Midwest Lifestyle Photography

Kelsey & Chris | Midwest Fall Session | Strawtown, Indiana

Let me just say that I love all types of sessions, but some of my favorites are couples’ sessions, in the fall, with cool laid-back couples. Kelsey and Chris were just that, and I loved every minute of our session. I met Kelsey through a mutual friend, and we connected on Instagram. She is a lovely, lovely soul, and a lifestyle blogger who writes about self-love and body positivity. Go check out her Instagram page!

I met Kelsey and Chris and their two adorable pups at Strawtown Koteewi Park on a brisk but beautiful evening, and we spent our time walking around the lovely grounds and getting some gorgeous shots. These two were so fun and relaxed, and rolled with everything, laughing away with one another. I could tell they just loved being with each other, and it made my heart warm to get to tag along as third wheel while I snapped some photos. Their session gave me allllll the fall feels, and you’ll be able to tell why when you scroll through. I just love this season so much and I’m so thankful I get to work with amazing people like Kelsey and Chris!

Enjoy some of my favorite shots from their session below!

xo

Leah

Sydni's Senior Session | Broad Ripple, Indianapolis

Ok, so Sydni is pretty much one of the most amazing humans on the planet, and if you're lucky enough to know her, you'll know what I mean. I first met Sydni when we were looking for someone to help babysit our boys, and ever since, I've been constantly in awe of this girl. She is so, so kind. She is passionate, quiet, artistic, talented, beautiful inside and out, and has a heart for others. I see such a spark in her - a love for others and a sense of adventure - and I was so honored to be able to capture some senior photos for her.

We headed to a few spots in Broad Ripple, and basically hung out for a couple hours, talking, taking photos, and dodging the sprinkles that held off enough for us to get some wonderful images. It was kind of amazing. :) Sydni is heading off to college next year and will be studying nursing and is considering studying photography as well. My family and our boys will miss her tons, but I am so excited for her to head off and experience all kinds of amazing things!! 

Enjoy some images from her session below!!

xoxo

Indianapolis senior photography | broad ripple
Indianapolis senior photography | broad ripple

Sharon's Motherhood Session

Hello friends! I hope you have been enjoying this series on motherhood I've been working on. When I decided to work on a personal project, I immediately thought of working with some local moms because I have a dear place in my heart for mamas. I wanted to use this space to hear different perspectives on what it's like to be a mom.

I'm involved with a local group for moms, and one of their hashtags for this year is #thisismotherhood. I loved that line so much, and have been honored to be a part of a group of moms who embrace their differences, embrace each other, accept each other just as they are, and our group is really a non-judgmental place for moms to get together. I reached out in my group to see if anyone would be interested in sharing part of their motherhood journey, and I was blown away with the responses I got. I have been able to start meeting with the moms who I'll be working with, and I get to sit down with them for an hour, take some photos, and listen to them share. It's been so beautiful and such an honor for me.

Because I'm sharing parts of the stories of different women who have voluntarily sat down with me, I'd ask that you approach reading these posts with respect and an understanding that these stories are sacred. Please honor this space. The moms I'm interviewing all have a unique and different story of their journey to motherhood. No two will be alike, and that is so beautiful to me. Please honor these women and listen to their story free of judgement, assumptions, or negativity. We deal with enough of that already, right? 

Please accept these stories as parts of the bigger picture of being a mother and being human, and recognize how rich that makes this world. Thank you for taking the time to read and listen. 

With much love,

Leah

 

Sharon

Sharon lives in McCordsville with her daughter, Elly (3). She is a teacher in the IPS school district, working as a Special Education Specialist. 

Sharon was so kind and open as she shared part of her story. It was obvious how much she loves her daughter, and I appreciated how honest she was. We talked about the fears that come with being a parent, the importance of being present with your child, losing a spouse, and the need for having a village. I hope you enjoy her story below.

 

5Y3B8363.jpg

Tell me a little bit about your journey to motherhood.

“I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mom. From a young age I always played house and wanted to be a mom. I realized early on in high school, I wanted to be a teacher and work with kids. But always, my ultimate goal was to get married and have a family.  When Brad and I got married, we knew that we wanted to have a family. For some health reasons, we knew we might have a little trouble conceiving, so pretty early on, we started working with fertility doctors, and it took us a little over a year to be able to conceive our daughter. My pregnancy was great with no troubles and on November 1, 2014, I became a mom. 

We actually went through two additional rounds of fertility treatments and weren’t able to conceive after trying again, and then my husband passed away. It’s kind of a blessing in a way that I wasn’t able to conceive a second time, but at the same time it would have been really nice to have another baby and have my husband here with us.”

5Y3B8315.jpg

What is one of the things you love the most about being a mother?

“I love seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes. I love seeing the wonder in her eyes and seeing how she sees things at face value. She doesn’t have the background or hate of anything bad in the world. She sees everything for good, and I love that about her. And I love that seeing that in her reminds me that there is so much good in the world.”

5Y3B8309.jpg
5Y3B8348.jpg

What has been one of the hardest things about being a mother?

“The hardest thing for me was losing my spouse, because it was so completely unexpected. We were both really careful when we were dating, because we both come from families of divorce and we were both kids of divorce, and getting divorced was a non-negotiable for us. We were committed to being together and committed to going through the ups and downs and raising a family together. And that’s exactly what we did. We worked really hard to raise our daughter together, even little decisions we would talk them through together. So the hardest thing was losing him, losing my best friend, but also Elly losing her dad. Another thing that is hard is learning to grieve myself, but also learning how to support her when she’s grieving. A child grieving is completely different than an adult. Hers comes in fleeting moments, and some of those moments I’m really strong and I can help her through, and some of those moments I break down with her. I think it’s really good for her to see both, but it’s still really hard either way.”

5Y3B8316copy.jpg
5Y3B8248copy.jpg

How do you maintain a sense of who you were before you had kids?

“I read that question, and I don’t even know if that happens or if that’s real. Because I feel like as we grow and change and go through different stages of our life, it changes who we are. I feel like becoming a wife made me a little bit different, and then becoming a mom I changed again, and then becoming a widow and then a single mom. And so at this point, I’m still trying to figure this all out. I don’t even know where life is leading me, or where God is leading me. I definitely see his hand in it though.

I feel like with the unexpected loss, it rattles you to your core and it makes you question who you are. And now I have to rebuild and figure out who I am now, because at the moment I don’t have any idea.”

5Y3B8333copy.jpg

What is something that makes your motherhood story unique?

“I think just the fact that I am a very young widow with a very young child. I’ve been searching for different avenues of support with this grief and there’s not a ton out there for young widows with young children. I think that definitely makes my story unique. People tell me I’m very strong and I guess to some point I agree with that. I mean, I’ve sold a house and bought a new house, all by myself, which I feel is very big. I do have an amazing support group and an amazing life group; I have a village to help me and that’s been pretty amazing. I feel like my support network is pretty unique and a lot of moms don’t have that network to rely on when they need it.

Even before I think I was pretty honest and genuine, but since Brad passed, I don’t have the energy to sugar coat things or to beat around the bush, I am real, I ask for help and rely on others. People in my life are so genuine and so gracious, and it’s been so amazing to feel their support and love.”

5Y3B8199.jpg
5Y3B8204.jpg
5Y3B8227.jpg

What is one of your biggest dreams that has yet to be realized?

“I feel like honestly my dream was to be a wife and a mom. And yes, I was a wife and I am a mom, but I loved being married. And I hope that someday God will bring someone else into our path and that I can be married again, but I really wanted to grow old with my husband.  That was one of our biggest dreams.”

5Y3B8296copy.jpg
5Y3B8284copy.jpg

What would you say to your younger pre-motherhood self now if you could?

“Before I got married, I struggled with some self-esteem and confidence issues and such. I would say that getting married doesn’t take those issues away necessarily, but I think I would tell my younger self to take care of me first rather than take care of everything else around me and make sure that I am strong.  I’m definitely a lot stronger now than before I met and got married to Brad, but I would say to worry less about others and make yourself strong.”

5Y3B8335copy.jpg

In what ways has motherhood changed you?

“I feel like in almost every way. Because I have to be almost completely selfless for her wants and her needs. It’s made me more real and vulnerable. It’s definitely made me stronger. I think it’s definitely made me more sensitive. I feel like as an educator, this being my 13th year of teaching, there’s definitely a difference between me as an educator before I had Elly and me as an educator now. It definitely has changed my perspective on life and on what’s important in life.”

5Y3B8373.jpg

What’s something you wish all mothers would truly take to heart?

“I was thinking about this one, and I really think it would be to take advantage of the time you have with them and to really be present. I mean there are a ton of times, and we all do it, where we’re not present and we get so busy. Especially with losing Brad so suddenly, it made me realize how fleeting time is and that every day is a gift, and that every moment with my daughter is a gift. So just I try and take advantage of all the time I have with her.”

5Y3B8377.jpg

What is one thing you expected to be true about motherhood but turned out to be different?

“I think one I thing I didn’t expect was how much you worry about every little thing. How much you worry about every choice and experience. I just never thought I would think about this kind of stuff, how things would influence and impact her life. Especially being in education, I know how the young years can really set up that good foundation for further learning, and if kids don’t have that I see how it impacts kids later on. I do worry how the grief will impact her later on in her life. I know she’s super young, and people say kids are so resilient, but still it worries me a little bit.”

5Y3B8242copy.jpg

What’s something about motherhood that you wish everyone would be honest about but maybe not many people talk about?

“How hard it is. I think I’ve learned a lot through MOPS on how to be genuine and how to have that support group. But I think a lot of moms out there don’t have that system and don’t have that place where being not ok is ok. Because it is hard and it does take a village. I don’t think a lot of moms recognize that.”

What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten about being a mother?

“I think just being real. Just enjoy the time we have with our kids, and being present. I’m definitely struggling with grief and depression, and there are days where I physically don’t want to do anything, and I feel terrible that she goes and plays on her own. But at the same time, I’m thankful that she is able to play on her own so I can have a little bit of time to myself on those days. But I know that it’s important to be with her, and she always makes me feel better.”

5Y3B8321.jpg
5Y3B8326.jpg

What is your favorite way to wind down after a long day with your kids?

“It’s so cheesy, but literally just watching tv. I don’t really drink, except an occasional beer every once in a while. But I like to read or watch tv to relax.”

5Y3B8356.jpg

Tell me one thing you love about yourself as a mother?

“I feel like I love my daughter well. I feel like I’m very in tune with how she is feeling, naming those feelings and responding. Or preparing her for things that will be coming up that could be scary to her or new for her. I feel like I love her well.”

5Y3B8387.jpg

Tell me one thing that scares you about being a mother?

“At this point the fact that I am now a single mom, everything is on my shoulders. Everything is on me. Yes I have a village, and yes I have family, but ultimately everything is on me, and that’s terrifying. I have to make all the decisions and I have to make sure we’re both safe and all of that, and it’s just terrifying.”

What would you do if you had a whole day to yourself?

“I thought about that and was like ‘I don’t even know.’ Right now my goal is trying to be better about self-care. I’m in talks with some good friends about maybe taking a night or two away. I’ve only spent maybe two nights away from Elly her entire life. Trying to see if I can get some time away would be really nice and trying to do that on a regular basis. Someone offered to watch her for a few hours so now I’m trying to figure out what to do with even three hours by myself. Go get a pedicure maybe? I have no idea.”

5Y3B8332.jpg
5Y3B8359.jpg

Who has been your biggest inspiration/mentor/go-to someone as you have journeyed through motherhood?

“Brad and I were in a life group for about 5 or 6 years and there’s a core group of 4 or 5 families that have been together for a long time. I really feel like the moms in that group are who I go to. We were the last of the group to have kids, and we were the young couple without kids while everyone else had kids. So the moms in that group would be the ones I would call about any questions with my daughter. I really feel like we are doing life together, we are a village. They are the ones I call in the middle of the night. They are the ones I called when Brad passed away and we were at the hospital all I had to say was ‘Go get Elly.’ And they got her and kept her all day. They’re the ones I go to.”

What are ways you find time for yourself?

“Well right now, I work, so that’s time away from Elly. Then I think it’s just little moments like with MOPS, and mom’s nights outs. Sometimes with life group we’ll do a girls’ night, but that’s really it.”

How do you describe #thisismotherhood in your own words?

“It’s real, it’s messy, it’s beautiful.”

5Y3B8328.jpg
5Y3B8395.jpg
5Y3B8407.jpg

What makes motherhood beautiful to you?

“Elly’s laugh and her smile. Seeing the world through her eyes, and reliving things from childhood that you didn’t even remember. She how she interprets the world, it’s pretty amazing.”

A very big thank you to Sharon for sharing and allowing me into her normal. You can check out the other posts in this series here: 

HannahLindseyKatieKristin  ErmaColleenErinPris & Cynthia.

Sharon's story is my final motherhood series post. I will be doing a wrap-up post soon, but my heart is so incredibly grateful for all the mamas who chose to help with this project. I've loved each and every moment listening to some pretty beautiful stories.

xo

Colleen's Motherhood Session

Hello friends! I hope you have been enjoying this series on motherhood I've been working on. When I decided to work on a personal project, I immediately thought of working with some local moms because I have a dear place in my heart for mamas. I wanted to use this space to hear different perspectives on what it's like to be a mom.

I'm involved with a local group for moms, and one of their hashtags for this year is #thisismotherhood. I loved that line so much, and have been honored to be a part of a group of moms who embrace their differences, embrace each other, accept each other just as they are, and our group is really a non-judgmental place for moms to get together. I reached out in my group to see if anyone would be interested in sharing part of their motherhood journey, and I was blown away with the responses I got. I have been able to start meeting with the moms who I'll be working with, and I get to sit down with them for an hour, take some photos, and listen to them share. It's been so beautiful and such an honor for me.

Because I'm sharing parts of the stories of different women who have voluntarily sat down with me, I'd ask that you approach reading these posts with respect and an understanding that these stories are sacred. Please honor this space. The moms I'm interviewing all have a unique and different story of their journey to motherhood. No two will be alike, and that is so beautiful to me. Please honor these women and listen to their story free of judgement, assumptions, or negativity. We deal with enough of that already, right? 

Please accept these stories as parts of the bigger picture of being a mother and being human, and recognize how rich that makes this world. Thank you for taking the time to read and listen. 

With much love,

Leah

 

Colleen

Colleen lives in Fishers with her husband Alan and their two sons Oliver (5) and Graham (1). In addition to being a mother, Colleen is a speech therapist, author, and world traveler.

It was so nice to sit down and chat with Colleen about her journey through motherhood. She has such a kind and calm presence about her, and it was a joy to hear her share.

Enjoy her story below!

5Y3B7147.jpg

Tell me a little bit about your journey to motherhood.

“With Oliver, we had tired for a year and half, and decided to pursue adoption, and that’s when I found out I was pregnant. So that was really nice. We did just a little bit of medical intervention, but we didn’t want to do IVF with such a high rate of not working. So we were going to pursue adoption. My nieces are adopted too, so we have adoption in our family. But ended up getting pregnant, which was exciting.

So Alan is an only child, and we always thought we would just have one child. But after my niece passed away, and my dad was diagnosed with cancer and everything with my family, I didn’t want Oliver to be an only child and I wanted him to have a sibling. My husband agreed, which it took a lot to get him to agree. And so we had Graham, and I got pregnant with him a lot faster, I think it only took 3 or 4 months, so that was nice for sure. So that’s how I got my babies, my boys.”

What is one of the things you love the most about being a mother?

“I think that I just love seeing them experience things for the first time, which is so fun. Something I didn’t realize with Oliver, him being older, is that he gets to experience Graham’s first things too. Which is fun because even if I forget it’s his first time doing something, Oliver will say ‘Oh that’s the first time he ever did this or that!’ And it’s really fun.”

What has been one of the hardest things about being a mother?

“I just think it’s a never-ending job. You’re on 24-7 and it doesn’t matter if you’re sick or tired or any of the above, they aren’t going to change because of that. So I think the constant of motherhood is hard. My oldest loves to talk all the time, loves to be next to me all the time, so that can be exhausting for sure. The neediness and the constant can be hard.”

5Y3B7070.jpg

How do you maintain a sense of who you were before you had kids?

“I think a big thing for us, even as a couple, is that we really love to travel a lot. So we still try to travel. I took the boys by myself to Florida, and flew with them back in January. So we try to do those things.

And then I also spend time away from them, and I still work a little bit, so I try to do a little bit of what I used to do.”

5Y3B7217copy.jpg

What is something that makes your motherhood story unique?

“Maybe it’s not as unique now, but I am older. So being 40 with an infant is more unique. Although it is becoming more common now, and just when I feel like I’m the older mom, I’ll meet someone who’s older than me, which is nice. So that’s maybe more unique. But I also like that I had a long time to do a lot of things. I mean, there are benefits of being older; being more financially stable, just having lived a little longer. But also, I’m tired too.”

What is one of your biggest dreams that has yet to be realized?

“I would like for us to travel with the boys later on. So I think it would be dreams of what our family will do together when they’re able to be potty-trained and such and travel easily. And it will be neat to see what their interests are.”

*I asked Colleen about her and Alan’s travels since I had seen  a map with all of their travels pinned on it and knew travel was important to them.*

“Yes, we went to 5 of the 7 continents - we haven’t been to Antarctica yet - before Oliver was born. We were planning on going to Thailand but then found out I was pregnant with Oliver, so we postponed that until he was two. We were able to go back afterwards though and it was so nice. So traveling is a goal for us, and it will be fun to do it with the boys someday.”

What would you say to your younger pre-motherhood self now if you could?

“I think I would say that it will all work out, and it will all be ok. Just because I didn’t know if I would be able to have kids, and there was stress and anxiety through all of the waiting and worrying. And I think I’d floor myself knowing that I have two kids and I stay home, because that was not on the radar - kids and staying home. But it all worked out.”

5Y3B7077.jpg
5Y3B7097.jpg

In what ways has motherhood changed you?

“I think it changes you because you’re not first anymore. I think just needing to be the primary person for somebody else, which is a good thing too, has definitely changed me. I think about my kids and my family before I think about what I need to do, which maybe isn’t the healthiest sometimes and sometimes it’s good to think about what you personally need. But it’s fun and good, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.”

What’s something you wish all mothers would truly take to heart?

“I think that it’s ok to take a break, and to have a messy house. Something I struggled with when I first started staying at home was thinking that it’s ok to still have a weekend. I felt like I needed to be doing something all the time. It’s important still to stop and be ok with not doing anything, and trying not to feel guilty about that. I think slowing down and knowing things only last for a certain amount of time, both the good and the challenging.”

5Y3B7094.jpg

What is one thing you expected to be true about motherhood but turned out to be different?

“I anticipated the relationship between my boys would be really rough and hard. Because Oliver was so needing of my attention, I thought he would be resentful of his little brother, but he continues to surprise me. He absolutely adores Graham, and he was so proud when he was born. It’s just been really fun to watch him interact with his brother. I mean, he gets mad now when Graham crawls and tears down things or pulls on his hair or clothes, but he really truly adores his brother. I was ready for it to be this horrible experience, but it’s worked out so much better than I could have thought.”

5Y3B7127.jpg
5Y3B7129.jpg
5Y3B7133.jpg

What’s something about motherhood that you wish everyone would be honest about but maybe not many people talk about?

“Probably just the struggles everybody has. I think with all the technology of seeing Pinterest pins and Facebook posts and how everything seems perfect is hard. I had seen a post of someone who said to post photos of our dirty houses so everyone could see what they really looked like. I think that’s hard. We can get into our own mom bubble, but we need to remember that it’s ok, whatever is going on, wherever you are, and knowing there are others in the same boat.”

What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten about being a mother?

“I found a quote I really liked, and I probably don’t have it down exactly, but it was something like ‘It might not be as important what you do as it is who you raise.’ So I thought that was a nice quote to hold onto. This is valuable what I’m doing, raising a human who will hopefully grow up to be a good person. You don’t know where they will go or who they will influence, and if you feel like motherhood is the monotony of the day after day things, realize that you are still raising a person.”

5Y3B7113.jpg
5Y3B7051.jpg
5Y3B7100.jpg
5Y3B7106.jpg

What is your favorite way to wind down after a long day with your kids?

“I think I just collapse. :) I think I’m winding down even before they are asleep. But I do like having tea at night, I like getting my cozy blankets and just having silence. Or else mindless tv, either of those where I don’t have to think. But I do fall asleep pretty easily and early. My college-age niece was here and we were going to bed, and it was late for us, it was probably closer to 10, and she was like ‘You’re going to be now?’ Uh, yes. Graham gets up by 6, and it’s just constant, it’s just non-stop. And I can’t even sleep in when we’re on vacation. I’m up so early and think ‘there are no children here to wake me up’ and I still get up. It’s nice to have a coffee and watch tv and not actually get out of bed, but I still get frustrated. I used to be so good at it! I used to sleep in so well. But not so much anymore.”

5Y3B7229copy.jpg

Tell me one thing you love about yourself as a mother?

“I love when I just play and have fun with them, which isn’t all the time. Or I love when they do something new and they’re really proud of that, and it’s fun watching them and their little changes that I get to see, being able to be home with them. Because I did work for a year when Oliver was born, and so it’s nice with Graham to be here every day. So that’s nice. I like that.”

5Y3B7090.jpg
5Y3B7205.jpg

Tell me one thing that scares you about being a mother?

“Messing them up, or doing something wrong. But yeah, it’s scary, it’s scary not knowing how things will be when your kids are older, just hoping they will choose the best and make good choices. But it’s scary not being able to control everything around them or their choices and just hoping that they are raised right and know what’s best to do. It is scary having them in the real world. We’re just doing the best we can and hopefully it’s somewhat right.”

5Y3B7159copy.jpg
5Y3B7212copy.jpg

What would you do if you had a whole day to yourself?

“I would sleep, I would eat a great brunch. It would be great if I was out and traveling. It’s kind of funny to think about a whole day to myself. Usually in that case, we’re on vacation. I think I would enjoy my time, but then I think I would also want to do something with Alan. But it is nice to have some alone time though to recharge. I’m a much better mom when I’m not around them all of the time. We’re actually planning a trip now and it’s just nice to have kind of a light, or something that we can look forward to, something that will be fun. And hopefully later it will be something we can do with them, trips with them, but for now it’s nice to get away sometimes.”

Who has been your biggest inspiration/mentor/go-to someone as you have journeyed through motherhood?

“I would say my own mom has been absolutely wonderful. And also my friend Lindsey who is the same age as me but her kids are 10 and 14, so that is really wonderful to have. I’ll call her over sometimes. One time Oliver was being really hard and we were in this bad phase and I didn’t know how to get out of it. I didn’t really like him at the time, which sounds terrible, but I just was needing help to get out of this cycle of terrible behavior time. And she came over, without being judgmental at all, suggested things to try and it really helped. So she is my go-to for asking perspective questions, which is really nice. But I tease her that when she is an empty-nester I’ll have an 8 year old or 9 year old, so it’s very different from being the exact same age, but with different aged kids.”

5Y3B7241.jpg
5Y3B7236.jpg
5Y3B7232.jpg

What are ways you find time for yourself?

“One of the big ways is that I signed Graham up for a Mother’s Day Out program when he was 9 months old. It sounds a bit young, but he loves it, and it’s just nice to be able to get a haircut or go to the grocery store alone, or have breakfast with a friend. So that’s been huge. Other times, I’ll have Oliver watch a show so I can think. We feel very fortunate that we have this big open space behind our house in our neighborhood between the houses behind ours. A lot of kids that are Oliver’s age live close, and he just plays back and forth and we have kids coming in here and then they’ll go out to other houses, and that is wonderful. I don’t really have to organize playdates, they just play and just go. It’s very free, and I like it because I don’t have to worry about him being in the front of the house or the street or somebody driving by. This way I can still see him, and as parents we just text if we don’t know which house the kids are at. That gives me a little break, and it’s been great.”

How do you describe #thisismotherhood in your own words?

“I would say that it’s different for everybody. We all have that commonality of having kids, but there’s such a wide range of what that looks like. For me being a mom is that I adore my boys, it’s exhausting but it’s fun and it gives me a different purpose. And it’s fun to teach them and watch them grown. It’s quite a journey, a rollercoaster.”

5Y3B7167.jpg
5Y3B7171.jpg
5Y3B7189.jpg
5Y3B7163.jpg

What makes motherhood beautiful to you?

“Just the relationships I have with the boys and watching them and how much they adore their aunts and uncles and cousins. I also love watching the boys together, it just makes it all worthwhile.”

Thank you so much to Colleen for being willing to share part of her story of motherhood! You can find the other posts in this series here: Hannah, LindseyKatieKristin & Erma.

xo

Kristin's Motherhood Session

Hello friends! I hope you have been enjoying this series on motherhood I've been working on. When I decided to work on a personal project, I immediately thought of working with some local moms because I have a dear place in my heart for mamas. I wanted to use this space to hear different perspectives on what it's like to be a mom.

I'm involved with a local group for moms, and one of their hashtags for this year is #thisismotherhood. I loved that line so much, and have been honored to be a part of a group of moms who embrace their differences, embrace each other, accept each other just as they are, and our group is really a non-judgmental place for moms to get together. I reached out in my group to see if anyone would be interested in sharing part of their motherhood journey, and I was blown away with the responses I got. I have been able to start meeting with the moms who I'll be working with, and I get to sit down with them for an hour, take some photos, and listen to them share. It's been so beautiful and such an honor for me.

Because I'm sharing parts of the stories of different women who have voluntarily sat down with me, I'd ask that you approach reading these posts with respect and an understanding that these stories are sacred. Please honor this space. The moms I'm interviewing all have a unique and different story of their journey to motherhood. No two will be alike, and that is so beautiful to me. Please honor these women and listen to their story free of judgement, assumptions, or negativity. We deal with enough of that already, right? 

Please accept these stories as parts of the bigger picture of being a mother and being human, and recognize how rich that makes this world. Thank you for taking the time to read and listen. 

With much love,

Leah

 

Kristin

 Kristin is a proud Texan that ended up in Denver, Colorado where she met her husband Jon. Right now she is a stay at home mom. Before Kristin was a mom, she was an architect but is now thinking about becoming a math teacher in the future. Jon and Kristin, with their daughter Bexley, live in northeast Indianapolis. Kristin loves all things Texan, especially football and food, checking out breweries with Jon, reading, laughing as much as she can, spending time with her sweet little family, and trying to live authentically in this adventurous life God has blessed her with!

I so dearly loved getting to spend an hour with Kristin and Bexley. Kristin is such a kind person, has a beautiful heart, and was so honest and funny while we talked.

I hope you enjoy reading part of her story below!

 

5Y3B5977.jpg

Tell me a little bit about your journey to motherhood.

"It was not at all I as expected it to be but I feel like that's just how life is. I got married after 30 and we wanted to enjoy a few years as newlyweds before we had children. So now I am 35 and have an almost 2 year old. I guess I always thought I would have been a first time mom before I was 30. I also wasn't around babies because I think they scared me. :) So going into motherhood was a bit scary. I had a normal pregnancy but ended up being over a week late and got induced. The induction went really well but I ended up not dilating fully while Bexley's head ended up turned and would not budge. So I ended up having a c-section. I was not prepared for that at all and it was a very hard recovery. I think I was very naive about taking care of a baby and so the first few months with Bexley were a whirlwind.  I was like ‘Oh I can keep a kid alive. Feed them, change their their diaper. That’s easy!’ Then she came and I was like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing! This is way harder than I thought!’ My family is in Texas and Jon's is in Florida so that has been hard. We moved here almost 3 years ago so we dont have very many friends and deep relationships that we have had in the past. Its been a lonely journey into motherhood. You know the whole ‘It takes a village to raise your child’ thing? We haven’t really gotten to experience that. I spent a lot of time calling or texting people and frantically be like ‘She’s been crying for two hours, what am I supposed to do?’ I feel like it would have been easier to have had more help nearby or someone to come over to help me in those type of situations. At the same time I can't even put into words how much love I have for Bexley. I love hearing her call me momma. I'm in constant awe that God somehow found me worthy enough to be her parent."

What is one of the things you love the most about being a mother?

“Just getting to see her grow up is fun. I didn’t plan on being a stay-at-home mom, it just kind of happened, so it’s one of those thing I don’t want to take for granted. I’m happy I’ve gotten to do that because I have gotten to see every moment and every milestone and everything like that. She’s a constant source of entertainment, so that’s been a fun thing. ‘Oh, look at you! You’re digging in the toilet, or going through the trash, isn’t that hilarious.’  I wouldn’t get to see all those little things if I hadn’t been a stay-at-home mom.”

What has been one of the hardest things about being a mother?

"The days are long but the years are short! The day to day routine has been hard. I am one of those people that kind of likes a set schedule/routine and I haven't quite figured that out yet. I have learned that I have to be more flexible with a toddler and myself, honestly." 

How do you maintain a sense of who you are before you had kids?

"I try to practice and play out my passions that I had and still have but I have to do it in more creative ways. For example, I love to dance so now I have dance parties with Bexley and while I cook. Before, my friends and I would go out dancing but that isn't happening anymore! It has been hard because we had a lot of big life changes happen the year before we got pregnant and had Bexley. But I still feel like I am myself and the main thing that has changed is adding another title, mother, to the list. "

 

5Y3B6022.jpg

What is something that makes your motherhood story unique?

“Probably just being older, and not being around support people. Even though I’m not that old. :)”

What is one of your biggest dreams that is yet to be realized?

“I was an architect before I had Bex, and then about a year or two before we moved, I realized I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be and still do my job. I was traveling a lot, and working long hours. As much as I love architecture, the job wasn't fulfilling me and I didn't feel like I was making a difference in the world. I also didn't want to be a mom that had to choose between work and my kid. So then I decided that maybe I’d be a teacher, because my mom is a teacher, I would be on the same schedule as my kid, and teaching kids seemed just as challenging as being an architect but way more fulfilling. 

Right after we moved to Indiana, I got a job as a teacher's aid and loved it. I then started taking classes to be a teacher about two weeks after Bexley was born, so that was another fun thing to do - take care of a newborn and sit there do homework at the same time. But the further I got into the program I felt God asking me to be the best mom and wife right now. I had tests to pass and student-teaching to do and it was just a lot to juggle with taking care of Bexley. 

I am a planner. So waiting to see how I can live out my passions while being a mom or waiting for them to possibly happen when she starts school is challenging.  Will I be a stay-at-home mom still, or will I become a teacher, you know, what does God want me to do with my life? How am I going to make a difference in this world? I'm trying hard to trust God and let Him lead me."

 

 

5Y3B5916.jpg
5Y3B5939.jpg

What would you say to your younger pre-motherhood self now if you could?

“I would say live it up! You could go eat out all the time, stay up late and have fun. We joke how lame we are now. This past Saturday we were both tired, and it was 7:30, so we turned off the tv and went to our room and thought ‘We’re the coolest.’”

5Y3B6018copy.jpg

In what ways has motherhood changed you?

“I’m a little bit more patient; I’m not as good at being patient, but I’m definitely better. I’m more compassionate, more loving. You just never realize how much you can love someone until they come into your life. 

I also realized how strong I was, especially after having the c-section. I’m a lot stronger than I realized. I think I also realize where my limits are now. Before I would be like ‘Oh, I can do whatever, this or that, or whatever I want.’ and now I’m like ‘No, Mommy needs her rest. I’m going to have to say no to things and say yes to some things.’”

 

5Y3B5946copy.jpg

What's something you wish all mothers would truly take to heart?

“I’m a big fan Brené Brown. I found out she is a Texan too, so that made my heart a little bit happier. So I was a reading one of her books and she said we’re just all trying to do the best we can. And I feel like that should be the motherhood anthem: don’t judge and everybody is just trying to do the best that they can. Every time I find myself judging myself, I think of that. Just try to do the best that you can because you’re a hot mess too.” 

What is one thing you expected to be true about motherhood but turned out to be different?

“I’m not sure. There a lot. :)”

What’s something about motherhood that you wish everyone would be honest about but maybe not many people talk about?

“How hard it is. But also just how wonderful it is at the same time. You look and see how great it is, and you can’t always explain it to people. I look back at my mom now and I’m like ‘Oh my gosh, she did so much.’ I never realized how much she did. Birthdays should be about the moms and not about the kids. You gave birth to them, you took care of them. Celebrate the mom who kept her kid alive another year. :)

Everyone jokes about how hard it is, but no one tells you really *how* hard it is. My expectations of motherhood coming naturally or easily would have been more balanced, because I think I was very naive thinking I could handle it easily.”

 

5Y3B5954.jpg
5Y3B5968.jpg
5Y3B5963.jpg

What is the best piece of advice you have ever gotten about being a mother?

“To relax, and that the kids only remember the good things.”

What is your favorite way to wind down after a long day with your kids?

"A glass of mommy juice, reading a book and/or watching tv in bed, and spending time with Jon. Some days he is the only other adult that I get to talk to in person so it makes me feel like an adult and I can take off my mommy hat off for a few minutes."

Tell me one thing you love about yourself as a mother?

“Doing it, and not completely failing at it. I know I’m not perfect, but just seeing how far I’ve come in the 20 months that she’s been here. I know more now what to do now. I remember in the beginning being on my phone googling what to do a lot more, and now I’m a lot more relaxed. So just trusting myself and seeing how much I’ve grown and changed. We’re starting to think about another one, and I really hope the next one is easy, especially since I know more what to do now. I hope I’ll be so much more chill with the next one.”

 

 

5Y3B5990copy.jpg

Tell me one thing that scares you about being a mother?

"Mainly just thinking that I’m going to raise her wrong, or that I’m keeping her from the best that she can be. Like if I miss something or I’m not disciplining her the right way or parenting her the right way. I think it’s an irrational fear, but it’s still there. I want to be the best mom for her and I want her to be the best that she can be."

That would you do if you had a whole day to yourself?

"I don’t even know - I can’t even imagine! That one went over my head. :)"

Who has been your biggest inspiration/mentor/go-to someone as you have journeyed through motherhood?

"Our moms. I realized that it’s been 30+ years since they have bee in the trenches like we are, but they’ve been there. Looking back and talking with them and hearing them share how they did it and seeing they survived. So I’ve had lots of conversations with my mom where she tells me how she would handle things when I was young, and I really appreciate that."

What are ways you find time for yourself?

“I’ve had to learn that nap time, now that she only naps once per day, it’s mommy time. I’m not going to clean or cook, I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to sit here and read or watch a show, and just unwind. And I’ve had to let myself be ok with that, because as a stay-at-home mom, I feel like I always should be cleaning or cooking, or organizing. But no, this is my time. And Jon has been really good at supporting me in that and letting me know it’s ok to take a break.”

5Y3B6015.jpg
5Y3B6012.jpg

How do you describe #thisismotherhood in your own words?

“It’s a 24-7 job that’s the best and hardest job ever.”

What makes motherhood beautiful to you?

“Knowing that God has placed this enormous responsibility on me to care for and nurture another human from before they were born until the end of my life. It’s so weighty to think about, but it’s also so beautiful and such an honor to be that person, knowing it’s what God has called me to be.”

Thank you so much to Kristin for sharing part of her story! I hope you enjoyed reading along! Be sure to check out the other posts in this series so far: Hannah, Lindsey, and Katie.

Stayed tuned as we will get to hear from more mamas as they authentically share about their motherhood journey.

Have a beautiful day!

xo