Years ago, I decided that on Mother’s Day my kids had to sit for portraits with me. It was the only thing I insisted on for the day, and I knew my husband would make the kids do it for me. I loved the idea of getting a few precious portraits of the kids with me each year to celebrate how much I love being their mom. I envisioned looking back years later, cherishing the photos and memories that we had created around my special day.
It may have gone off without too much of a hitch that first year. I set up the camera exactly as I wanted it, and just asked my husband to press the shutter when we were ready. I got the kids dressed and we simply went out to the back yard. So easy!
But with each passing year, this wonderful tradition because such a chore. The kids hated having to sit for photos, and they would drag their feet, complain, and usually bicker with each other over details. My husband would get stressed because he knew that “simply pressing the shutter” was not as easy as I made it sound. I was never satisfied with the first few shots, and made him and the kids try again and again and again.
One year, one of the boys actually ran back into the house between takes to vomit! I’d like to think it was just a stomach bug and not the stress of the morning.
Each year got more and more difficult until I gave up.
I’m also sharing this story with you because it’s the WHY behind this post. May my own personal suffering bring solutions for the moms in my tribe!
(Is that a little too over-the-top melodramatic?)
Let me share with you THREE SIMPLE TIPS that can help you the next time you decide you want photos with your daughter (or any or all of your kids).
All the self-help books out there tell you to visualize what you want and you will achieve it. Dream big. Picture your perfect situation, down to the last perfect detail, and you’ll be that much closer to achieving it.
Ground yourself in reality and prepare yourself for what’s coming. Because it’s coming. The snarkiness, the eye rolling, the complaints. They’re all coming. Know this, and prepare yourself for it. Have a positive and gracious response for when she asks “WHY??? WHY do we need to do this? Why are you torturing me? Why do you need photos???” Have loving answers for when she says she has nothing to wear. Help her (or stay out of her way), and gently redirect her when she chooses that outfit that you really just hate.
Promise yourself that you’ll bring the good attitude so that your kids won’t have to. They’ll simply (hopefully) feed off of your positive energy and find the experience fun.
Beyond preparing mentally, it’s a great idea to prepare yourself in every other way. Don’t wait until the day of your photos to talk clothing, location, details. Talk to your daughter about the photos, and ask for her input on what to wear. Make sure she approves of what you’ve chosen for her to wear, or make sure you approve of what she’s chosen to wear. Decide together on a location, and keep it simple. You don’t need fancy, you just need good light.
Bottom line is, the more prepared you are beforehand, the smoother it will all go during.
I think this is the most important rule of all. Make an experience out of the outing, whether you splurge on hair and make up before, or grab coffee or lunch together afterwards. This does not have to break the bank, but if you attach something that your daughter would enjoy to this photo event (that you are dragging her to, remember), then you are creating a memory for her that she’ll love.
In fact, ask her to come up with the event. Coffee? Shopping? A movie? Or just a walk downtown together. Tell her you want to make this fun for her, and get her input.
This way, when you look at those photos later, you’ll remember the talk you had over coffee afterwards. You’ll remember how you laughed over dinner. You’ll remember good things.
That’s it! THREE SIMPLE TIPS to make portraits with your teen girl bearable- even potentially FUN!
And of course, the timing could not be better, as we’re just weeks from Mother’s Day. Are you going to try for photos? Do you think I should take my advice and try again? I’m thinking I will. But only if I use these tips.
Now I’ve given you TIPS AND A GUIDE! Happy Early Mother’s Day to you!
One more thing…
If it’s really gonna be that bad, and you want to just skip the attempt, call me.
Maybe I should have led with that tip!