The Writer Mom Chronicles: Hiding in Photos

Somehow, I’ve become one of those moms who really doesn’t want to be in photos with her kid. (The fact that I’m often the only one who can TAKE the photo notwithstanding!) When I was pregnant, I swore it would never happen to me and yet…

  • I see the double chin—which, let’s face it, is probably more hereditary than anything and yet it bugs me.
  • I see how WIDE I look. Me, the one who was always stick thin (with boobs) is wide.
  • I see the bottle arms. Zero shape no matter how strong they might be from carrying my child from room to room, schlepping car seats and bags of dog food.

I see the imperfections that were always there, well before this step into motherhood, and they bother me more now than ever before. The slightly ruddy nose, my habit of never really combing my hair, wearing the same “uniform” day after day of a blue promotional tee-shirt and whatever yoga pants were on hand that weren’t too tight.

And yes, before I’m reminded, I understand that my kid doesn’t see any of this. He sees his Momma, whom he loves.

And my husband is quick to say he sees the vibrant woman he married. She’s still there—and it’s easy to feel like me from inside my skin, looking out my eyes, when I’m far away from a mirror or camera.

But I still don’t like the woman I see in photos. She… surprises me. She doesn’t match up, not even close, to the mental image I’ve held of myself for so long.

Worst of all, I don’t know what I want to DO about it.

It took a full year after the c-section before I felt strong again. And yet, I know full and well that the muscles in my tummy aren’t strong—but they could be. We walk every day, at least a half a mile, usually closer to two miles, so I’m not a couch potato.

And yet…

I don’t want to live off of salads and chicken breasts. I don’t want to put makeup on every day to “look better.” The foundation and mascara take their own toll on my appearance in their own ways. I’m unwilling to wear more flattering (i.e. tighter and shapely) clothes when I’m a work-from-home entrepreneur.

So, where do I reconcile it all? Where’s the line between change and acceptance?

And most of all, do I want to be the invisible mom who isn’t in photos? What will it take to be seen? Even in photos that never leave our little family of three—what will it take for me to be happy to be in them, to see my assets and strengths instead of the huge physical changes motherhood has brought?

I have no answers. I have no plan. Only a solemn prayer:

Thank you God, for digital cameras!

Kim Galloway
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