Our family at its finest, chasing wildflower. Borrego Springs, Super Bloom of March 2017.
Over four and a half years, I had a baby. For the first year of her life, and nearly all of the 2nd, I participated in a photo project I stumbled upon scrolling through Instagram in either 3rd trimester insomnia or 4th trimester night feedings. I began blogging a photo of her, and often some words, once a week, every week. I did this consistently for her first year of life, and much of her 2nd, too. It was an easy way to document my journey into motherhood, her milestones, the adventures of our family.
The project also reignited my passion for photography. I forced myself to let go of the constant access to quick and easy photos a phone offers, and pick up my camera to capture deliberate more intentional moments. I worked on honing my craft again. I shared my images, and made space and time to gather and write about motherhood and parenting. Writing has always been cathartic for me.
Over time, which for me meant returning to work, having another child... that blog was long neglected. I kept taking photos of my kids, taking photos of other families, some brand and editorial photography, continued writing in google docs or occasionally sharing rambling throughs on Instagram, but always to the side and 2nd priority of the rest of my juggle.
Now here we are. Old friends inspiration, motivation & opportunity have found me again. They are gifts. To celebrate my return to online journaling I'm sharing one of the first essays I posted 4 years ago (reflection is a powerful tool, THIS is why I journal).
"On Being Mama"
I am 5 months into this new life of being a Mama. Grateful for so much it overwhelms me. I want to reflect on this transition because I am certain motherhood; what it means to be a mom, how you feel about being a mom, is always in transition. These are feelings I want to remember.
Old Me / New Me
Motherhood comes on quickly. Even though you know it's coming, from one day to the next, you go from not having a baby to having a baby. And your #1 job is to take care of that baby. So that’s what you do (all the time). You’re the same you, but your entire world has shifted overnight. Being a mom is so new to me I catch myself with the feeling of my old self. My pre-baby self. I wonder if these moments slowly stop existing or if I’ll always have a faded memory of what it was like before I was Mama.
Running to the grocery store by myself and I suddenly think “ohhhh yea, I have a BABY.”
Wakeboarding and I feel great floating in the lake. The water is so refreshing. I wait for the boat to pull me up. And then we’re going, I feel strong and athletic. I look towards everyone in the boat, “whoa! that’s my BABY in there and she’s watching me wakeboard, and here I am, still doing the things I’ve always done!”
Or with good dear friends, friends I’ve known since I was five years old. And we’re sitting around after Lu has gone to sleep. We’re having a glass of wine and we’re talking about Lucy, my daughter, and it’s crazy because I HAVE A DAUGHTER.
Your (own) Baby’s Shit Don’t Stink
Truth be told I had changed approximately 2 diapers before Lu was born - and one of those times I put the diaper on backwards (as in, I really, seriously, couldn’t figure it out...) I was certain changing diapers would become a dreaded task and honestly nervous about it in a I-don’t-want-to-resent-my-baby kinda way. My niece had a terrible stomachache this last Thanksgiving when I was about 7 months pregnant. My sister and brother-in-law woke-up to her happily reading a book one morning - diarrhea smeared all over her little body (and the bed). They had to clean it and her. I was horrified. This could have been MY child, and MY mess to clean. Yikes. I had similar anxiety about getting a dog. I wanted one badly. But picking up poop? And dog hair and the pet dander? Ugh.
Today, I can happily report picking up dog poop AND changing diapers come very naturally to me (with the exception of picking up dog poop while pregnant - that made me very sick on more than one occasion). I’m completely un-phased by the nastiest of nastiest liquidy, blow-outs (even when it gets on my hands!) and I’ve actually told people that “Lucy’s poop really doesn’t smell.” (I will most certainly revisit this comment once she starts solids...)
Sometimes I Want Someone To Just-Tell-Me-What-To-Do
There are so many questions and decisions that come with parenthood. A whole slew of really big decisions mixed in a gazillion small ones. It’s stressful, especially if you’re indecisive. Suddenly every decision you make doesn’t just affect you, but this incredible tiny little being you created and care about more than anything else in the entire world. The small choices feel heavier than they should, and the big ones feel almost impossible, at least to me. Universally, I think we all just want the best for our babes.
In some areas I want decisions all for myself. To do some research, be informed, lull it over with as much time as my Jason and I need, make choices based on what we, as the parents, think is best for us, our child, our family. In other areas I am all for taking the advice of others. Creating an archive of trusted sources and defaulting to their experience, inspiration and research they’ve already done. Perhaps this is advice I’d give to new moms, new parents. Choose who you want to listen to (which family members, friends, bloggers, experts, companies you trust) and who you want to filter out. Simplify where you can by just taking the advice of your trusted circle, and spend that time to research yourself in areas that are most important to you.
The Mama Membership Bond
I’ve been taking Lucy to a baby-and-me yoga class. I love exposing her to movements of yoga (even if just by observation for now) and the class is also a supportive environment of like-minded women. Recently the teacher had the room answer the question what you love about being a mom. The bond amongst us; as mothers, women, friends, was a common reply. I couldn’t agree more. I’m finding myself to be more open, honest, friendly to total strangers (my sanity relies on it... I need a village!). My relationships with other mothers in my life have become stronger (with my own mom and my sisters, especially). I’m so completely inspired by the community of women raising children & pursuing their passions, or careers, in my own neighborhood and the online community. I find myself taking my membership quite seriously!