Parents: Please Put Your Cameras Down and Enjoy Your Kids

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You might find this article hypocritical from a family that 1) takes tons of pictures of their children, 2) blogs about family and their children, and 3) owns a photography business but it must be said:

Parents, we are spending too much time behind the camera not truly enjoying the experiences of our children and… it’s making us rude!

We just got back from a great family holiday vacation on a cruise. During the trip our oldest daughter attended the children’s camp and they performed on several occasions for their family and friends during the cruise. It was during those performances that we realized just how much cameras can ruin family experiences! Here are a few things we witnessed:

  • Children were dancing blissfully with Dora the Explorer during a dance party. Mother stops the children from dancing so that the children can face her. Mother tells them to “do that other dance you were doing before”, then takes pictures and records.

The kids are having fun!!! Why is there a need to stop them from having fun to get the picture you wanted? Why not just get a picture of them as they are – doing what makes them happy. No need to stage your children for the perfect picture. There is perfection in their momentary glee!

  • Mother taking photos of her kid for the millionth time (standing in the same position) walks in front of another parent who is trying to see her child perform.

This one is a huge problem. Getting that perfect picture is so important that you would ruin the experience of another parent is unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE. If your kid is standing in one spot singing a song you really don’t need to take that picture more than once. Take a picture, put the camera down and enjoy the show like everyone else… pretty please!

  • Mother taking photos of her kid for the millionth time (standing in the same position) literally sits on the lap of another parent because she does not see her there.

This one really burns because the other parent was none other than Aisha GreenE. Yes, a parent was taking a picture of her child and while trying to get every angle she stepped on Aisha’s foot then sat square on her lap because she just did not notice that another person was around. Sigh. Put the camera down and pay attention to humans.

  • Mother stops watching her child actually perform to watch the video she took of the performance to upload to Instagram. 

So the kid is performing now, like right now, like now now but instead of enjoying the show … you are posting it before it is done. Instagram will not be going the way of Friendster in the next five minutes so watch your child perform in real time and post later because YOU ARE MISSING THE SHOW!

In our family we truly believe in chronicling our life in photos, printing and archiving them – we’ve even blogged about our appreciation of family photos.

But… too often we stop our children from having fun so we can take pictures of them having fun; we interfere with the enjoyment of others; and are motivated to post experiences rather than enjoy them.  We are actually losing out on quality moments, disruptive to one another and disruptive to our children in our quest for the perfect pictures. You can capture moments without the disruptions.

We are not just preaching to other parents, we are preaching to ourselves too… enjoy real life and reel life.

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Finding Daddy a Job.

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Daddy Greene has been out of work for seven months. To be more specific, he hasn’t had a full time job in his professional field for six months. When his last job ended, we had to explain to Lady C that daddy wasn’t going to be at that place anymore. The natural question was:

“Where will you be working now?”
 The not so natural answer was…
Nowhere…”
 
Lady C has experienced both her parents SWITCHING jobs. She was fine with saying goodbye to old work locations and meeting mommy and daddy’s new coworkers. For both of us, the “work family” became somewhat of an extended family and Lady C actually had friends among our colleagues. When we switched jobs, it was an opportunity for her to meet new people, it seemed.

 But this was different.

 There would be no new office to go visit.  No new coworkers.

 And now Daddy was home…All. The. Time.
Well in her eyes, there was only ONE thing to do!

 Find Daddy a job!

While Hayden combed the job boards, Lady C looked out the window and picked places that she saw.

“Why don’t you get a job at my school Daddy,” as Hayden dropped her off to school.
“Daddy, you could work here at Target,” when we went to buy something there.
“Maybe you could go to school to be a lab technician,” as she read an ad on the subway for a school that promised job placement.
“Daddy, why don’t you just go back to Barnard and get your old job?” (That was always his favourite)
But one question remained constant:
“Have you found a job yet Daddy?”
 
For the first month or two, it was cute: suuuuure Daddy can go work as a counter person at Dunkin Donuts. We should be able to pay the mortgage with that! But into month 4, and with prospects dwindling, those options didn’t sounds so ludicrous.
Hayden is blessed that he is also a freelance photographer so he was able to pick up the slack with jobs and assignments here and there but it was rough. It wasn’t made any easier by a 6 year old wondering why you haven’t found a job yet! But there were lessons here:
Why NOT look at Target? Maybe somewhere in corporate they need someone like you! Or better yet, maybe you might be really good as a store manager and you have missed your calling all these years. And that applied to everywhere. Job seekers get very myopic and forget about those all important “transferable skills”. Look outside your comfort bubble.
Sometimes going back does not equal going backwards. So you left that company for greener pastures. What is stopping you from going back if there is an opportunity there for you. This is not like getting back together with your ex! This is business and you have to make sure your emotions don’t block your blessings. PS this seems to be a good place to mention that you should never burn your bridges when you leave a job. I’m just saying…
Talk to your kids about how the world works. Our daughter didn’t understand that there isn’t a job tree from which you could just pluck the position that you want. All she knew is that mom and dad seamlessly transitioned from one job to another. She also had no concept of how depressing it can be when the child you are responsible for keeps reminding you that you still don’t have the means to support them fully. Using age appropriate language to give them a better picture of the world will serve them well later in life.
Lastly, develop ALL of your skills. As Hayden tells his students all the time, there are ALWAYS people who are willing to pay to do whatever your heart desires. You just have to find them. In the meantime, get good at “that other thing you do” and be ready to market it when the time comes. As long as he has a camera, Hayden will never really be unemployed but nobody was going to hire him if he didn’t hone his craft. Be self aware and figure out what other potential money earning talents you’re sitting on.
Dad was recently offered a position, ending the long drought. When we told our daughter that Daddy found a job, she just had one word to say…

“FINALLY”

Kids….