Courtesy of Allison Cooper

Yes, I Force My Kids To Pose For Photos, But I Don't See A Problem With That

Ad failed to load

If you look through my Instagram feed at any given moment, you'll probably see photos of my 8-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter. I absolutely love having as many photos of my kids as possible on hand, because I want to preserve my memories of them forever and ever. But I will say that I probably take more photos of them than the average mom does. Yes, I force my kids to pose for photos, but I don't see a problem with that.

I am a professional blogger in the parenting space. Being a professional blogger gives me almost any excuse to catch my kids cheesing it up for the camera. I have my phone pretty much attached to my hand at all times, and sometimes I'll hire a professional photographer once or twice a month to snap images that I’m just not talented enough to take myself. I love getting the photos back, scrolling through and choosing which images to share.

You might be thinking that my profession means I exploit my kids for money, but that’s totally not the case: I only take on campaigns that work with our normal family routine and our lifestyle. But I also know what my audience likes to see, reacts to and engages with. They love beautiful images of our family out and about in New York City, sharing our favorite outfits and products. And sometime, yes, this involves me forcing my kids to pose for pictures when they don't necessarily want to. But even if my kids (especially my son) put up a fuss while the photos are being taken, they love looking at the finished product and seeing our family in the photos.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of Allison Cooper

There are definitely pros and cons that come with sharing photos of your kids on social media, and it's something every parent seems to have a different opinion about. I have a friend who decided to take her kids off her blog completely, or she'll only ever show the backs of their heads. As parents, we aren't oblivious to issues like internet privacy. We try to protect our children both online and offline, and if they want to opt out, that's their decision completely.

I want my family to look at old photos and remember the fun times we had. I don't want them to remember me constantly snapping away, looking to get that perfect shot.
Ad failed to load

My kids can certainly opt out of taking photos for my blog if they so choose. Obviously the baby doesn’t have much of a choice at this point, but once my older son says, “Enough is enough,” he’s allowed to bow out. In fact, this just happened with a brand that sells clothing that caters more to younger children. My son came to me and said that he didn’t want to be a part of those campaigns anymore. He claimed that he wanted his sister to be the star of the blog post, but I suspect it was because he's outgrowing the types of clothes the brand sells and he didn't want to be in a "baby campaign." Either way, I respected his wishes.

Courtesy of Allison Cooper

There's a reason why I'm so gung ho about taking photos of my kids, and it's not just because of my job. When I look at pictures of my son when he was a baby, I feel like I missed out on capturing some memories of his early childhood, especially because I'm missing from most of the photos. When our second child was born, I vowed that I would make up for lost time and capture more memories of her early years than we did the first time around. I also promised that I would actually try to be present in those photos.

Ad failed to load
There's always this little fear in the back of my mind that I’ll miss out on capturing something important.

My friend once told me a story about her childhood that always weighed heavy on me. Growing up, her parents never took baby pictures of her and her siblings. Imagine that: she has no photographic evidence of her childhood and no memories at all. I couldn’t believe that she had no tangible idea of what she had looked like as a baby. Now, there's always this little fear in the back of my mind throughout the day that I’ll miss out on capturing something important.

Courtesy of Allison Cooper
Ad failed to load

At the same time, however, taking so many photos is exhausting. I feel like I always need to be “on” and dress the kids cute for photos. I strive to achieve a balance between experiencing the memories themselves, and taking photos of them. I want my family to look at old photos and remember the fun times we had. I don't want them to remember me constantly snapping away, looking to get that perfect shot. So it’s a double-edged sword.

My kids are the world to me and they're growing up way too fast, so forcing them to pose for pictures has been my way of holding onto them before they’ve reached another milestone. I can only hope that when they’re all grown up, they can look back and appreciate all the memories they have. I know that I will.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

5 Parenting Habits That Increase Your Chances Of Successfully Potty-Training Your Child

From starting solids to learning to walk, every childhood milestone presents its own unique set of challenges — but this is especially true of potty training. Indeed, the very thought strikes fear into the heart of many a toddler parent, particularly…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Getting Pregnant Might Mean Losing The Plus-Size Body I Love

For the last two years, I haven’t been my body’s biggest champion. I’ve gained 50 pounds. The stress of helping a parent get sober, a house purchase, and a new job got the best of me. But now, at 36, with talks between my husband and I about having a…
By Loren Kleinman

7 Hilarious Differences Between Having A Baby In Your 20s Vs Your 30s

I was 24 when I had my daughter. And even though that pregnancy was neither expected nor pleasant, I was optimistic. Sure, I guess your 20s are "supposed" to be about finding yourself, finishing college, starting your career, and navigating less-than…
By Candace Ganger

Babies "R" Us Was The First Place I Went When I Found Out I Would Be A Mom

For years I struggled to have a baby, and the sight of toys and layettes made my heart hurt. For me, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us were a complete no-go zone, a reminder of everything I was missing out on. My mom would walk the long way around Target…
By Becky Bracken

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger