For the first time in years, Allison Tate will pose alongside her children for a photo that will be featured in her family’s annual Christmas card.
She will do this in spite of her “crazy” post-partum hair and the extra pounds that have lingered on her body since her last pregnancy.
She will do this for her four children, because she loves them and because she wants to reverse an unfortunate habit she’s acquired over the years: leaving herself out of her children’s photos.
“I think we’ll do anything for our kids and we don’t realize that is denying them something, a piece of us,” she told ABC News.
Tate, 38, of Longwood, Fla., is the author of a column that has gone viral this week: “The Mom Stays in the Picture.” Posted late Tuesday morning on The Huffington Post, her essay has already amassed more than 640,000 page views, more than 100,000 shares over Facebook and nearly 300,000 likes.
In the piece, Tate explains how she overcame her reluctance to appear in photos during a party last month, when her 5-year-old son Ben asked for her to join him in a photo booth.
Tate told ABC News that she has hundreds of photos of herself from college, but very few after becoming a mother, namely because as she focused more on her children, her own appearance took on a “cobbled together” look.
“We don’t always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up, perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to just take their pictures, we think…” she wrote in her column. “But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don’t like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?”
Tate says that since the column’s publication, she has since been flooded with messages from supportive friends and strangers. Some have sent missives so touching, she said, they’ve made her cry.
“It’s beyond anything I could have ever imagined,” she said.
The outpouring has come not just from women, but also men, she said, who said they wished they had pictures of their own mothers.
Parents have told her, she said, that they’re going to make an effort to be in more photos with their children so that their own kids don’t feel deprived of precious memories later in life.
“People are saying it’s changing their lives, which is incredibly humbling,” Tate said. “That they’re hoping to change the way they think, that this is a shift in their perspective.”
Tate, meanwhile, concedes that her own efforts to “stay in the picture” are a work-in-progress and that she hasn’t appeared in many more photos since she first wrote the column. But she draws inspiration from her grandmother, whom Tate recently snapped in a photo holding Tate’s infant daughter.
“She’s 84, her hair was in curlers, she was wearing a housecoat, holding that baby, smiling as big as I can imagine,” she said. “If she had said ‘No, don’t take that picture, my hair is in curlers,’ I wouldn’t have that moment.”
“It’s one of the pictures I love the most right now.”