When Channing was about 2 months old I posted an Instagram picture of the two of us. I didn’t really think anything about it because I’d been posting pictures basically non-stop since she was born. But a friend made a comment on the picture about how nice it was to “finally see mom too!” I stopped and thought, I post pics all the time…what does she mean? Then I realized that I wasn’t in any of the pictures I’d been posting with my daughter. I had been so focused on her sweet little nose, her soulful eyes, and capturing her big feelings that I had forgotten to include myself in her world. My timeline looked like someone had left an infant on a playmat, in a stroller, and in her crib all alone. There are only a few pictures of the two of us when she was a newborn. In our world of media saturated pictures that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it also made me very sad.
I have a lot of pictures with my mom from when I was a baby. I know she took a bunch because she loved showing me off. And who could blame her? I love looking back at the pictures of us. I can see how happy my mom was to be a mom. In every picture we are both grinning from ear-to-ear. She clearly took the time to pick out the perfect outfits and couldn’t wait to be in the picture with me. Taking family pics is one of my favorite memories with my mom. Kind of cheesy I know. But I’m a little more cheesy since having my daughter so let’s all just embrace that right now. When I realized I was missing from a lot of Chan’s pictures, I made a mental note to try to be in more. Then promptly ignored that note and continued for the next year to only take pictures of her. And sometimes daddy. I let myself fall to the sidelines as a historian, snapping away during the first few months of her life.
This isn’t a trend that’s particularly unique to me. In fact since I started Motherhood in Hollywood I’ve been immersed in the world of mommy blogs, mommy clothing lines, mommy DIY, Pinterest etc. All my social media feeds are filled with pictures of kids and no moms. Food and no moms. Crafts and no moms. I know they’re there because they are the ones creatively posing the kids and writing posts. Where have all the moms gone? It seems everyone is so focused on making their children the center of attention, they forget to include themselves in the picture. Is it because we’re self-conscious about the way we look? I know early on that was an issue for me. Partly because I was so worn out from my c-section, and feeling all gross and fat. I just wanted all the focus to be on this amazing little creature and I forgot to include myself in some of our celebrations and moments. Did anyone else feel like that? I know that sounds crazy since I’m also an actor and practically beg to be put in front of a camera. But it’s different when it’s your kid. You want everyone to see this beautiful person and moms tend to stay on the sidelines. Now that tiny time in her life has passed and I can’t get those months back to capture us as mother and daughter for posterity.
I was lucky enough to have my friend Kelly who is a photographer come by and take endless pictures with us when Chan was about 10 days old. But for the remainder of that first year, I mostly hid behind the camera. Now I’m tentatively stepping back in front of it. I’m trying to embrace my curves, fat flaps and all because I want her to be able to look back on our digital photo album and not have her say, where’s my mom? Or think that I was uncomfortable with the way I looked so I skipped out on fun family pics. That doesn’t mean I’ll be in all the pictures like the star that I am. I just means I’ll remind myself to be a part of her life. Not just photograph it.
I’d love to see pictures with you and your kids! Share them with me here or on the Motherhood in Hollywood Facebook page and let’s celebrate keeping mom in the picture!