Written by: Lizzy McMillan

Photo: Lizzy McMillan, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com


Every January is met with a host of New Year’s resolutions, goals, good intentions and promises to ourselves that we will “do better this year.” Many of those well-intended resolutions have already been put on the backburner. We fall back in to the familiarity of daily routines and succumb to the organized chaos of raising young children. I often joke that our family is a circus, and I’m attempting to be the ringleader most days, perhaps you can relate!


Photo credit: Shannon Lee, QNP, www.ShannonLeePhotography.com


This often means that you revert to putting your children’s needs before your own, as mothers often do. You spend late nights rocking babies, evenings shuttling kids between activities and weekends juggling play dates and birthday parties. There are only so many hours in the day, so it can be difficult to carve out time just for you.


Photo: Lizzy McMillan, QNP, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com


There is no doubt about it- this season of life is hard. Tiring. Often lonely. As moms, we are inundated with so much information, opinions, and decisions about parenting, it is akin to drinking from a fire hose. It is easy to allow self-doubt to creep in to our daily thoughts, and fears of “not being the perfect mom” to fester and grow. I can guarantee you, the way you see yourself as a mom is very different than the way your children see you. While you may focus on your imperfections, your children see you as their hero.


Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com


This is where my 2018 challenge for you comes in.

Can you believe this year is almost a quarter of the way over? I can almost guarantee that your phone (or even your “big girl camera”) is filled with snapshots of your children. No doubt, you have captured photos from the fun adventures and silly moments from the first few months of this year. But mom, I have a question for you: how many of those snapshots are YOU IN?


You are a main character in your children’s family story. Your children NEED to see YOU in their pictures.



Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com


As a professional photographer, I often hear the laundry list of excuses from moms about why they can’t or don’t want to be in portraits. I want to share some of the most common excuses, and provide some insight that will hopefully inspire you to make a change this year.

“I have 15 pounds of ‘baby weight’ I need to lose first.”

Growing and birthing a baby is no easy feat. Your body is transformed before your eyes, and your once taught-skin is now soft and scarred. You are frustrated that your favorite jeans are still too tight, and your face is round.

Your child does not see the baby weight that you are struggling with. When he looks at you, he sees home. He sees your warm, cozy lap to crawl into. He sees a soft bosom to rest his head, and listen to your heartbeat. He needs to see you in his pictures.


Photo: Lizzy McMillan, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com


“I haven’t had my hair done in months. I need to get a color and cut first.”

You look in the mirror and see roots that need a touch up. You see scraggly, split ends that desperately need a trim and blow out. You see the gray hairs sneaking their way in to your once perfectly maintained mane.

Your daughter sees your soft brown curls that match her own. She loves the way you snuggle and give her tickles with the ends of your ponytail as she giggles and asks for more. But mostly, she loves twirling your hair between her fingers as she gazes up at you while nursing. She needs to see you in her pictures.


Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com


“I look so tired”

“The baby hasn’t slept through the night yet. I have huge bags under my eyes. I’ll wait a few months until we’re both sleeping better so I don’t look so tired.”

When your son falls and scans the playground for you, he doesn’t see the “tired” on your face. His eyes lock with yours, and he sees your soft, reassuring smile telling him he’s OK. He dusts himself off, and is back on his way. He does not see the worry or the bags under your eyes. He looks at you and sees eyes that sparkle with your love, and are the same shade of hazel-green as his own. He needs to see you in his pictures.


Photo credit: Shannon Lee, QNP, www.ShannonLeePhotography.com


“Money is tight right now. We will take pictures next month/fall/spring etc. ”

Finances and budget vary for every family. I am not suggesting you put yourself or your family in a financial strain. My goal of this challenge is to encourage you to be in your family’s visual story- not just a cheerleader from the sidelines. That may mean tossing the camera at your partner, or setting your camera on a timer. I also want to encourage you to schedule a professional portrait session, or to find a way to include it in your family budget this year.


Photo credit: Mary Kriss, QNP, www.MaryKrissPhotography.com


The professional portraits and daily snapshots are your children’s visual history. They need to see you in their childhood portraits. Twenty years from now, your son will look at the portraits and see the love you gave unselfishly that shaped him into a man. Your daughter will treasure the images of your journey through motherhood as she begins her own.


Photo credit: Mary Kriss, QNP, www.MaryKrissPhotography.com


Your family history is happening right now.

My challenge to you is to get IN your photos. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so ditch the excuses. Do it for your son. Do it for your daughter. Most importantly, do it for yourself, because YOU are the glue that holds that family-circus together. One day those pictures will be all your children have left of you.


Lizzy McMillan is an APNPI Qualified Newborn Photographer, PPA Certified Professional Photographer, and APNPI Ambassador with a boutique maternity and newborn studio in Downtown Mesa, Arizona. She has specialized in newborn portraiture for nearly a decade and has photographed over 1200 newborns. Her extensive work with newborn twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets has set her apart in the photography industry, garnered international acclaim and has earned her the apt moniker “The Multiples Whisperer™”. Lizzy is passionate about documenting family history and preserving the important moments in her clients’ lives. When she’s not snuggling newborns or teaching other photographers the art of photographing multiples, she and her husband are usually busy wrangling their three children or watching The Office on Netflix.

For more about Lizzy McMillan and her work, visit www.momentostudios.com