I’ve been photographing families for a long time now. Families from different countries and cultures. And being a mother myself, I learned a lot by watching other people interacting with their children.
I see myself reflected on many of the gestures and actions I get to capture with my camera. And I appreciate and learn from the differences I discover.
Family photography taught me a lot about parenting. Seeing parents from all over the world raising their children so differently and yet struggling with so many similar things helped me to feel less lonely.
It shows me the beauty of the differences. The humanity of the mundane. The love of the everyday rituals.
5 things family photography taught me about parenthood:
1) You have the right to make choices according to yours and your family needs
Parenthood involves a lot of choices. Every day, every season. We have to decide where our children will sleep, how we will feed them, what kind of school will suit them better.
And even if we’re aware of the fact that some things are better than others, we can’t always choose the way we’d like to. Nothing is farther from parenting than applying recipes.
What I’ve learned by being around diverse families who make different choices, is that as long as you make them with empathy and respect, you’ll raise happy children who will become happy adults.
2) We repeat patterns all over the world
Yes, every family, every child, is unique. But some things we share and repeat: the way we touch and caress a baby just with one finger, the fear of our newborn slipping out from our hands. Waking up in the middle of the night just to check if they’re breathing.
Jumping on the couch or the bed when we’re 3 or 4 years old. The way parents mirror gestures or emotions.
These things, these gestures I see them in families that are so different from each other, and yet they all laugh and struggle with so similar things.
3) The happiest families have parents who support each other
We don’t agree with everything. We don’t enjoy the same and sometimes (many times, actually), we argue. When we have children, so many things change in our lives (even our own identity) and that affects our relationships a lot.
But having little moments to be there for each other, to support and pamper each other, has such a huge impact on how the days unfold.
4) It’s fine to need some time for yourself
It doesn’t make you a bad parent to need and wish time for yourself. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to feel tired.
It makes you human. Simply that.
5) Including your children takes time but it gives joy
It makes them feel important. It improves their self-esteem and increases their confidence. It avoids tantrums. It helps them see how you trust them. It makes them happy. And it makes you happy too.
Can you relate?
I’m happy that I have a job that helps me grow as a mother and as a human. Discovering and learning something new in every home that I get to enter, not only give me new tools for my own journey as a mother, it makes me a more empathetic person, a better one.
Those are 5 of the many things family photography taught me about parenthood.
What would I learn photographing yours?