Every year around Mother’s Day, I like to challenge moms to put themselves in their photos for a period of two weeks. Why do we always leave ourselves out??? I know why. The kids are cuter. They’re not worried if their smile lines are too defined or if the angle they are standing is going to make their upper arms look huge.

Plus, we feel it’s our responsibility to document our family. But documenting sadly means that when our kids look back through our photos, it will look like we weren’t even there.

Leaving myself out of photos is not just something that happened when I became a mom. I have a long time affliction. Recently, my mom pulled out my old photo albums from high school and college and I swear, 95% of the photos were pictures that I took of my friends with no evidence of my involvement whatsoever. All my kids wanted to see were old photos of their mom and I was like— ummm… do you want to see pics of the girl who lived in the dorm room next to me? How about some shirtless guy that isn’t Dad?

I don’t even remember most of the people’s names!


In that moment, I wanted to roll back time, give the camera to a random person passing by and make sure I was in the middle of every single one of my pics. Big upper arms be damned.

In case you are extra camera shy, I like to give added incentive for moms to put themselves in their photos. This year it’s an $100 gift card to CVS Pharmacy every day for 14 days to moms who post pics on Instagram with the hashtag #PutMominthePhoto. That’s a total of 14 winners winning a total of $1400.

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As most of you know, I’ve been putting together my book for the past year, which in addition to the writing involves lots of pictures. When I was going over the first pass of the layout with my editor, she said, “I feel like you are missing from your book.”

She was right. I had tons of pics of Mazzy, Harlow and Mike, but I was oddly absent. Godamnit, I want to be in my own book!

I ended up going back through all my portable hard drives and old photo libraries and pulling every photo of me I could find. Luckily, I have done a few photo shoots for the blog in which my presence was required or else those pickings would have been even slimmer. I made a folder called “Pics of me” and gave a few to my editor for the book. Once they were all in one place, I realized— I LOVE THESE PHOTOS!!!! They show the love I have for my family and the love they all have back for me. You can’t see that when you are behind the camera.

Then I made a gift for myself, just for Mother’s Day. I took that folder, uploaded all the pics to CVS Photo and made myself an album. I am in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE.


Honestly, when I got the album back, it felt a little self-serving and ridiculous. But it’s also beautiful and shows me at my happiest. I created a premium layflat photo book, which in person, looks incredibly high quality with a hard cover, thick pages, full bleeds and great design. Not exactly what I’d expect from my local pharmacy.


You can easily create the books, as well as prints, posters, calendars, cards and special decor on the CVS Photo site and you can even get prints on-the-go right from the CVS Pharmacy Mobile app, available for same day pickup. A lot of the items can even be printed with same day service so you are not too late to make a Mother’s Day gift. (FYI, the premium layflat photo book takes 1-2 weeks.)

Make sure if you are printing a large high quality photo that after you hit “upload photos,” you click “upload preferences” in the bottom lefthand corner to select “full resolution.” Otherwise, it defaults to standard resolution.


Also, once you upload your high resolution photos, they are there forever in your account, so a few days later, I went back in and printed a large wood wall panel of our feet that is going to look great in our summer house.


I am very happy to have this album, even if it’s Ilana overkill. But you know who is going to appreciate it the most, I think?

My kids. One day, they’ll look back and know I was definitely there.

Maybe too much.

Don’t forget to hashtag your Instagram photos #PutMomInthePhoto for the next 14 days to win an $100 CVS gift card! There will one winner every day. You must follow both @mommyshorts and @CVSpharmacy to win.



And the winners are…

@wendymelissa, @mamaspotts, @demi365, @kelli_mdn, momarazzi412, @moricat, @natflylove, @akbaskett248, @wendybarry23, @peacelovencoffee, @wendi1976, @2creativesouls, @survivingtwins101, niknikboenigk

CONGRATS! Please contact to claim your prize