For the last five years … I’ve had the privilege of getting to know dozens of Moms through my work. Each one is different in their approach to having their family’s photos taken. Each one is different in the way that they describe their kids and their families in our phone consultations. Each one is different in her comfort level in front of my camera.
But I can tell you with overwhelming conviction that ALL of them share the common desire to be an amazing Mom. And with equal confidence I can tell you that each one of them achieves that in her own way.
There are a million and one reasons that I could tell you about why I love having the privilege of working with and being inspired by Moms. But there’s also something about it that both pains me to my core and inspires me to the root of my soul to combat it.
It’s the part when I get to my editing screen… spending hours looking at so many amazing photographs of authentically happy kids, hugs with a genuine love within them and a Mom with the look of love and happiness on her face… that I recognize that somewhere along the way, that Mom has dealt with some sort of struggle that has masked her ability to see all of the goodness that I get to see through my camera. And that’s heartbreaking.
And every year on Mother’s Day I go back through and look at the pictures I’ve taken of Moms since LAST Mother’s Day. And in seeing the collection of those images below – it’s a little overwhelming for me. Because these are women who I’ve come to know and appreciate for who they are as a person AND as the matriarch of their family. Women who I see just SHINING in these images. And yet I know that more than one of them looked through her gallery and saw all of her physical imperfections instead of everything that is perfect about the bond she has with her children.
And that at least one of them has locked herself in a bathroom and crumbled to the floor in tears after hitting her breaking point.
That at least one of them has a dream that she thinks about often, but feels like it would be selfish of her to go after it because it might be perceived as not putting her kids first.
That at least one of them, as a brand-new Mom, has had her four-day-old baby crying in her arms for 45 minutes… and breaks down in tears wondering how she’s ever going to be a good Mom if she can’t even figure out how to get her baby to stop crying.
That at least one of them has suffered through post partum depression but didn’t want to tell anyone for fear of what they might think about her because she’s always the one who “has it all together.”
That at least one of them has does something against her own maternal instinct because a book told her to.
That at least one of them has had the thought come into her head that her kids deserve a better Mom.
That at least one of them feels like her identity as a person has been buried underneath her new identity as a Mom. And she’s afraid she’ll never find it again.
And all of that breaks. my. heart.
Because what I get to see through my camera is none of that. I see everything that is good. Everything that she can’t see when she’s trying to “live up” to society’s expectations of what a Mom should be, when she should be trusting everything that’s in her gut. What I see is absolutely EVERYTHING that I want her to remember when she’s on the bathroom floor or wiping away an exhausted tear.
And when you all of YOU look at these pictures that are absolutely OOZING with mothering awesomeness… I want you to remember this too. Remember that each of these gorgeous women are trying so freakin hard to be an amazing Mom – and at some point – and maybe always – questions whether she is… despite seeing pictures like this in front of her.
So the next time you come in contact with another Mom … remember that somehow, someway … she struggles. That despite what her Facebook feed tells you … that the massive responsibility of raising little human beings takes a massive toll on her heart, soul and passion in life – because she wants so badly to do it well. So when you see her, find a way to compliment her. I don’t care if you know her. I don’t care if you tell her that you like her socks. Compliment her. Encourage her. Let her hear positivity. Remind her of her awesomeness.
And hopefully one day she’ll start to believe it.
Because the reality is… more than one of the kids in these pictures will give a speech at their wedding rehearsal about how much they appreciated all that their Mom did in their lives.
More than one of them will turn to her first when someone breaks their heart.
More than one of them will call her from college because they miss her and need to feel the comfort of home.
More than one of them will ask her for advice when they become a parent for the first time because they know what a great job SHE did as a parent.
And most importantly… ALL of them already know in THESE MOMENTS … that they lucked out in getting the best Mom they could have ever asked for.
To my incredible, gorgeous, strong and worthy PBB Moms this Mother’s Day… know that you are more than good enough. Tell yourself that in the mirror. Write it down. Or take these pictures and put them somewhere you can see them every day. So that you never, ever forget how much you absolutely ooze mothering awesomeness.
Love to you all.
*If you don’t see your picture here and were photographed by PBB since last Mother’s Day, it’s either because I am respecting your wish to not have your images posted, or that I inadvertently messed up! If the latter… please tell me!*