Monday, September 5, 2011

How and Why to Document the Not-so-Great Moments of Mommyhood

After reading my last post, several people asked the question, "How did you capture Parker in the moment without him catching on to the camera and hidden smile?" I know that's a big question among us moms with always-on-the-go children and one that I am still trying to perfect every chance I get. :)

To answer the question frankly: by remembering to grab my camera and not getting caught up in what could have been the fury of the moment. ha! That's the hardest part. And then prayerfully, carefully, thoughtfully...and a little shrewdly.

Not so long ago, and every once in awhile still, I have to watch myself and my temper. To this day, I wonder if I received a thicker dose of that Creek Indian bloodline than my other relatives. Family, what do you think? ;) Anyway, at that moment of walking in to disaster zone and being completely stunned, all I could think about was 1. how to react best to the given situation in order to teach his little heart versus hurting him and  2. grabbing my camera!

So, to keep from laughing and/or blowing up at his little toddler creativity, I set the tone quietly but firmly and left the room. I was actually excited to have this opportunity to teach Parker something and do it in a calm and rational way unlike a few times in the past! I ran downstairs, called Clay and hooted, grabbed my camera and ran back up the stairs to deal with the situation. By that time, Parker was horrified that I had not come back in...he wanted to know what I was going to do. When I opened the door again, he almost seemed relieved that I was back. Poor thing...didn't know what was coming to him. ;)

I quickly and seriously dropped down to the floor and snapped a couple of not perfect pictures (did you see the terrible lighting in those bathroom pictures?!..but I didn't care. I just wanted to capture the moment and to teach him a lesson at the same time. Spending several minutes fiddling with the perfect settings on my camera just wasn't going to cut it.) Parker asked what I was doing. I slowly raised my head, looked him dead in the eyes and told him "If he knew what was good for him, he would be very very quiet right now." hee hee. I'm so bad. It wasn't long after that that he asked if he was going to jail. :)

And as for the close-ups of him, I don't even think he knew until the last picture was taken that I was taking pictures of his expressions. I had him focusing on my face at that point. As I talked and he listened, the camera was out to my side (no flash) snapping a couple of "mug shots." It wasn't until the last one that I got right in front of his face with the camera. Then while still talking, I nonchalantly put the camera aside like it had never even been there and did not pick it up again until everything was said and done...I then went back and took pictures of the towel pile up after he was in the bed.

Sounds easy right? Well, it wasn't. ha ha! If it were that easy, I would take a lot more "mug shot" pictures after catching the little man in action...wouldn't we all! Sometimes, when things are backsliding fast and furiously it is hard to pause to even think about grabbing your camera for a quick snap. More times than not, smoke can be found coming out of my ears when I "discover" another mess or tantrum. One of the things I have found though, that helps me in ridiculous situations such as these, is to grab my camera and document the moment. It doesn't have to be perfect; remember, you can always edit and crop it later. Just get it on camera!

This past year in MOPS during our very first week, the moms all went around and mentioned one thing that helps them "get through" the tough days and moments. My one little tip for the table was to document it. Document the crazy, insane, torturous moments of the days...not just the good ones. Because those times are the ones that will break you down then build you back up to become a better mom for your little ones. Those instances, in addition to the good ones, are the ones that will cause you to look back and laugh when your children are all grown up. Those horrible in-the-day moments are the ones that we will look back on with happy tears and wish we could go back to...maybe not an hour later...but one day.

This one little thing has helped me a TON with the not-so-great moments since I have had kids. I hope you find that it helps you too! (just remember to charge your camera first so that it is ready to go!! :))

So, here's to the all the moms with plenty of chances to document "the-not-so-good-moments." May you find a peace and calmness to help and to not hinder the situation, a remembrance to document so that you can laugh later...and a tall glass of wine (and maybe even a little chocolate) as soon as the kids go to bed that evening!

True story: One particular afternoon Parker decided to pitch an all out kicking and screaming fit while we were out running errands. Thankfully, this does not happen very often with him, but on this particular day he was done. And I was done with the fit. I happened to have my camera with me and pulled that baby out and started going to town snapping pictures of his fit. Upclose, upside down, vertically...I mean that camera was all over the place. Once he realized what I was doing, he looked up with those tear-filled pitiful eyes like his mom had grown a second nose. "What are you doing, mom?"

I kept snapping...He asked again...a little louder this time..."Mom! What are you doing?!"

"Oh, me? I'm just taking pictures of you pitching a fit so that I can show you how silly you look!" That was the end of that tantrum. So moms, try pulling out your camera a little bit more.  You never know when it can come in useful! :)

"It's all good Mom! Just put me in Duckie with those warm bubbly things and I'll be good as new!"
Happy Snapping! (with the camera that is!!)

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