Most moms I know love pretty pictures of their babies. We hire professional photographers to capture the most amazing light. We have our little ones sit on vintage chairs, holding a dozen balloons, wearing adorable color-coordinating clothing, all for that perfect picture to remember their youth by. I get it. I love a pretty picture just as much as the next mama does.
But when I think of some of my favorite images—the ones that really make me melt—they’re often much less pretty and way more real.
Here are 5 photos that moms adore, even if they aren’t the loveliest of the lot…
The Family: It can be hard to capture that ideal family photo. One kid is often looking away… or worse! But some of my favorite family pics are the candid images that express our personalities. And after years of hindsight, most moms appreciate any and all images of the family as a whole.
The Mommy-n-Me Selfie: I thought of a hundred and two reasons why I hated this picture when my husband captured it over two years ago. When I look at it now, I can’t help but get nostalgic. My little one just experienced her first carousel ride and we were enjoying dinner out. And now as I send her off to preschool, I’m happy to have this perfectly imperfect Mommy-n-Me selfie. Moms love these pictures, and I’m sure our babies will one day love them, too.
The Stories: This collection of photos always makes me laugh. While she didn’t have sweets for well into her second year of life, there is no denying my daughter’s love of treats. Capturing my girl anticipating that bite of cake—pinching her thigh and flexing her little toe in delight—then celebrating with a mouth wide open, will always be a cherished memory. Moms love the photos that tell our stories exactly as they unfold.
The Expressions: I often look back at photos and wonder what my little ones must have been thinking. Some of my favorite images make me ponder over their expressions. I love an unposed photo that simply speaks of their curiosity and childhood wonderment.
The Firsts: And lastly, photos that capture your baby’s firsts will always be treasured—and more often than not, these are taken with a cell phone camera or on the fly. Who cares if the photo is a bit grainy or blurry. The first steps, first T-ball game, first school dance—all these images that document the firsts in our child’s life are ones to be adored.
All in all, it’s about celebrating life’s moments—all the moments. The good, the bad, the pretty, the not-so-picture perfect. It’s life lived honestly. And isn’t that what we really want to remember?
Vanessa Bell is the writer and Legacy Builder at the award winning blog, De Su Mama: Building a Multiracial Legacy. Most importantly, she’s the mom of two beautiful babies and is purposed to build a legacy they’re proud of.