I’m cradling my youngest on the kitchen floor in case she throws up again. I’m asking for the fourth time that my oldest stop taking photos and give me my phone back. I’m prepping shirts for our tie-dye project. I’m pulling up my pants after using a museum bathroom. I’m trying to get some work done on the computer. I’m getting a haircut. I’m doing the dishes. I’m completely exhausted and can’t possible LOOK AT THIS one more time. All of these moments have something in common.
All of these are moments in which my daughter has snapped a candid photo of me. Only when I look through my phone or my camera at these random photos do I really give much thought to how my daughters see me. I don’t often consider how I look. I don’t own any makeup and am not one to accessorize much. But beyond how I look or dress, I have considered even less how they really see me. I often feel invisible as I ask for the fourth time with no response if they’d like waffles or pancakes for breakfast. It’s easy to fall into the habit of running through life on routines when you have two little kids. It’s easy to be on autopilot, not giving a second thought to all those exasperated sighs and eye rolls that make up motherhood.
So this is a call to action for myself. I ‘d like to keep my body language and my facial expressions in mind (and maybe in check) more often. That being said, I certainly don’t want to spend my whole life with a fake smile on my face. I want my children to know that life isn’t always easy but I don’t want them to think they are the cause of any of my less than happy feelings. I want them to know when they’ve upset me by hitting or kicking me or each other, but I don’t want them to know when I am upset with their dad over something petty.
I don’t want my oldest to see me rolling my eyes when she tries to push her way into my lap because she’s jealous I’m holding the baby. I don’t want my youngest to see me washing dishes and scowling at the mess that was left behind. I want the memories we make to be cherished. I don’t ever want them to think they were a burden to us. Parenting is hard work, but most great things require hard work.
* All photos taken by my preschooler.