What Mom doesn’t love cute pictures of her kids? These days, we all seem to have social media accounts bursting with images of birthday parties, vacations, school pics and silly moments.
And who is usually the one taking those photos, documenting those precious memories?
Well, Mom, of course.
I know, I know, not EVERY single time, but without a doubt, it is the vast majority. And far too often, the person we don’t see in those pictures is Mom. That could be due to many reasons, but the one I want to talk about is called emotional labor.
Emotional labor has been a topic studied in sociology for years now, stemming back to studies on laborers. But recently the concept has found its way into relationship discussions. And it is one of those things that can be hard to put into words or to quantify for our partners.
“He’s a good partner, we share housework and childcare, but it’s still me who’s doing the scheduling and planning. And if I tell him I’m tired of it he just says, ‘Well then don’t do it, we’ll figure it out.’ But we won’t figure it out unless someone figures it out! So I end up figuring it out again.” (Hutchison, “Why Women are Tired: The Price of Unpaid Emotional Labor)
I think many of us as mothers can relate to the concept of doing the planning for an entire family. We do the scheduling, the meal planning, the booking of appointments, the making of lists, the signing of forms.
Even those of us in relationships that we consider egalitarian tend to be the woman behind the curtain pulling the levers and making the gears turn.
And this most assuredly means remembering to take pictures of that school awards ceremony or spelling bee or first time riding a bike.
Obviously, it has to be up to each couple to navigate these waters and figure out how to handle the load of emotional labor. But one concrete thing we, as moms, can absolutely do is include ourselves more in those priceless pictures.
Get in front of that camera! Take that selfie WITH your child! Hand that phone over to Dad and give your biggest grin! I don’t want to look back 30 years from now and not see my presence documented in photos when I know that presence is very much felt in their lives.
With Mother’s Day not too far away, I present an awesome activity you can do to combat those “Mom-less” pics!
My friend and awesome Richmond Mom, Jackie Ruiz, is doing a Mother’s Day Collaboration with Carly Romeo & Co to do a portrait/illustration session. They are serving snacks, coffee, tea, and mimosas along with a relaxed, unposed photo session with your kiddos. Jackie will provide an illustration of your favorite photo. It doesn’t get much better than this!
So maybe take the day off, put on an outfit you love, hold those babies tight and smile for the camera. You won’t regret it.