Find Your Asshole Brain’s OFF Button

Documentary , May 9, 2018

Quite often, what I demand (yes, demand) for Mother’s Day, is the be in pictures with my family.  It feels selfish and I never feel like I look ‘camera-ready’, trust me.  But Mother’s Day is one day that I feel like being a little selfish is okay.  And I want my kids to see their Mom there when they look back on their life.  


I don’t want to be invisible.


What I know for sure is that, no matter how imperfect I feel today or how I might cringe at some of the photographs that I am in, the important thing is that I am there, together with my kids & my husband.  My future self will look at these photographs of me years from now and only think how young she looks.  


Most importantly, my kids will see that their Mother values herself.  That’s important because kids follow our example. I want my kids to value themselves as they are, so I need to set that example for them, even when my ‘asshole brain’ argues otherwise.  (PS: ‘asshole brain’ = negative inner thoughts that keep you from knowing how awesome you are… stolen concept from Kristin Kalp).


Here’s a quote that says it better than I can:

“When we take pictures with our children, we are asserting ourselves as important and valuable, and our children are watching us.”

– Allison Tate (her article is HERE)

a mom and her two boys are throwing rocks into the river in kananaskis, allen bill ponds


The truth is that I have the same internal dialogue as most women do, when it comes to our looks, our value.  We are bombarded with pressure to look and be perfect, and I’d be lying if I said that it never affects me.  


I remember my Granny admonishing herself for her imperfections.  I’ve heard my Mom do the same thing.  I do it, too.  But it does not mean that we have to give this negative internal dialogue power over us and censor ourselves out of our memory books.  


Stop censoring yourself out of your kids’ memory books.  


I always wished that my Granny and my Mom could see that they were perfect to me and didn’t need to change anything.  I wished they would be kinder to themselves.  I would bet that our kids feel the same way about us.  


Be kinder to yourself.  

You are your child’s favourite person.  

They see themselves in you! 


I like having things – good and bad – in common with my family.  


I have had ‘laugh lines’ pretty much since birth.

My teeth look like Chiclets.

I almost always sport a double chin when I laugh.

My skin has VERY red undertones.

I have psoriasis spots all over my arms and legs.

I have tree trunk legs.


Now, let’s switch off the asshole brain for a sec and reframe this:


I love to laugh and you can tell by looking at my face – I was born happy!

My Dad has chiclets just like me, so does my twin sister and my nephew, Jer.  I quite like the space between my front teeth, too!

Ok.. I could do without the double chin… that is a tough one… but I love laughing more than I dislike my double chin, so there! 😉

My ruddy skin reflects my heritage of Northern Hemisphere folk from Sweden, Scotland, Ukraine.

My Granny had a few of the same psoriasis spots as me, and silly as it is, it makes me feel closer to her (she has been gone for years, and I miss her, spots and all).

My legs are strong and they never let me down!

A mother and her 6-year-old throw rocks into the river on a cold mothers day
a mother kiss the child she is holding in front of the river in kananaskis on mothers day


My kids have seen me at my ABSOLUTE WORST.  Like, WORST.  


And they love me anyway.  


In fact, if I put in the slightest effort to dress up, they think I look like a Princess.  


And when I want to go to Allen Bill Ponds in Kananaskis for Mother’s Day, even though it’s freezing cold AND RAINING, they darn well make it happen for me.


So, why listen to my ‘asshole brain’, when I could listen instead to the most important people in the whole wide world?  


Bye bye, asshole brain.  I’m turning you OFF.


I need to see myself through my children’s eyes, or at least try.


So, this Mother’s Day, recognize the important role that you play in your family’s life and put yourself in the frame.   


You’ll be glad you did. 


– Allie xo


PS: Photo credit goes to my wonderful husband, Brandon.

mothers day at allen bill ponds in kananaskis a mother carries her son, he has a dandelion in his grasp

I'm Alison:)  I'm a documentary family photographer based in Calgary, Alberta.  

If you feel like something has been missing from your family photographs, it just might be authenticity.  

I specialize in creating beautiful storytelling images of real family life.  I believe in preserving family history.  It's not about perfection.  It's about real life.  Real life is MORE INTERESTING - I promise you.  

Families hire me so that they can have memory-invoking photographs, professionally finished and in their hands.  If that sounds like you, please get in touch!

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