How Can Photography Make You A Better Mom?
I hated babysitting when I was a kid and I have never really considered myself very good around children. It wasn’t a surprise to me that despite being excited to become a mother, I was also slightly terrified that I wouldn’t enjoy the experience.
So far, I’m delighted to report that motherhood is a whole lot more rewarding than I thought it was going to be.
It’s still super duper hard and frustrating, but I’m so in-love with Buzzy that it makes up for all the crummy parts.
To be frankly honest, I am really not a very fun person.
Even as a kid I chose practicing the piano and reading library books over normal childhood play. I was born ready to work and have been doing it ever since.
This means that anything crafty, playful, recreational, cutesy, or just plain restful, I don’t do well with AT ALL.
As in, I’m horribly bad at it.
I’ve got many glaring weaknesses in my mothering, but one of the biggest is “being fun”.
My brain is simply not conditioned to be playful. I don’t automatically think of fun things to do. I sort of get all tight in my stomach when the toys come out and make a mess or someone wants to make a fort and it’s going to mess up my nicely made bed.
One of the biggest adjustments I have had to make is in accepting that a large portion of my day will be dedicated to being the entertainment.
We don’t have a T.V. and Buzzy has no siblings. I also have this deep belief that I need to not only be available to Buzzy, but interactive with him as much as possible. If he was excited about discussing entrepreneurship, analyzing harmonic progressions of hymns, or content going on long contemplative walks, this would be no problem. Reality is, he’s 2 years old with a super sonic activity level.
One of the most important things that I have learned through this weakness so far is:
I must find a bridge between what my own interests are and what my child will enjoy as well. It needs to be fun for us both.
Music Time has been one fabulous solution so far. I love playing and singing songs with him and it serves that bridge well.
The second incredible solution has been photography.
Photography has the power to turn an activity that I would normally quickly lose interest in and participate in somewhat half-heartedly, into something that is not only really fun, but lives on, and helps me see potential in myself.
Yesterday it was raining. Drudgery. This means that we are stuck in the house and since I’m not fun I have nothing exciting planned. I improvised and went to the cabinet and found a package of party balloons and took one out thinking we could toss it around in the living room for a few moments till I thought of something better to do.
Turns out that was a really fun idea.
So I grabbed the tri-pod and camera and decided we could spend our rainy afternoon making a movie. We spend almost two hours tossing a balloon around. Buzzy had the best rainy afternoon of his life and I had a blast too. Thanks to photography. Without a “project” for me to be excitedly working on the balloon toss would have faded much more quickly.
I have become so grateful for photography in my family life. It’s not just about capturing memories, it’s about making them.
Photography, if approached correctly, can be an incredible vehicle for strengthening family relationships.
I’ve come a long ways just since January. My first video I approached with too much of the “serious brooke” and tried really hard to plan things out, dictate what should happen, issue orders, and try to create the perfect project. I have a few “deleted scenes” of me on video yelling and being a mean mom :( Those didn’t make the final cut, obviously :)
I’ve now since realized that the most important part of the experience is the experience itself.
Letting go of expectations, being playful, having fun, and excitedly seeing what Buzzy will naturally do on his own as things progress has been far more enjoyable and creatively effective.
The After Effect.
Once the images and video are edited and complete, I’ve been amazed at the eagerness Buzzy requests to watch them with over and over again. He’s always loved seeing pictures of himself, but watching video and hearing music truly help us relive those joyful experiences in a very sensory way.
Seeing my Potential.
I can imagine that a reader watching my video’s might think that this is the type of mom I am all the time. I wish this was true. I’d love to be constantly cheerfully playing and interacting without a care in the world. Truth is, I do these family projects as a personal excuse to FORCE me to have fun, but one of the amazing results has been how my view of myself and my family has changed through the experience.
No, I’m not typically fun. But the photos and video show me that I CAN BE. They help me see a better version of myself and show me that despite the self deprecating gremlins I live with, that I have it in me to be a good mom. They show me how much it means to Buzzy to have these experiences together.
So, even if i was only my ideal mothering self for two hours yesterday, at least that is two hours of additional practice under my belt. Now to see if I can up that practice amount to everyday and all day! A tiny bit at a time!
Watch The Video!
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Does photography make YOU more fun? Does photography make YOU a better parent? Tell me in the comments below!
Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. She lives in a hundred year old house with her delightful husband and wild 2 year old son. Her favorite moment of blogging is looking out the window and seeing wild chickens run through the neighbors yard while listening to Spanish Guitar music. It makes her think her life is more simple than it really is.
Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativityDid you like this post? Please share it!