You know how moms are really good at capturing dads being incredible dads? I see Zach doing the most normal things like walking with our kids on a nature trail and I'm like, BAM. Framer. I'm always ready to capture a moment because seriously. Just perfection.
My kids will never wonder if their dad was present in their lives because I have meticulously documented as many beautiful moments as I can. I've captured late night fussy baby couch sleeping adorableness and wrestling matches and baseball throwing and hot dog sharing and all of the seemingly meaningless moments that years from now will mean the world to us. But where am I in all these photos?
I always feel weird when I'm having a moment with the boys and I tell Zach to take a picture. It somehow feels less authentic if I want him to capture it, but why shouldn't I? I've had many a talk with him about trying to capture a candid moment of me and the kids from time to time, but he just doesn't think like that, and it's not a big enough deal for me to push it, but sometimes I just want photos of me and my kids to not look like fabricated selfies. Not that every moment has to captured, it really doesn't, and I do try to live in the moment and not for the moment's photograph-ability (is that a word?). But when I look through photos of the past three and a half years of motherhood and can only find a handful that I didn't throw a camera at Zach and say, "TAKE A PICTURE!", it irks me.
And it's not so much that I'm not in the photos. I know that when my kids look back at the photographs I'll one day print off for them, they'll see that I was totally obsessed with them and they'll get the unique experience of seeing what raising them was like from my point of view. Which I'm totally ok with it. I think that's pretty sweet.
What bothers me most is that I don't feel noticed. I see Zach snuggling with our boys and I take a photo of it, not because I want to share it with the world and shove it in everyone's face how adorable my family is, but because I want to remember that forever. I see him being an awesome dad and it gives me all the warm fuzzy feelings and I'm full of joy and pride and the only thing I can do is grab a phone or a camera and capture it. Somehow I think capturing it proves that what is happening is important. Zach's fatherhood is important. Snuggling our sick children is important. Teaching them to throw a baseball is important. Reading to them at bedtime is important. I see these things, I notice them, and so I capture them.
But surely, if it isn't captured in a photo, no one will remember that I was there snuggling and wrestling and reading too. The majority of my days are spent with just me and the boys. No one is there to see me and acknowledge how awesome I am and document it for the ages. So when I look back on photos of our family, and sometimes just in the day to day, I feel invisible. Does anyone see me?
Before you start calling me names, I already know that these are self centered and selfish thoughts. I'm not even going to pretend like they're pretty or even mature, but there they are. Sometimes I feel invisible. To my kids, to my husband, to the world. Which really shouldn't matter, since I didn't choose to be a mother so people would appreciate me. That would be hilarious if anyone actually thought that would happen. Motherhood is a mostly thankless job, but are we really invisible? I don't think so, but some days it really does feel that way.
Does it really matter, though, to be seen? Is that why we do the things we do in motherhood? Of course not. No one will ever see the day to day, seemingly meaningless things that we do with and for and because of our children. Very rarely will someone see and acknowledge the amazing sacrifice that is raising your children. But being "invisible" and the lack of recognition that accompanies it should never disqualify us from feeling like the awesome beasts of motherhood that we really are. Remember that the most important little eyes are watching you, learning from you, loving you, and seeing you. We are doing important work, mamas, and even if it goes without thanks and even if not a single candid moment is ever captured in our entire motherhood journey, we can still look back with confidence and say, "Yea. I did a good thing." So keep taking those fabricated selfies without guilt and keep raising those babies even though nobody is watching and praising all of the incredible things you do every day. (And yes, changing diapers and wiping snotty faces absolutely count as incredible.)
And sometimes, just sometimes...the husband nails the shot.