Last month, my kiddo turned 6 years old. I can scarcely believe it.
When you have a baby, people tell you to cherish every moment because it goes by so quickly. It's easy to dismiss this when you're in the middle of juggling hormones and a brand new baby that relies on you for everything, and doing laundry, and trying to keep your family fed, and maybe going back to work, and figuring out how to stay sane while doing all of the things all of the time.
To be completely honest, it took me about 5 years to really feel like myself again. Not my old self, but a new self that I felt comfortable and confident with. I found that with motherhood, I became lost. Like, I was going through the motions, and kind of floating around and disconnected. I wasn't particularly driven toward a goal or knew what I wanted to be doing. That's not to say I had a terrible time, it was fine. I made friends, went on play dates and took care of my kiddo with love. But I wasn't doing anything to nurture myself.
When we moved to California it was kind of a wakeup call. I spent about a year kind of depressed because I missed our friends and social life and it was hard to meet people here. I eventually made a few friends and started making more time for myself and my photography. I decided to start Hi + Hello Photography and actively take clients, get insurance, collect and pay taxes, and basically run a legit business. Having this goal gave me something to work on, but after another year I felt like something was missing. This year I made the decision to put more effort into pursuing more artistic development.
Earlier this year I went on my first photography workshop, The Family Narrative, in New Orleans. I blogged some of my photos here. It was so inspiring to be with all these women who were there for the same reasons. I met a few other local photographers who I hadn't met before and made plans to see each other again. I spent some time doing some introspection and figuring out more clearly where I wanted my work to take me and how I wanted to accomplish that. It was such a great learning experience and I'm grateful that I was able to go.
In May, I attended a retreat with Michelle Gardella that brought me together with some more incredible women. We laughed, cried, were weird together, ate some amazing food, and just embraced our creativity and the process. It was refreshing in the best way and really re-energized my brain.
I feel like I'm going off on a tangent.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that people tell us that time goes by so fast and we should enjoy every moment of our children and yes, I agree with that sentiment, but I also feel like we need to put an emphasis on our own growth and make sure we don't shrink as our children grow. Our selves are just as important as our children. Nurturing ourselves is necessary. We shouldn't feel guilty about, and it's something we need to work at. It doesn't come easily, it's work. Find what makes your insides wiggle and get excited and do that thing. Make time for that thing. Your children will notice, your partner will notice, you'll radiate awesomeness to anyone in the vicinity.
So as my daughter turns six, I want her to see that I am making an effort to live my best life so that she can do the same one day. I want her to see that I take time for myself so that one day when she's a mother she'll know that it's ok to do that. There shouldn't be any guilt associated with taking care of the person who takes care of everyone. <3