This project has been burning in my heart for the better part of a year now. It is not groundbreaking or really anything new at all. I wanted to photograph moms with their kids—not done up and dressed up, but just the real and simple beauty of motherhood and everyday life. I wanted to get them talking about who they are, as mothers and as women. I wanted to connect with these amazing ladies from various walks of life, and take the time to know a bit of who they are, hear what they think, and see their beauty. Because as moms we can feel so disconnected from one another and even from ourselves at times, but we all have love at our core, and that weaves us together and is beautiful.
My first shoot for the project was with Sondra, mom to Madee (6), Asher (2), and a precious little one due in October. She a huge part of the reason I stay sane in my own motherhood journey. I'm so grateful for this lady!
What is one of your favorite memories of Madee?
It happens every so often, because she keeps hitting new milestones. But there was one time, when she'd probably just turned two. I was putting her to bed, and we'd just finished our book and we were laying together and talking and she looked up and pointed to the fan and said "Fan goes around!", and I said "Yes you're right, that fan does go around!" But she was so little and was just learning how to speak, and it was the first moment that I realized that she and I could have conversations, and we had a whole conversation about our fan, and the room, and school that day.
How would you describe your unique parenting style?
I'm not even sure that it's unique. I think that it's based in love, and I think most parenting styles are based in love. So the way that I show love, might be different then the way someone else shows love. And that's what might make it unique. But ultimately, we're all just parents loving our kids. I don't know if it's really any different. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, sometimes it's crazy. But I feel like the gist of it is they know they're loved. So that's good.
What are your thoughts on retaining your identity when you become a mother?
I think that we go through phases. I think that motherhood inevitably changes you. You are still who you are, but you develop as a person. Motherhood is so impactful. At the same time every mom has to find that balance of being you and being mom, and where does that mesh? I find that for me it happened naturally, and it meshes really well. But sometimes when you start to feel like you're losing yourself, I think you have to come back to center and remind yourself of who you are and who you were before having kids. I don't think it's possible to be that person before kids anymore. I think it's literally impossible.
What are the most important values you want to pass on to your children?
I want them to value truth, and I want them to value love, and I want them to value respect and honor. Truth is a big one, I think. It's why I have the philosophy I have on education, and parenting- just being honest with my kids. And I just want them to feel loved and know what love is, and not just the false representation of love that we get from the world.
What are your biggest tips for balancing life as a mom?
Priorities. Figuring out what our priorities are. If our kids are our priorities, then they have to take precedence over the things that we want to do—over the things that distract us during the day. I'm finding that if I just focus on my children while they're present, then I can find time to do the other things that maybe aren't as important in my own time. But if you try to do them with your kids, everything turns into a disaster. Then your kids are only getting a part of you, and you're only giving part of yourself to the other things you want to do. So I think it's separating, and right now at least, just balancing.
What would your number one advice for a new mom be?
I think most of all, try not to have expectations. The expectations that we put on ourselves and on our kids really don't help us and just bring us down because we are only human, and our kids are only human. They can accomplish a lot and you can accomplish a lot, but you have to see what you can do. You have to see what you can handle, and not strive for something that is unobtainable. Maybe some of those things are obtainable, and thats fine too. But it's just a matter of finding that out, instead of expecting it to happen.