With some trepidation, I read the recent Babble article by Holly Pevzner Picture Perfect? Could your photo obsession ruin family memories?. I felt guilty just thinking about it because I do carry my camera around more often than not. My children’s lives are well-documented through my blog and photos- via my DSLR and/or iPhone. (That those said photos have yet to be printed and only remain on my computer in many folders is another story.)
Holly wrote, “While I still desperately want my boys to be able to look through photo albums of their childhood and feel a deep sense of love and family, I also want them to remember that I ran into the cold Maine surf right beside them, that I danced the night away with them in my arms at their auntie’s wedding, and that I simply sat with them while they talked about cars and firemen and bugs. That I did not leave them to grab my camera — no matter how adorable they looked.”
I want that, too, and am trying to be better about putting the camera down. I struggle with it because I get so much enjoyment out of taking photos of my kids and then later editing and posting them. It’s kind of an art, or hobby. My camera has even been a tool I’ve used to “be” more in the moment. I’ll see something through the view finder that I didn’t notice before. I’ll snap a few quick shots and then put my camera away for the rest of the day. And often we’ll go on more creative adventures to places with good photo opportunities that we probably wouldn’t have gone to before.
I definitely find the more intentional and selective I am about the photos I take, better is the quality of the pictures and the moment. I understand for some moms this isn’t the case and maybe they are more obsessed with getting the picture JUST RIGHT. If that is you, maybe you can try weaning yourself off the lens for a couple outings, and even a whole day building up to a week at a time? See if that helps.
No matter if it’s picture-taking or checking email on your phone or watching a show or reading a book or whatever activity it might be that pulls you from being present at an important time with your family, it’s good to work on setting those things aside. But it’s also totally okay to do the things you enjoy for yourself when the time is right. I can still snap a few awesome shots real quick but need to remember to use it as an accessory and not the focus of my attention. But also, not every single moment that I am with my kids is sacred. Basically, I’m trying to find that balance of enjoying my hobby while remaining respectful to my children.
Give yourself (and others) some credit. You’ll know if it’s becoming an obsession and something you need to reign in. And if it is, then do it now and don’t wait until it’s too late because those moments are beautiful and fleeting. As a mom of a ten year old! I can speak from experience. The memory will always mean much more than the photograph.
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