pregnancy and parenthood

Staying in the picture

Last year at this time I wrote about how I had fallen out of the spotlight. Having a baby made me so narrowly focused on growing confidence as a mother that I lost confidence as a woman. I couldn’t be in a picture without feeling like I needed a baby on my hip.

As I celebrate another year around the sun, I realize how far I have come and how good it feels to truly love myself as both a mother and a woman.

Staples of my self-care routine used to be dry shampoo and stretchy lounge clothes that I didn’t actually like to begin with. What started as survival mode ended up chipping away at my identity, but I accepted that as normal since I was in the background now, I thought.

Then I started re-claiming my image. I wore makeup when I wanted to, even if it was just to go to the store. I dusted off the skinny jeans and the heeled boots that gave me an extra pep.

I want to make clear that this was not about feeling pressure to conform to certain beauty standards. It was finding confidence to do the little things for myself that reflected my personality.

Before kids, I knew who I was and how I wanted to express that to the world. I had a specific style. I had a brand. As a mom, I lost that for a bit, and I had to spend time finding it again. This is important because it builds confidence that will be infectious to the tiny eyes watching.

So, I spent my second pregnancy wearing maternity clothes not just to fit the bump, but to fit me, too. I came home from the hospital and was able to see strength and beauty in the changes my babies left on my body. There is no longer hesitation in breaking out my heels and makeup when the mood calls for it, nor is their hesitation in posing for a photo whether I have a baby on my hip or not – even if it is just a dry shampoo day.

I used to think that my tired eyes and coffee-stained shirts were my new image because that’s honestly what most days look like around here. You will still find me with tired eyes and coffee-stained shirts – and there is beauty to be found in that kind of transparency and authenticity of motherhood. But the difference is that you will no longer find me pushing my favorite dress to the back of the closet, either. Motherhood is both messy and glamorous, and I am just as worthy of looking the glamorous part as I am the messy part.

We as moms are not in the background. We are the center of our families and the backbone of our communities. We still go by a name other than “mom” and have things to say other than “no.”

So stay in the picture, mamas. Build your brand to reflect not only your role as a mother but who you are as a whole person.

It feels so good to give myself permission to lounge around in leggings when I want, but it feels even better to give myself permission to feel beautiful when I want.

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