Because taking care of two kids under two is f@%#ing time-consuming!
Ok, not everyone has two kids under two, but I do and I’m talking about me right now, ok?!
Not only is it time consuming, it literally feels like I’m learning how to be a parent all over again. And this means I just don’t have time to pick up the camera and play like I used to. I hardly have time to write these blog posts!
As I hold my one-month-old in my arms and listen to my toddler playing independently with his toy train in the next room, it makes me realize how fast and fleeting these first few years are. With a newborn, the days can really start to drag on, but at the same time, when I think back on this past month, it already feels like time is flying by. Again!
With my first son, this same anxiety drove me to spend about $750 (money that could have gone to diapers btw), on a non-essential item. A low-end, professional digital camera.
I took pictures of him with it constantly, making it my mission to nab as many photos as possible at an attempt to preserve all the memories and moments that were literally flashing before my eyes.
The problem I eventually faced with this was that constantly capturing the moment, ironically would almost always take me out of the moment. And sometimes it’s hard to drop back in and be fully present. Maybe this is an amateur-ish statement and something career photogs have found ways to overcome, but alas I have been unable to.
So for this reason primarily, I have slowly decreased the amount of behind-the-lens time. Unfortunately that also means less pictures of my second child (so far). Much to MamaRush’s chagrin.
In my defense though, It’s not because I love him any less. On the contrary. It’s because I place a high value on being with him and experiencing his growth and development face-to-face.
I have always placed a higher value on experience than I do on documenting the experience. As a result my scrapbooks may be relatively lean, but they’ll suffice. I have rich memories of my personal and family history along with some photographic evidence to support the stuff that matters.
As a songwriter and musician, recalling experiences to write about has become second nature to me. There’s a sharp difference between documenting something in a song and documenting it photographically. Obviously because you can’t just recall a photograph unless you actually took the time to take it, duh. Mad props to my editorial and documentary photographer friends who do pull this off and manage to be some of the coolest, in-the-moment dudes I know.
I guess the more years I put behind me, I’ve found myself wishing I would have documented things better. And not just for my Facebook friends. For myself! And now, also for my kids.
Not even a full one month in, and I’m already beating myself up about something I could have done better with my second child. Welcome to parenthood, right?
Sometimes I’ll find myself thinking, “You’re missing out on a PERFECT photo-op right now. Get with it!” Impossible as it may be to capture all the good times, I still feel like I may be failing in some small way.
Something has gotta change, or I’ll continue in this downward cycle of self-contempt.
So today, as my second child logs one month on this earth, I’m making a conscious decision not to beat myself up over these “missed moments,” because in reality, as a work-at-home dad, I get to experience ALL the moments first hand. Instead of wallowing in self-loathing every time my kid does something cute that I’m not able to capture, I’m going to vow to set aside at least one day a month to take photos for the scrapbook.
So this is the real reason my second child will be in less photos. Because I spend every day with him in person!
And I’d rather live in the moment than be constantly ripped out of it for fear of not being able to remember something with the crystal clarity of a photograph to remind me.
Maybe I’ll solicit help from some of my really talented friends to help capture some of the more special moments and milestones so I can participate in them. Like this one:
I don’t think I was even aware that this photo was taken. My friends are just that awesome.
So I’m not going to do is beat myself up because I somehow feel like I’m missing something when I’m not! Quite the opposite!
Parents out there, I’d love to hear about your experiences with a second child. Did you find yourself getting fatigued from the first and taking less photos the second time around? Or did you feel like you had it down to a science so number two got more and better on-camera attention?
Let me know in the comments or on my Facebook page!