To the Women in My Life
Dear All You Beautiful Women Out There:
You. Yes, you. Did you think I wasn't writing to you because of the word "beautiful"? Look, I get it... I'm the same way. It's a miracle if I wash my hair every other day. It's an astonishment if I wear something other than jeans and a t-shirt (or leggings and my non-crazy patterned Irma. You get it.). My kids do not get a bath every day. Sometimes, their dinner consists of chicken nuggets and Kraft mac and cheese... for the second day in a row. My house has dust and pet hair so often it loos like tumbleweed blowing in the desert. My floors are dirty. My stovetop... forget it. Did I mention that my clean laundry has been sitting in the laundry basket on my floor for 4 days now?
I get it. Some days you just want to curl up on the couch in your sweatpants and hoodie, a giant mug of coffee or hot chocolate by your side, wrapped in a blanket, pillows everywhere, and watch your favorite episode of "Gilmore Girls" or read that book that you've been DYING to finish. I get it.
These things... these daily tasks... the daily struggle to remember, "Did I feed the cats this morning?" or "Oh my God, I forgot his library book at home AGAIN" intertwined with "What the hell am I going to make for dinner tonight?" and "Shoot, kindergarten registration happened ALREADY??" is daunting. Throw in a little "My grocery list is getting longer and longer..." and "Did I email my boss about that project?" and the whole "my kid did what to WHO??" and it can be overwhelming.
I get it. I'm there. I am this Mom. I have moments of "Oh, sh*t" on a daily basis where I feel like I've failed. Maybe my family. Maybe my job. Maybe I forgot to kiss my husband as he walked out the door in the morning and now all I can think of is "something is going to happen to him today and I forgot to kiss him". Yes, things like this go through my brain ALL. THE. TIME. But one of the main areas where I feel like I fail on the most is myself.
You are beautiful. I am beautiful. And now that I've told you this, we can all just believe it, right?? Yay!!! Problem solved!! If only it were that easy. It's so hard to believe people when they tell you something nice. Especially when it's the "B" word. Ever since I've started on this photography journey, I've noticed more and more how hard it is for people to accept my compliments when taking their picture. They always come up with some excuse... "Oh, I just threw this on last minute", or "HA, you're funny!", or my favorite line... "You say that to everybody". I get it. I would say the same thing.
Well, confession time ladies and gentlemen: I do say it a lot. Not because I think it's a good thing to say. But because I MEAN it a lot. I see all that effort that went into this quick photo shoot. I see how you meticulously picked out everyone's outfits to look just right. How you fixed your hair better than you have for any date night over the last six months. How you're wearing make-up, which almost never happens. How that bow on baby's head NEVER stays put, but gosh darn it, you're gonna make it work! I see how your son is pouting in the corner, and how you just want ONE picture of him smiling like a normal human being! How your daughter won't stop making silly faces, and you just want ONE picture of her smiling like a normal human being! I get it. I see it. And the whole thing is beautiful.
So... to all you lovely ladies, I say this:
New Mamas: forget about your belly right now. Forget about the clutter you have in your house. Forget about the bags under your eyes, your swollen boobs, and your aching body. Your little one will only be this little for a few DAYS. Enjoy this moment, because it goes by so quickly. You never thought you could love this much, so strongly, so quickly. That will show and overtake any other emotion if you let it. And guess what... you, and all your imperfections, are perfect and beautiful.
Mamas of littles: forget about the fact your kiddos won't smile. Forget about the fact they've already gotten dirt spots on their outfit that took you forever and day to figure out. Forget about the fact it's cold outside, or the sun isn't just right, or you have 1st grade homework to do when you get home, or that you just want a moment of quiet. Forget about all of that, because this moment... what you're thinking, what your kids are doing, how you feel, how your spouse feels... it's all indicative of what life is like right now, at this moment. It's messy. It's flawed. It's not a perfect fairytale. But it's your whole life, and you wouldn't have it any other way. Even when they have boogers stuck to their eyebrows. And all of this... you, and all your imperfections, are perfect and beautiful.
Mamas of older ones: forget about the fact your baby isn't a baby anymore. They're going to be leaving soon, or already have, and though it breaks your heart you're excited for what lies ahead. Your baby is a wonderful human, with all of their unique characteristics and curiosities, and they are something to be proud of. You, my dear, are also something to be proud of. Look what you have created! This life... this wonderful, amazing life... was all thanks to you. Revel in the thought that even if they may be leaving... they are confident enough to do so because of you. You, and all your imperfections, are perfect and beautiful.
Wonderful Aunties and Best Friends for Life: I see you, too. You're trying hard to be everywhere, and everyone, all at once. You may not have as much in common with your married Mom friends anymore... but you love them just as much and just as fiercely as before. Maybe you're married, maybe you're not. Maybe you just got engaged and are SUPER excited about planning your wedding! You feel the stress and the pressure of marriage, of kids, of birthdays, of everyone and everything, just as much as your Mommy counterparts. You know what? Life is good. In this moment, what you're doing, revel in the fact that it's YOUR life. You control it. You decide what works best for you, and not anyone else. And you, and all your imperfections, are also perfect and beautiful.
So to end this long winded letter, I say this: you ARE beautiful. Don't put off photos until you've lost that last 10 pounds. Don't stress about how your family picture should be "Facebook profile" worthy. Don't pour over Pinterest and think that all of those ideas and images are complete perfection and how your life sucks in comparison. Don't go on Instagram to see celebs flaunting their fab figure just five days after giving birth. Stop stressing about what everyone else is doing, how everyone else looks, what other people want you to do and look like. Just be yourself. Be your wonderful, imperfect you. Love your family. Dote on your other half. Be true to yourself, for your family. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else, because you know what? They can't compare to the awesomeness that is uniquely you. You are special.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have laundry to fold and an episode of "Gilmore Girls" to watch...