Is it selfish to hire a professional instead of just DIYing it?
After all, you have your own camera – a nice one. Or you have a friend who does. You probably have a pile of Shutterfly coupons on a bulletin board that you keep meaning to use, too.
Who isn’t hesitant to ask for help when we could do it all ourselves? We want heirlooms to hand down to our grandchildren, and know in the long run these portraits will be treasured by the entire family. Right now, though, it feels selfish because we want these portraits as evidence of how hard we are working as parents. And it feels even more selfish to delegate the time and effort it takes to create those portraits to someone else – so we can spend more time doing what we enjoy doing instead.
We might have a lot in common
You, new friend, are probably a parent, like me. Maybe you even have one or more active little boys who, like mine, shed roughly 17 socks a day throughout your home. Sometimes you stand back and notice your kids are being cute and sweet, or more often, that they are methodically plopping oatmeal on the wall or arguing about the appropriateness of tutus and capes as school attire. I want to remember these phases and enjoy them, even if I keep checking my calendar to see if the current phase is almost over.
The Family [Self] Portrait
After digging the socks out of the crisper, wiping most of the oatmeal off the baseboard, and compromising at school drop off (tutu and cape are OK, but undies have to be worn inside the pants), there is work, dishes, prepping dinner, paying bills, calling the plumber… you know how it goes.
One Saturday, we tell ourselves, when we have caught up on sleep, we’ve finished the stuff on our to-do list, there will be a magical hour in between breakfast and snack when no one has dripped yogurt on our cutest outfits (which still fit, and happen to be clean at the same time) and all the kids are in a good mood with no tantrums on the horizon. Then we will take pictures in a sun-dappled park and our hair will be great because humidity is low and it happens to be 72 degrees and no one else is at the park eating a bag of chips in the background.
Or maybe we have spent the last two months preparing a casual back yard birthday party but it turns out the entire school class has to be invited and now there is a piñata (the birthday girl insists on an orange orca whale, so that took two weekends to make) and 30 kids coming and did anyone remember to pick up the cake? We have our camera on the kitchen counter and in between setting up a sun block station and telling people where to find the restroom, we plan to definitely take some pictures to remember this big day.
Before this stage passes let’s catch it – let’s savor it
That perfect photo never happens. We’re not doing it wrong – it’s just impossible! We put so much work into building the best childhood for our kids, but don’t have much time to enjoy it, never mind document it for later.
It would be great to have gorgeous memories on the wall – of our baby’s first days, our toddler’s silly bath time hairdos, and our preschooler’s first day of school – a reminder of why we work so hard and how awesome it really is to have this life. But the pictures are never taken, printed, shared with grandparents, framed, hung – because everything else is louder, more urgent, and exhausting.
We can’t do it all by ourselves
Most of us need someone else to style our hair or replace a broken toilet. There are so many things we can’t delegate out – it feels amazing when we find reliable help to take the busywork off our hands.
Thirty years from now, those bangs will be long-gone and the faucet will be probably be broken again – but you’ll still show off your favorite albums, still smile at that portrait of your toddler, now a father himself, bright and early in the hall every morning.
Spend your time making memories, not chasing them
My youngest is just now learning how to walk. I’m constantly recruited for balance, a human baby-walker. I would love to get a picture of the two of us doing this very important thing. I can’t do both well. If I want a portrait of us together that truly captures the interplay of our personalities, someone else is going to have to hold the camera while I hold the baby.
Would you rather hold your camera? Or would you rather hold your baby?