Friday, June 19, 2015

Making Memories vs Capturing the Moments ♥

Sometimes, do you feel like if you didn't get a photo of something, it didn't really happen? I do.

Perhaps it stemmed from the time when I was away from most family and friends I grew up with. I took along a camera wherever I went and wanted to take photos to share and let them into my new world, my new life, It was the next best thing to having them there with me.

Now with Lil Pumpkin, I want to capture life with her in every single way I can. It's a "noble cause" for every parent but then, subconsciously I wonder if we do it so as to "prove" to ourselves {and others?} that yes,  we were there to play with our kids, read with our kids, to craft with our kids, swim with our kids etc? We are a good parents who love and spend time with our kids, despite our hectic work and busy schedules, and we have photos to prove it.

On our holiday to Vietnam, I didn't bring my phone with me, but I did bring my camera. I wasn't distracted with social media or checking messages, but I did interrupt our "real-time" to take photos and videos. "Wait, let mummy take a photo first", "smile here.. smile BIGGER", "walk this way", "don't block that", "stand still"... it was too easy to get caught up in the moment wanting to capture every new sight and every intricate detail without actually taking in my surroundings and paying attention to the people in it.

So much so that Lil Pumpkin actually asks, "why do you take so many photos, Mummy?"

Which makes me really think.. why? Why do I do that? Yeah for capturing the memories.. but why am I seeming to live so much more behind the lens, then actually, truly enjoying the moment? Why am I purposely having that camera as a barrier to reality?

Although I may not be very good at it, I love photography and I love having photos of our day-to-day activities & milestones. Lil Pumpkin is growing up wayyyyyy too fast and sometimes I feel all I have to look back on are these photographs, especially since my memory fails me sometimes. However, sometimes I feel like I am so busy capturing these moments that I am missing being a part of them. Making memories is just as important as capturing these moments, right?

When Lil Pumpkin thinks about her childhood, is she going to look back and think oh my, how wonderful that Mummy took all those photos of me as a kid, or is she going to remember damn, Mummy always stopped me from having fun to take these shots?

And you know what the worst part is, I actually get upset when I can't get a good shot. Not all the time, but I tend to wear my heart on my sleeves and yes, I actually throw a black face when Lil Pumpkin or the boy doesn't do what I think they should do for a good shot. So ridiculous I know. It's not that the photos I take are forced or fake.. but sometimes, tears, tsks and harsh words are exchanged behind-the-scenes for a photo.

I think other than making efforts to put down my phone, I've to make more effort to put down my camera too. Or learn how to take photos that are less intrusive into our daily lives. I tried to apply this during our recent trip to Bali by making sure I snap a few shots, or set a "time limit", then consciously put my camera away.

I want to have a journal of our lives together, but not at the expense of being just a bystander writing our stories and taking our photos. I want to live in it as well. Memories need to be a healthy balance of capturing and being present for them.

I don't think this applies to me just when parenting, but when spending time with other people at gatherings, meal-times, activities etc. Instead of taking food shots while the food gets cold and making others wait to eat, I should put down my camera and just well, eat. Instead of stopping during walks to take a shot of that beautiful sunset, I should just admire without any lens barrier and allow my body to feel the warmth and take in that breath-taking sight.

Life is so much better in front of the lens, than behind

Are your kids complaining that you take too many photos?
Do you feel yourself capturing moments instead of making memories too?
How do you balance both?

P.S. Want more opportunities for magical family moments? Check out my Disney on Classic ~ A Magical Night tickets giveaway! I've 4 x Cat 1 tickets to the performance up for grabs. Giveaway ends tonight!



Masshole Mommy said...

Agree completely - photos or it didn't happen! LOL!

Debbish said...

I've been conscious that - rather than BEING in the moment I'm too busy capturing it. I can't seem to 'record' an event and be fully present at the same time.

But, it's nice to have those memories. Sigh.

An Apel a Day said...

Mica begs me to take photos. Isaak on the other hand doesn't like them. They both have such different personalities.

Mystery Case said...

My girls are now teens and I've taken a step back from the camera. I always ask their permission if I'm going to include a photo of them online but most of the time, I just prefer not to.

At events, I've also been putting the camera down more than I use to. I prefer to actually get back to being in the moment.

Ashlyn Thia said...

This a great and truthful post! I sometimes wonder that too, and I struggle between capturing the moment and living in the moment. There are times that I asked my girl to pose for the camera and some times I just like to snap her at work. I guess it's nice to have photos but we need make sure it doesn't result in "dis-engagement" and most importantly all (the one taking and being photographed) have to enjoy the process!

natty said...

Thanks for sharing this honest post which spoke true to me too. I was at the playground with the kids yesterday and busy snapping away that another mum who didn't have her phone with her gave me a look. A look that made me feel so bad for not looking at Liam when he said "mummy! Look at me! I'm climbing up so high and sliding down so fast". I forced myself to keep my phone deep down inside my back and far fro my reach and ended up having a really lovely time just watching Liam play and enjoy himself and knowing he felt more of my presence.

I have to agree that the lack of photos do sometimes make me feel ... incomplete. I haven't been taking many of my 9 month old as I did with Liam, and then I feel bad about not doing so because I wonder if he'll ask me how come he doesn't have many photos of him growing up compared to his brother.

Talk about first world problems. Heh. Thanks for sharing again :)

Susan said...

Heh, I'm so guilty of capturing the moments and not being fully in the moment. And I also get questioned why I must have so many photos? I need to be more intentional to put my hp or camera away and be present.

Stacy said...

Agree have to have balance! For me, I'm rather lazy bringing out the camera and have to consciously make the 'behind camera' time.

Sweetday said...

I am guilty of it sometimes especially food porning. It's funny because I rarely post food on the internet.

As for photo of kids, Little One used to complain sometimes why she was in every photo while I was in none of them. I am just very camera shy but yet I wanted to take photo of her. Hence, I mellowed down on this.

I wanted the best of both worlds which seemed quite impossible. In order to capture nice photos, we have to take many shots. But that would mean lesser time to be in the moment, unless we "allocate extra time". So what I do nowadays is to snap naturally. If I need her to pose, I just ask her whether I can take a photo of her. If the photo does not turn out nice, I just ask again. If she doesn't want to, so be it. I would just be watching around usually.

Unknown said...

I sat up and took notice when my girls started copying me in trying to take photos of random things. Now, I try and be int he moment first, then snap a photo but I do still have room for improvement. #FYBF

Ai Sakura said...

Masshole Mommy: Ok, glad I'm not the only "weird" one hahaha

Deborah: Ya quite hard to keep the right balance sometimes, but no reason not to try either :)

Alissa: Heh it depends on Lil Pumpkin's mood too. Sometimes she'll be happy to say "quick take photos of me doing XXX" but other times she's not that keen. Photographing kids depends a lot on being able to catch them in the right mood too I feel :P

Mystery Case: Yup I think it reaches a point when you realise wait a minute, I'm missing something now by just snapping shots and not fully being present in the moment.

Ashlyn: Yes exactly! Both have to have a good time to enjoy capturing the moment on film, and in memory too.

Natasha: No prob dear. Hey don't feel so bad, there are always other parents that are going to judge us based on what we do. What about those times when you take are of your kids single-handedly with no time for rest or food? Sometimes we need time to relax and do what we like too. If you feel uncomfortable about taking too many (or little) photos about the kids, let that come from your relationship with them, not from a look from another mum :)

Susan: The point is even more poignant when the kids point it out..

Stacy: Sometimes bringing out the camera very leychey.. I understand too :p

Sweetday: Be in the photos more!!

Malinda: We all do :)

Grace said...

I know my husband secretly thinks I take too many photos. I've definitely culled it down but I can't help it. I'm the same as you - I see it as a way to journal my boys growing up. When Mr Surfer looks back and sees the photos, then he's a lot more appreciative :)

One Mother Hen said...

I am forever kicking myself that I don't take more photos, I am constantly to take photos of us or forget the camera. My phone just doesn't cut it sometimes.

I am mindful though, not to spoil moments by trying to get the perfect shot. Life isn't perfect, I just have to get better at taking photos of the imperfect stuff, which is usually the best part x