Have you ever wondered what the best time of the day is for taking photos of yourself? Maybe you’ve even Googled it. Is it after a spa day, after a 30-day diet, after a great night of sleep? When is that secret picture perfect moment for moms? As a photographer, I can give you that answer. But first, I want to share a story.
A female athlete was being interviewed about health, wellness, and body image. She shared a memory of her mother from when she was a young girl. She said, “I will never forget the moment I learned that my mother was ‘fat.’ She was messing with her hair in the mirror, then grabbed at her stomach and said, ‘Wow I’m so fat. I need to lose some weight.’” It wasn’t until that very moment that her daughter even contemplated her mother’s size or shape. Up until then, she viewed her mother as a perfect, beautiful superhero.
It’s easy to tell our incredible children that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. We see it day in and day out. Their sparkly spunky personalities, the sweet things they say and do, the wheels turning as their little brains are growing and developing. And heck, physically they have all the collagen a mama dreams of! Not to mention their well rested, bright eyes and perfect complexion. We easily see their beauty. Without doubt, we believe that God created them perfectly, and we tell them this often.
But what are we communicating when we mutter hateful things about our own bodies under our breath? What do we teach our kids when they overhear us telling our hubbies how we can’t stand the extra weight we are carrying? What are we reflecting when they see us glare in the mirror in disgust because the fine lines and dark circles are bugging us? Or when we talk on the phone with a friend about how desperately we need a new cream for our adult acne (guilty!). The truth is, we teach our kids much more than we think.
Do we believe we are fearfully and wonderfully made? Do we believe that we are spectacularly stunning mamas? And with that in mind, do we confidently snap photos with our kiddos? The harsh truth is our actions and words reflect our beliefs. The things we say about ourselves around our kids matter just as much as what we tell them directly, maybe more. If my daughter hears me saying negative things about my appearance, that contradicts the powerful truth that I am beautiful because my Creator says I am. And I never want my children to doubt their appearance or their innate beauty.
Photographing families brings me so much joy. Sadly, more times than not, the mamas are very self-conscious. Some ask to be placed behind others, or stress out about their wardrobe. Some mamas don’t want photos taken of them at all. But meanwhile, right now our kids are as little as they will ever be again! We want to enjoy these days because they fly by and the only thing to keep our kids small are photos. Photos that we can take with us now and have later to treasure. Twenty years from now, we don’t want to pull out an album to find tons of pictures of our adorable babies who have grown up…but not have a single picture of us with them!
It is so amazing that our kids love us no matter what. No matter our size, shape, bad hair months (thanks, quarantine!), tired eyes, etc. Our kids see us as perfect superheroes who care for them through all of life’s ups and downs. They love us fully, because we are their mamas. Likewise, our Heavenly Father created us in his image, and he says we are fearfully made. Did you know some synonyms for fearfully are exceptionally and remarkably? That’s us, remarkably and exceptionally made!
So here is the secret to when to take the best pictures: The best time to take photos of us is … right now. Right now, while our kids are still kids! Freeze these precious memories, while also building confident kids who truly believe in their own beauty. And next time you look in the mirror, remember to smile! You are beautifully and wonderfully perfect, just the way you are.
Sarah Gonzalez is a stay-at-home mom who loves Jesus and caring for her two young children. She loves date nights and walks with her husband, and using creativity and humor through artistic outlets like writing and photography. You can learn more about her photography business at Sarah Gonzalez Photography.