Church Directory Photo - 2008
Don't you want to get to know these dorky people?
It was 2008, and we had just had our family portrait taken for the church directory.
"Now, if you'll step this way, you can view the photos and choose which one you'd like for the book." We were instructed, Vanna White style, into the next room.
And by the way, all the charming photos are for sale, for your personal keepsakes.
I don't know about you, but I think those portraits are pretty cheesy looking. I mean, they're fine for the directory, and maybe to be stuck into an album somewhere, but they can't really be considered "fine photography."
We chose our free directory photo and then were guided through a selection process which was cleverly designed to make a further sale.
We declined the 11 x 14 Master's Touch ($350.00).
We declined the suite of three desktop 5 x 7's.
We declined the 8 x 10 of Grayson (our only child with us for the sitting). We weren't crazy about the stiff pose.
We declined the wallet collection.
Finally, the sales lady went back through the whole group of photos to make sure she had heard us correctly.
"So let me get this straight," she said finally, peering over her glasses. "You DON'T want a picture of your son??"
In that moment, all the Mother Guilt of the World was laid upon my shoulders.
What kind of mother doesn't want a picture of her son? What if he goes off to war and every photo ever taken of him becomes a priceless memory? What if every other mother at church buys a picture of their child except me? How will that affect the psyche of my only son, who is sitting right beside me, looking at me, as if to say,
"You DON'T want a picture of me?"
I hesitated, then stammered, "N-n-no, I don't."
I was tempted to add, "We see enough of him already," but the lady was giving me that "shame on you," look that was aimed right at my soul.
And although we've had many a good laugh over that scene, it brought home to me once again how easily we moms take on needless guilt. I have hundreds of photos of my son and have no need to feel guilty about declining a silly church portrait.
And yet....I find it hard to just let it go.
I wonder how to go about encouraging you today? I'd like to say "Let's all stop feeling guilty," but that might not be an easy task to accomplish in a day. So instead, let's do something REAL and PRACTICAL and WONDERFUL together.
Let's do a Small Thing: Let's DO something about your Mommy Guilt.
- Have you "lost it" recently with a child? Maybe you need to simply apologize for losing your cool. Asking forgiveness of a toddler may seem silly, but it sets an example of genuine love that will go deep in your relationship. Teenagers can benefit from an apologizing parent, too.
- Do you feel guilty about working? Look at your schedule and see where you can set some limits so that your time with your children is precious and not wasted on things like TV. Providing for your family is an important role, and not an easy one.
- How about guilt over your children's scrapbooks (or lack thereof?) Truly, your children will survive without perfectly laid-out pages and detailed journaling with gel pens.
- Don't accept a guilt trip from a child who wants his own way. Don't feel guilty that your child doesn't have the most fashionable clothes, or the best grades, or take ballet lessons.
- Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can with what you have, and then give the rest to God to take care of.
Life is full of difficult choices, but we'll never move forward if we keep looking back with unnecessary regret.
What's eating at your heart today?
Is your guilt based on something that you can take action to change? Is it over something you've already been forgiven of? Or is it based on unrealistic expectations of perfection that you need to let go of?
Mom-guilt is real, but for today...we're not having any.