Do you feel bad for not capturing milestones or family pictures? Here’s why you shouldn’t feel guilty for not taking photos of your kids.
I don’t post pictures of my kids on this blog. But how’s this for a (not-so) surprise: You won’t find me taking many photos of them in general.
Of course, in these modern times, this is all relative. My computer houses thousands of pictures, from the everyday to special outings. You’ll see me whip out my phone and snap a picture during our outings. And compared to the handful of my own baby photos, any number of photos I take these days is plenty enough.
Still, I realize I miss out on many photo opportunities, especially compared to other parents.
I never started those cute “first day of school” photo traditions (just a regular one taken on a phone with pretty bad lighting). We haven’t taken professional photos of any of the kids other than for school pictures. And we hardly have any photos of the five of us together.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty for not taking photos of the kids
With enough of this thinking, the guilt starts creeping in. Am I missing out on memories? Should I be taking more photos of special milestones? Do I need to schedule a family photo before the kids grow up too fast?
It doesn’t help when you scroll through social media and see the opposite. The monthly snapshots of the baby’s birthday or the endless vacation photos.
Personally, this guilt is fleeting, because I realize why I don’t take too many photos of my kids. It’s certainly not for lack of love, that’s for sure. And if you find yourself feeling bad, these reasons can reassure you otherwise.
Take a look at why you shouldn’t feel guilty for not taking photos of your kids. As one parent said about the article:
“Thank you so much for this. I’m been completely beating myself up for two whole days because I only have a handful of pictures from my daughters 4th birthday. I didn’t get any pictures of her playing with her friends and I’m just so sad I can’t have pictures to look back on. This is so helpful to know that the memories don’t need to be a painful reminder that I didn’t take pictures but they can be good.” -Jessica Johnson
1. It’s hard to take photos of or with kids
“It was a horrible photo session,” a friend vented a few years ago. She had spent part of the weekend taking her family to a photo studio for portraits. “The photographer was running late, my kids were getting fussy, and I was in such a bad mood!”
Then she showed me a few of the photos. “At least it worked out in the end,” she said.
Looking at her family portraits, you would never imagine the hassles she had gone through. Instead, all you saw were four people in matching clothes, smiling like all was well.
You see, a huge reason you shouldn’t feel guilty is the practicality of taking photos in the first place. It’s hard taking photos of kids, with kids, and especially as a family. Kids squirm and protest, get tired of being told to smile and look at the camera, and would rather do other things than pose for a photo.
Of course, you’d never know any of this just by looking at a family portrait. Don’t assume that everything was “picture perfect” based on what you see.
Free email challenge: Feeling stuck in motherhood? Want to enjoy raising your kids again? Join my newsletter and sign up for the Motherhood Motivation 5-Day Challenge! You’ll get one actionable tip a day that can make you think (and act) about motherhood differently:
2. You miss out on the moment
I remember one happy moment with my family around the dining table, years ago. We weren’t doing anything grand—we weren’t even eating. My husband held one of the twins on his lap while I had the other on mine, and our eldest was sharing stories.
While there wasn’t any special occasion to justify bringing out the camera, I still could’ve pulled it out. That would’ve cemented this moment in memory. What better way to relive it than to see it “paused” as a photo?
But doing so would’ve meant getting up from my seat and rummaging through my purse to find my phone. The moment would’ve been interrupted.
So instead, I committed the memory to mind, happy to have lived it even if I couldn’t record it.
Imagine a simple outing like going to the park interrupted by a series of, “Look here!” and “Smile!” and “Say cheese for the camera!” I don’t want my kids to pause their life for so many pictures, especially when they’re having fun. Life isn’t measured in photos.
Of course, I still take photographs and videos (and enjoy looking through them with the kids). But I prize enjoying the moment above all.
3. Some pictures aren’t worth it
Several families, including children, found a baby shark along the shores. Rather than setting it free, they continued to take selfies with it, oblivious about endangering the shark. They needed to snap that cool photo they could share with others.
That might be an extreme example, but I don’t want my kids to lose sight of what’s important, all in the name of taking a photo.
We’re so caught up with documenting our lives that we forget at what cost. In one extreme, it’s a shark’s life. And on the other end, maybe it’s simply the ability to be. To enjoy a beautiful hike or a joyful game of cards, without the visual proof of a photograph.
And so, I take my camera out when I can. That usually means when my phone is nearby, or when I actually remember to take a photo. I don’t berate myself for not having taken a photo of every milestone.
And the slight twinge of regret of not recording a special moment is swept away by the memory of it in my mind.
I’m not Super Mom. I don’t do crafts with my kids every day or decorate for every holiday. And no, I also don’t take many photos of my kids. For me, that’s okay. Yes, it’s great if I’m able to capture these moments, but no sweat if I don’t, either. Because I’ll know that at least I had lived them.
Read these next:
- These Are the Things Your Kids Will Remember About You
- 7 Effective Ways to Handle Parent Burnout
- How to Entertain Your Baby
- On Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood
- 6 Surefire Ways to Stop Feeling Like an Overwhelmed Mom
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and sign up for the Motherhood Motivation 5-Day Challenge below: