As new parents you might be tempted to try and capture every moment with your new baby. This is true of almost every parent – even those of us who had babies before smart phones were ever invented! (I know, I know… I’m old.)
I’m putting this in writing for the sake of my two younger children – it’s not that I care any less for them. But if you were to look around my house, it would appear that I only have two children. And really, it would look like I adore #1, and I kinda like #2 based solely on the number of actual photos that are in frames. And then I just stopped having children. In reality, I went on to have two more. It’s not that I don’t capture any moments of #3 or #4, it’s just that they’re all stuck on the computer, or my phone. Rarely do they ever get posted anywhere! Am I bad Momma? No, I’m a just busy one.
I happen to be #4 of six children in my own family. My oldest brother’s baby book was completed from cover to cover – snips of light brown curls from his first haircut, his first lost tooth, all of the major milestones written out in detail. And my baby book? Well – at least it has my name written in it.
Now, when I was young, I was a little resentful of that, I’m not going to lie to you. But today? Not a chance – because I recognize just how full my life is and trying to capture every single damn minute of our amazing fun and exciting adventures would be impossible! (Just a hint of sarcasm here.) I’m also not someone who’s very good at the selfie (I just got on Instagram six months ago and I think I’ve posted five times). Clearly, photography is not one of my strengths.
I’d like to provide a word of caution to all of you new parents about trying to capture all of those countless moments of your baby as a newborn. Take some, for sure, because in looking back you won’t be able to remember they were ever that tiny when they were fresh and new to this world. But sometimes, when the urge to snap a quick photo and post to social media hits you, stop yourself and just try to take it all in. This moment, now. What made it so important that you wanted everyone to see it? Reflect on that and maybe capture that image, that moment, in your heart instead.
So much of our lives are lived online these days that it’s precious relief to find stolen moments when no one else needs to see this or experience it except for you and your new little family. Breathe in the scent of your delicious new little baby, smile at the sweetness with which your partner gives them a bath, take a selfie of the three of you – that no one else will ever see.
Some of this transition to parenting is so very hard and real and messy – but we rarely ever see a post or a picture about that anywhere. We’ve yet to find an outlet that allows or approves of the reality of new parenting. And so instead, the only things we ever see are how wonderful life is with a newborn. A lot of it is, but let’s be real – a lot of it isn’t. Don’t get sucked into the myth that your worth as new parents needs to live up to the “magical moments” you capture for consumption on social media.
I’m not saying to stop being a part of the social media landscape, I’m in it, too! But recognize, as well, that every single second of every single day your baby is changing and growing – and so are you. All of you moving through this “new normal” that feels so abnormal while you’re stuck in the middle of it. But the only images that ever make it onto your computer screen or phone, are the great ones. We don’t post the not-so-great ones, do we? Maybe it’s because when we look back, we only want to remember that it was a positive time, our transition to parenthood. But that’s not based on reality and I think it robs you and your partner from acknowledging the incredibly hard work that went into this life-changing transformation.
So, maybe you capture a few of the not-so-great images, too. Don’t worry, you don’t need to post them anywhere, they can be just for you. Images that record your early parenting “fails” to help you realize that this is how it’s always been: a series of ups and downs as you learn and grow into this new role that has been thrust upon you. When you think about it, nine months is really not enough time to be truly prepared for the enormity of parenting. But you can do this. You are doing this. It’s not necessary to capture every moment of it for posterity. There are things about this time that make permanent impressions that will never be forgotten.
Because they’ve been captured in your heart.
As new parents are you finding it challenging to keep up with the task of capturing all the milestones of your new baby’s life? Would it make your transition easier to lighten up on this a little bit? What are your thoughts about capturing the not-so-great moments of new parenting?