Today’s mothers hold a special power that no other generation of mothers quite held: the Smart Phone. And with this power (sometimes) comes the pressure to capture every moment of your darling child’s life.
(Especially if you have family out of town, who eat it up!) The least you can do is snap a picture, or post a video. Right??
It’s amazing that now 362 of your Friends can tune into Baby Girl smearing spaghetti sauce all through her hair at dinner. And by bath time, you can have 31 ‘Likes’ on it.
But this wasn’t always so. There was a time when the only people who could see your little guy run through the sprinkler in his diaper were the neighbors next door.
One part of me, (the minimalist part), wants to pull the curtains of Facebook closed for awhile and just live. I want to lose the constant camera waiting to burst out of my pocket, and the feeling of “I should be taking a video right now…” I want lose the self-consciousness, and the constant mirror my camera can become.
But, the other part of me (really) loves technology. I love that my brother-in-law in Africa can see his niece’s first steps, hear her first words, and spew out her first bite of rice cereal. I love that my sisters and parents can watch her splash in the tub after dinner, or dance like a maniac on the kitchen floor. Because in a way, they get to share it too, the moment. Moments they would otherwise miss.
But what about the moments we don’t capture? The moments no one sees?
Motherhood is full of these. No one gets to share some moments because you were laughing so hard, you forgot to snap a picture. Or you were too busy chasing monsters, or you were waiting to burst out of the closet, or you were ‘It’ in freeze tag. Maybe your toddler hid your phone in his toy box. Maybe you were too focused holding your breath in silence during hide-n-seek. Or you were lost in making Play-dough together, or painting, or building a fort out of cushions—so it was never recorded.
And some moments are so sacred, no camera could ever capture them. Like the tenderness of rocking your little one to sleep in a dark room, and watching her drift away in the moonlight. Staying there, with her, even after she’s long fallen asleep. Just to hold her. Or was she holding you?
Sometimes the moments no one sees, the moments you couldn’t capture, are the moments that captured you.
I don’t say this to make you self-conscious of what you post, or to bash my (incredibly gifted) photographer friends. That’s the last thing I want. By all means, take pictures, and videos, a lot of them! One day, you will be so glad you did. You will remember so many beautiful, hilarious, crazy moments you were bound to forget in the haze of your memory. And it doesn’t make you one bit vain to share them with others. It’s good to give others a window into your daily joy. It’s a part of community.
But I guess what I want to say to moms, and I want to say to myself is: It’s okay if you miss some moments because you were enjoying them too much. It’s okay if you were just too busy being there. It’s okay if while looking into those gorgeous blue eyes, or those chocolate brown ones, gazing into yours–you got lost, and didn’t even think to reach for your phone.
You were captured instead.