Two years ago, I was asked to participate in a photography project about motherhood. I was told right up front that it was not going to be the Christmas card version of motherhood – you know what I’m talking about. The one that requires three wardrobe changes and 100 different versions of the same picture just to get the PERFECT picture. Which then needs to be fun through every filter you can find on Instagram before finally being presented to the world as “TA DA!”
Nope. I’m talking about the every day motherhood. Taking your kids to school AND picking them up still in your pajamas because you ran your company from the kitchen counter while they were gone and never got around to changing your clothes. Or brushing your teeth. You managed to get some laundry done and maybe slapped something together for dinner. Your house is far from clean. You life is far from magazine-perfect. But your family is LOVED beyond measure and realizes the importance of that instead of clean socks. They know that you would stand in front of a train for them. And despite the one thousand things that are rolling around in your brain that you and only you are responsible for taking care of, you will throw it all aside if they come to you and say, “Mom, I need you.”
Yeah, it was that kind of project and I was all in.
The photographer came to the house and for my photo shoot and took pictures of me in the space I had just finished creating for myself to work, in the first home I had ever purchased as a single woman. I was nervous and self-conscious and wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I wasn’t dressed up – leggings and my favorite tee-shirt, hair in a pony tail. It’s what I wore every day. I typed. I started out the window. I thought about my Dad. It was super quick, and then we were done. I knew that it would be a year or so before all of the participants were photographed, plus we were all asked to submit a few words about what motherhood means to us to accompany our picture.
Last weekend was the official “unveiling”. Thirty-four moms participated in the project, and I’m really honored to have been included. It was amazing to walk around and see everyone’s reality – and read their story of motherhood. Among the pictures and stories, there was definitely a common thread ~ we are warriors, entrepreneurs, multi-taskers, dreamers, leaders and are determined to teach our children by doing AND saying. It was incredibly moved to have a few people seek me out to share with me that my picture and story resonated with them, and that they felt a connection to it.
My sweetheart purchased a copy, of which the proceeds will be going to the WAR Chest Boutique/Women at Risk, International.
So here it is . . . . . .
The story underneath says:
“Discovering who I was and what was important in life didn’t happen until my marriage ended and I lost my father – both right before my 40th birthday. Being a single mother with two small children at home, no college education, and a resume that was outdated by ten years forced me to look in the mirror and find a plan. I could sit and wallow, or I could figure it out. Either way, the sun would rise and set and those girls needed a functional mother. And I needed to find a way to survive. Literally.
What I discovered is that I was brave enough to make choices for myself without standing in another’s shadow. Without living my life solely at the support and care of another. It was okay to be me; an individual with thoughts and dreams, interested in learning and growing and doing things that scared the crap out her along the way even if it meant failing. I found out that I was strong enough to handle the worst that life could hurl at me. Deep inside I found a student, a writer, an entrepreneur, a public speaker, and a mentor to other women who were looking to blaze their own path. These things that make me a better individual make me a better mother, and the kind of mother I want to be for my kids. Engaged and connected with them. Interested in empowering them to choose the scary path and know that they are supported even if they fail.
I am grateful for the kind of woman I am now, and the kind of mother I have chosen to be. I would never know who I was as a woman or a mother if my life had taken a different turn. No day is easy, and we don’t talk about “balance”. Some days are more about the kids than it is work, and vice versa. But I’ve found a way to blend being a mother and being an individual woman; and that is truly one of my life’s greatest blessings.”