I don't know what to do with my hands
Thou doth protest too much! After a few minutes of bribing parents with candy to stop stiffly looking at me like American Gothic I ask them to do something truly awful- make out or dance! Heck portraits are AWKWARD I am in total agreement and I get it! I really do!! I am SO awkward. If you have met me, you know this.
Do it anyway. MAKE OUT in front of the kids!
(Pro tip from a wife: make portrait day easy for your partner. Help make this as happy and easy session as you can or at least be pleasant and friendly...it may work out for you. It will certainly make for a faster is-it-over-yet session. Maybe a more relaxed family and wife! This is a family blog post so I will just wink and nudge and let you figure the possibilities of that cryptic message out.)
I sincerely do not mean to be harsh to dads. I feel for you. I know it is an uncomfortable place. That what do I do with my hands Ricky Bobby quote. That's for real, that's how it feels. Weird. Like my legs don't know how to bend, and my head feels like a bobblehead, what am I even doing, why is this person staring at me. Joking aside those awkward feelings are legit! Your collar is itchy as all and now this strange lady wants to gawk while you make out with your wife? The kids are laughing and you have no idea how to feel natural in this mess much less smile naturally. So stop trying! Unless I specifically ask you to look at me you have my permission to just look at your partner- and breathe. Please don't forget that. You know each other the best right? Best friends?
So look deep into her eyes, lean your body close, and softly whisper in her ear "oh my God this is so stupid why are you making me do this?"
And the LAUGH. Embrace the weirdness and channel the awkward feelings- the laughs look amazing! We have been conditioned that laughs and our smiles look weird. Lies all lies! And while you're faking it just happens, and the joy is real. The silliness becomes genuine. And maybe even accidentally fun!