She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

On Family Photo Sessions with Completely Cooperative Children

on November 15, 2012

Its that time of year.  Time to plan the cutesy, matching outfits, and pick a beautiful locale and photog. Then voila! You have your perfect family picture all ready for your holiday cards. Right?

Well…it does not always work out that way.  Some years you get the kids ready, hair licked down, bows in, nice shoes on and then one of you falls into the gutter while getting into the minivan. And that was the year you chose white shirts and dresses. So you freak out, get mad, curse inside your head, and then you start over.  Other years you choose a photographer you know, personally. That’s the year your kids act out, you bribe, then threaten, then grit your teeth as you try to reprimand nicely in front of your casual-friend-photographer.  You, the mom-who-cares-what people-think-of-you-too-much-sometimes, follows up with an apology email to the photographer about being stressed out during the photo session.  NO, this is not me, we are talking about.

What doing family photo sessions (professionally or not) reminds me of every year is having realistic expectations.  Kids do not love having their photos taken in uncomfortable clothes and shoes, and kids do not like sitting still for very long in said clothes.  Why am I surprised they declare mutiny??  At least in the baby-toddler-pre-school age.  Ok, any age, really.    I need to tell myself if we get one good picture, its a success.  If we get pictures that are magazine print-model perfect, then, well…that never happens.  And its ok.

As a mom, I have to constantly tell myself to have REALISTIC expectations on my kids.  Kids act like kids.  Kids act annoying. Kids are selfish and egocentric.  Kids whine.  Kids are messy and spill and break things when playing and goofing around in the house. Kids are imperfect little souls that need shaping and molding and a mother who loves them no matter what the heck they do or say or act like. No matter what.

My older sister has told me I have always tended to have high expectations IN LIFE in general, so this of course generalized to my life as a mother.  In some ways high expectations are good, i.e., high standards for relationships and friendships, challenging and pushing myself, but then there is always the flip side.  I get disappointed.  I get let down.  I expect TOO MUCH sometimes from those really close to me (my immediate family most of all), and then I am full of irritation and frustration.  I expect WAY TOO MUCH FROM MYSELF.  BUT that, is another blog post for another day..

Good luck to you as you take your family pictures and spend $1000 in cards, stamps, and address labels for your holiday cards. And when you decide to “go green” and email your cards, and give the rest of us permission to follow, let me know. PUH-lease.

6 responses to “On Family Photo Sessions with Completely Cooperative Children

  1. Liz says:

    I totally agree Jessica… It is for all these unrealistic expectations and stressors that I avoid the formal photo shoots but now with your wise words in my head maybe just maybe I will get one done this year… It has been a few years for us

  2. Kristin says:

    Hah – you forgot the tirade of sibling fighting the entire drive down to the photo shoot!!! You hit the nail on the head. What kills me is the knowledge that after all of that, come January 2 it’s in the recycler. But those photo shoot family memories are forever.

  3. Carla Puky says:

    What a great article, Jessica! Ive loved them all. Keep them coming! Love, Carla


  4. Carla, thank you for reading my blog and being a subscriber! I so appreciate it! Across the miles, the Patay Family sends hugs!!

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