I Made a Mistake…

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This photo was taken in a tiny spare room, with a bedsheet hung over a curtain rod.

I made a mistake, truly.

I waited for almost ten years from the first time I bought my own camera to start pursuing my passion without abandon.
Don’t get me wrong, I pursued it at first – a bit naively – but when I hit my first few obstacles I gave up.

I let people tell me that I wasn’t talented enough, didn’t do it correctly, didn’t have the right equipment.
But everyone who told me that left off the most important word.

Yet.

I didn’t have all of the skills, talent, and equipment YET.
And foolishly I let the idea that a someday studio, a someday fancy camera – a someday everything – stop me from continuing.

I let what I had, or rather what I thought I lacked, stop me from chasing my dream.

This new headshot for my website was taken in a small spare room, with the equipment I have, and a bedsheet hung on a curtain rod, ya’ll! (pictured below). It was edited on an Acer laptop that is slooooow some days. I didn’t go to photography school, I don’t have a studio, and I’m learning new things on the DAILY. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’ll never get there if I’m too embarrassed or scared to start with what I have.

You cannot wait until you have everything you want to start chasing everything you want!

When I picked up my camera again 6 months ago, I determined to change that way of thinking.

I have learned more in the last six months, and gone further towards my dream because I stopped letting my circumstances dictate my ability.

What is your dream?

Do you want to be a marathon runner? Stop waiting for the expensive Nikes and the lululemon leggings, and start with what you have. A strong, capable body.

Do you want to be a YouTube Makeup Artist? Stop waiting for the fancy ring light and buckets of Sephora and start with what you have, even if that’s just an Ipsy bag and an iPhone.

Do you want to own a bakery? Stop waiting for an upgraded kitchen and that $600 standing mixer and start with what you have. If you have an oven and some mixing bowls, you’ve got this!

Do you want to be a photographer? Stop waiting on the perfect studio and the Mac book Pro. Use the equipment you have, be creative and make it happen.

One of the most important things you could ever know about chasing your dreams is this:

It’s not about what you have.

It’s about what you do with what you have.

So stop waiting, use whatever you have, and get out there and do it.

 

 

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The fancy studio that made this image possible.
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Straight out of camera
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Final Image

This is to the Perfect Mothers

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This is to the mothers who judge me.

The mothers who – after a long day of being perfect – settle down into their unstained couch and pick up their phone and turn to Facebook for their allotted 15 minutes of screen time.

The mothers who briefly stop gazing at the crisp vacuum lines in their carpet, just long enough to be horrified by another post where I share my reality.

The mothers who fight back the urge to act on their righteous indignation and comment on how awful it is that my child has recently consumed a piece of cheese that may or may not have been on the floor for an unknown length of time.

This is to you.

I see you. And if ever there is a Mrs. Mom of the Universe contest, I’ll be sure to promptly phone the government to personally nominate you as the winner.

Until then, let’s just assume that title belongs to Mary (Mother of Jesus) and continue on.

As you sit there, reading this post – likely dusting off your typing fingers to work up a response or sending up a quick prayer for my children – I need you to know a few things.

First and foremost, I am a good mother. I’ve come to the conclusion that bad mothers and wives aren’t really worried about whether or not they’re bad. They don’t struggle through some parts of motherhood, because they aren’t there being mothers.

I worry about my child, I pray for him every single day, I take him to church on Sundays, and I love the stuffin’ out of him. I spend hours on the floor playing with toys and mooing like a cow. I’ve read the same books probably seventy-four times a piece by now. I also sometimes let my kid cry when I’m busy and can’t let the chicken burn just because he wants to be held, I have been known to let him watch baby shark so I can take a shower without playing peek-a-boo and getting the floor soaking wet, and I’ll fess up to immediately saying “Your turn” when my husband gets home. I may not be perfect like you, but I am a good mother.

Second point that I hope you can understand: you aren’t required by law to love every second of motherhood. I know you’re gasping in disbelief right now, and it hurts your sensibilities as the perfect mother that you are – bear with me for a moment. I absolutely adore my child. I was blessed with a beautiful, miraculous gift from God. I enjoy my time with him. He is smart and clever and wildly entertaining.

But sometimes being a mom is not fun. Not even “not fun,” sometimes it downright sucks. Sometimes it’s four in the morning and I just desperately want to sleep, and he believes that it would be the perfect time to figure out how much force it takes to pry open my eyelids with one finger. Sometimes he gets sick and messes his britches fifteen times in one day, and I don’t have the wherewithal to sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” while plugging my nose. Some days, many days, the joy that is Post-partum anxiety plops down on my couch and just won’t move. It’s not always rainbows and bacon. That is okay. It is so okay, it shouldn’t even have to be said. It should just be universally acknowledged that it’s OKAY.

It feels like with that admission, people react as though you said you begin every day by telling your toddler that he has about 6,000 days before he needs to put in an application at the local McDonalds and get the heck out. I am desperate for these days to last forever. I wouldn’t trade my crazy life for anything, but I can love motherhood without loving every second of it.

Lastly, and most importantly, my motherhood is not dependent on your approval. My children are clean, happy, and healthy. They are well-fed, with the exception of possibly some less than stellar cheese. My title doesn’t get stripped just because you believe you could do it better.

Feel how you want to feel about my choices, continue to judge me, talk about how you “would never” and “how could she” to your hearts content. Whisper, gossip, and voice your concern. But know this:

If all you get out of my openness is a concern for whether I co-sleep or don’t, vaccinate or don’t, plan to homeschool or not, feed my kid processed or organic, breastfeed or bottle-feed, enforce no screen time or have a baby-shark marathon, or any endless number of variables in the way I choose to mother my children – I’m not for you. But if you hung in this long and you still want to judge me. Don’t judge, sis. Just pray. And when you’re done praying, go read 1 Thessalonians 4:11. It’s a good one.

I don’t like the idea of being judged, it’s hard to stomach. But I put myself out there anyway because I feel called to be open with who I am. I don’t always do it prettily, or perfectly. Maybe I don’t always say the right things in the right way, but I put it out there anyway.

I do it because I feel like I need to be here for the mothers who need companionship not criticism.

The mothers who need to know that they aren’t terrible for sometimes thinking their kid is annoying. The mothers who feel inadequate because all they have to compare their motherhood to is a photoshopped picture in Parenthood magazine. The mothers who think that real life – real, raw, not always pretty life – means that they are failing.

You are not a failure. You are a mother who is doing a great job of giving it her best.

God knew what he was doing when he gave you your children.

He assigned you this laundry mountain to show other mothers that it can be moved.

So go move it.

Later, though.

It can wait until after you catch up on the Bachelor.

This is Motherhood.

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This is motherhood.

Real, naked, undone, unmade – Motherhood.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to be vulnerable. Not just that fake “this is my life, but I secretly filtered and zhuzhed it up a little” stuff, but really, truly vulnerable. If I’m honest, I originally wanted a super precious photo of us together that I could put a sweet quote with about how perfect being a mom is. But that’s not what I got, and if I’m honest, that’s not what’s real. If I only shared the best parts of my life, who would that serve?

I have no doubt that if you looked closely at my life, you’d find an ample amount of flaws to judge or criticize.

Tired eyes, messy hair, imperfect skin. Postpartum anxiety. A body that didn’t go directly back to pre-pregnancy status. The crying toddler that clearly wants no part of this photo.

This is my tiny human that is no longer mine, but his own – two feet tall with a six-foot attitude. This is a person that I have recently asked to stop eating a loofah.

Sometimes it’s amazing and I feel like a supermom.
Sometimes I just feel like a zookeeper herding around a tiny animal, trying desperately to anticipate whatever wild thing he’s going to do next.

I’m learning each day how to care for my people without sacrificing caring for myself. Each day my patience is tested, my faith is required, and my heart is filled.

Even though this thing is literally (literally) the best thing I’ve ever done – it’s also the hardest.

Motherhood isn’t just the state of being a mother – it’s a group that we all belong to. It is the relationship, the encouragement, the advice, the love that we should be giving to each other as fellow moms. It should mean that we come together in solidarity and community instead of tearing each other apart for our differences.

Because, at our core, we are all the same:

Stay-at-home, go-to-work, organic, processed, vaccinated, unvaccinated, vaginal birth, cesarean, birth mother, adopted mother, home-school, public school, breastfed, bottle-fed, cloth diapered, pampered – IT DOES NOT MATTER.

No matter who you are, or how you raise your children, motherhood is the same for all of us in so many ways.

It is imperfect, and sometimes ugly, it’s hard, and complicated, and fun, and beautiful, and we’re all just trying to figure out how to raise strong, healthy, confident children, and do it without making too much of a mess of it.

This is motherhood and we are mothers.