As a newborn photographer, I saw mothers come into my studio during the strangest time of their lives. It’s true. After having a baby, every single thing about your being changes. In a literal flash. No matter if it’s your first, second, or eighth baby. And that newborn time is an incredible time for a mother. It’s full of contrast. Sleepiness and excitement. Extreme joy and sometimes extreme sadness. Where your baby is 100% dependent on you, but you might be 100% dependent on your husband or partner to take care of you. Wary eyes but a giant, content, love-filled smile across your face. It’s a blur, and that’s not a cliche, it’s the truth. (Plus those hormones are a bi#@h.)
I’ve gotten to that stage in life when I can relate so much to my mother. Which is a strange feeling. Because A) It makes me feel old and B) it’s not something I ever imagined I could do. Now, in the last few years, since I became a mother myself, I began to understand. But growing up, and as a spoiled teenager (that converted into a crazy selfish 20 something), my brain was only focused on me. And I get it. I get so much now.
I understand the love and the sacrifices. I understand that she wasn’t perfect. I understand she is human. I understand that she had choices to make and bills to pay and 2 other children to take care of and worry about. I know she never took care of herself and that she was always last on the totem pole. I see her now. I see her as a person, not someone who is there to do something for me or give me something. But it took probably 29 years to begin to get there.
Now that I’m almost 35, there is another shift in thoughts and feelings. And some of them are directly related to my mom. She was my age when she was pregnant with me. And for a split second (really, the tiniest nanosecond) I thought about having another baby. But then I decided that was not what was best for our family, for my husband, but mostly for myself. I want to take care of me. I want to take care of my mind, my body, hell, even my hair. I want to shower more than 2-3 times a week! And I know I can do all of that, and still be a good mom to my boys, and still provide them with everything they need.
I think back to the moment right after each of my son’s was born. That instant where I changed as a human. Turned more into the person I was meant to become. I didn’t realize it at the time, what was happening to me. That exhaustion and excitement kicked in and 100% of my focus was no longer on me. I try to think about my own mother, wondering who she was moments before I came into the world. I have only a few photos of myself with my boys during the newborn stage. I took a few myself on a tripod or with a self timer. I regret not hiring someone. I have no photos with my mother when I was a baby.
But no, this is not a “hire me or you’ll regret it later” post. At all. It’s a post to say thank you. To my own mother. To my grandmothers. My sisters. My best friends. To all of you who are mothers. Thank you. We are all a community. Who give each other sympathetic smiles in the target aisle when our kids are breaking down. We are a community that doesn’t judge when our hair is a mess and we accidentally only wore 1 earring that day. Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for working your ass off to make sure your kids are good people. We are all in this together.
This post is also a reminder to take some time for yourself. NOT because it’s almost Mother’s Day, (I mean, every day should be freaking Mother’s Day). But because you deserve it. Everyone deserves it, even those who are not mothers. It’s that we tend to feel guilty. Guilty for putting ourselves first. Guilty for spending time or money on ourselves. Sometimes we feel we need permission to do these things. You have it. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Because when you do, your family thrives more. Your business/job thrives more. Your children thrive more. And your hair will look amazing. 😉