MamaLA: Confessions of A Guilty Mama Part One: Photobooks


Photobooks. We said it. Are you having heart palpitations? We are. We may appear to have it together, but when it comes to archiving our children’s lives in an organized fashion, we are, gulp, failing. That’s how it feels, anyway, and a little voice inside us wants to yell “Not fair!” We show up to every game, birthday, and school event with our cameras, iPhones, and iPads at the ready. We even share the highlights on Instagram and with grandparents, but from that point on, those beloved captured moments, childhood milestones, and family vacations remain stuck on our hard drives or, if they were captured pre-iPhoto, printed and boxed away.

Soraya was celebrating a friends’ daughter’s birthday recently when the hostess shared a beautiful photobook marking her daughter’s fourth year. As the book was passed amongst the mamas, looks of longing, envy, and guilt crossed each face. Soraya recognized the feelings because she was having them herself. She leaned towards her beyond organized friend Heather and asked if her photos were in albums or books. Heather laughed, “Mine are in bins in the garage.” Phew. Another friend, Suzanne, always on top of her mommy game, visibly slumped as she considered all of her own intentions that never manifested into photobooks, either. She made Soraya promise to tell her if she started her books. She wasn’t going to be the last one with kids shuffling through boxes of fading baby pictures.

Why the guilt? We’re doing a pretty great job of parenting our kids with love and respect while managing our family’s lives. Why do we subject ourselves to self-criticism over photobooks? Our partners certainly aren’t worrying about it. Soraya shared the nagging remorse with her husband, Mark. His response, “Who cares?  I’m not losing any sleep over not having photobooks.” For him, this falls under the same category as Thank You notes.  Maybe he’s right.

To all of you mamas who have turned your families’ memories into books for all to enjoy, we envy you, and ask you to share your secret. Do you sleep? Which wee hours are spent organizing your kids’ pix? Until revealed, we will continue to document every waking moment of our children’s lives, hoping someday we will have wide open afternoons to carefully create perfect books. Or, we will hand our tech savvy kids outdated external hard drives and beg for their forgiveness.


With seven children ranging in age from six months to sixteen years between them, sisters and bloggers Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Soraya Delawari Dancsecs are experts at parenting in L.A. They take a break from PTA board meetings, cooking, and producing films to blog at CityThink each Thursday.