in less than an hour and Rosemary had upset the delicate balance of kind of but not quite matching clothes I had puzzled together for everyone to wear by having an accident all over the first outfit I put her in.

I've been here before.

Back when Jonah was a baby, we made it all the way to the photographer's studio before he rendered his clothing unwearable, and ended up wearing another random outfit I found in the bottom of the diaper bag.  Babies are incredibly unpredictable in this department.  Second only to the toddlers who refuse to stand still.  Ah yes, I've been here before.

Sometimes I'll look through the many photos of family on the internet and feel downright defeated.  Gorgeous mothers, handsome fathers.  Well groomed, smiling children in impeccably clean matching clothing.  Doing cute things like holding hands in a line, or hugging eachother as their parents kiss - the very picture of family bliss.

My friend and photographer Bre'Anna can tell you how a photoshoot with my 6 crazies goes down.  We get to the location and they scatter - running here and there and everywhere.  Every few moments we pin them down for a solid half second to stand in one place before they race off again.  It is stressful.  It's hard.  It's more than a little irritating.  We get them lined up and Peter refuses to look at the camera.  Scrolling through the photos she sends me, most of them are of the top of his head.

All I wanted was one good snap of the whole family together.  Something I could pin on my Grandma's wall in her bedroom, something I could give to all the aunts and uncles that have been so loving and supportive of us.  An updated photo for my Dad's office.  Something to send down to Virginia to the family we love so much and don't get to see nearly as often as we'd like.  Something for the people who know the real us and know that the neat family in the photo pales in comparison to our loud and rowdy real selves.

That's it, isn't it?  That even those perfect family photos where everyone is bathed in a glow of happy togetherness, those photos still pale in comparison to real life.  Real us.  Real moms who, before this photo, haven't had a chance to put on makeup for a solid month because the stuff of life is more.  Real kids, like my four year old who prefer to spend the day shirtless -- yes even in October.  Real babies who won't keep headbands on and real toddlers who just want to hunt for bugs and not stand still for a silly family photo.  Real life is more glorious than bribing a line of children to hold hands and look sentimental.

Maybe that's the thing to remember when we see beautiful family photos that make your heart sink - if only a little.  That the snap of that moment in time is a millisecond compared to the hours it took to get them ready, and the tears that erupted just afterward.  The mess they left at home and the bribes just off camera.  We tend to look at photos and think that is how people live their entire lives - when the truth is the real life of the subject contains much more mess - and much more beauty - than a photo could ever convey, no matter how talented your photographer.

I love family photos.  I love looking through these shots and seeing the smiles on the faces of the people I love the very best.  I also love knowing about the amazing life that takes place where cameras don't follow.  And that everyone has a real, raw story.

{It's Mindful Mothering Mondays, a day to take a deep breath and write out your mothering journey, whatever form it takes.  A day to link up for encouragement from others who are in this same phase of life.  A day of writing out the trials and triumphs and what you're learning right where you are, right now. 

You might post recent struggles or thoughts.  Maybe just a picture or a quote.  Or maybe you'll just come here and read the links that others post.  Whatever form your participation takes, this is a day for you.
We are all in this, together.  Together, we can encourage and build one another up, be honest with our shortcomings and strengthened by community to keep fighting the good fight.

I chose Mondays because what Mama doesn't need a little encouragement on a Monday? As such, I'll have the link up ready to go on Sunday night for you to begin submitting your links.

I hope you'll meet with me each Monday!  Here's what to do ~

Link up your post below.  Remember to put the link to the exact post you want to link, and not just your blog url. Include in your post a link back here so others who want to join in can find us!  And visit some other Mamas who have linked up.

Post the community graphic within your post, so people who are reading your Mindful Mothering post can come back here and find the rest of us!

Invite the writers of your favorite blogs to join in!

Share this meme with others on facebook and twitter.  This community is for all moms, and the more that participate, the more we will be able to enjoy!!}

Grab the graphic here:


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  1. i love all these. they are so, so sweet.

  2. Some beautiful pics of a beautiful family :)

  3. How have I only just found your blog? Can't wait to dig into more. (I came over from Ginny's.) And you're in the HIgh Calling network too. :) I love that that romper.

  4. Can I come over and squeeze her? She is precious! Thats the good and bad about knitting for babies - it goes quick but they grow just as fast!

  5. Don't feel too badly about not knitting enough, it sounds like you've been busy! I haven't picked up my knitting needles since the beginning of this year which is crazy. I'm a fan of the Milo vest, it's just so quick and easy to do. Happy knitting!


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