A good friend nominated me on Facebook for the “Being a Mom” challenge. I had to post a picture each day for ten days with no captions or explanations. I took her up on the challenge. Certainly, I have more than ten pictures that show me being a mom in action. I can do this.
I scrolled through my phone to find hundreds of pictures of my boy. But pictures of him and me? Only a handful. When I posted pictures of Ryan, a friend of mine commented that I might have misunderstood the Facebook challenge. “You need to post pictures of you being a mom.”
What Photos Show
In my mind, however, photos of Ryan did depict me being a mom…behind the scenes. A picture of Ryan reading does not show the countless number of hours I spent teaching him phonics, searching the library for age-appropriate books, and reading to him at bedtime. But it represents my hard work and my passion to raise a reader.
Moms do more than feed and care for their babies. From the time we wake up, to the time our heads hit the pillow, we are so busy being moms that motherhood becomes second nature, impacting everything we do. Somewhere between the daily schedules and routines, we manage to click pictures of our children. These photos capture not just precious moments but the essence of motherhood.
What Moms Do
When I see a picture of my friend’s son riding a bike, I know that my friend probably bought the bike after conducting a thorough research on children’s bikes. She made sure that he wore a helmet that fit him and represented his unique personality.
When I see a picture of an infant smiling in cute clothes without a care in the world, I know that the mom is dealing with dirty diapers, sleep deprivation, and probably, nursing journals. The baby is thriving and well because her mother has put aside her friends, her career, her parties, and her me-time to nourish her baby.
When I see a picture of a child posing with an award, I see a mother excusing herself from (un)official team dinners at work so that she can be home to train her child. I see a mother who may have postponed buying her favorite dress so that she can pay for her child to learn and participate in a contest.
When I see the artwork of a four-year-old, I know that a mom, maybe pregnant, had to clean the messy paint and scraps of paper from the floor, the chair, and table. I know she fought fatigue as she spoke words of encouragement to her child, instilling confidence in her.
When I see photos of a child’s birthday party, I simply salute the mom. How on earth did she pull off those pretty part invites, the hand-made party favors, the colorful decorations, and the delicious food? And that too, on a budget?
When I see the photo of a teen with autism at his high school graduation, I know that his mom had to fight the healthcare system and the education system to get the benefits her family deserves. She had to drop whatever she was doing and run to get her son every time the school called with a “there’s-a-situation-with-your-son-we-are-unable-to-handle.” I know that his mom was not just his advocate, but also an advocate for other children with autism.
If a picture speaks a thousand words, our children’s photos speak volumes about the love and sacrifice that embody motherhood.
The next time you see pictures of children on social media without their mothers, I hope you can capture in your mind the mothers behind the lens of the camera. I hope you find it in you to support them and celebrate them.