Why you should be in your family photos

This is the version of my family that includes me in the photos

a family portrait in a kitchen with a tortilla

I had read all the blog posts about having three children and was aware of the challenges from the beginning, but I was still caught off guard by how impossible it would feel to handle life with any sort of gracefulness. I was under the assumption that we would be fine since we had already embraced a lesser version of our expectations after the chaos of having two children. We were already rarely showering, we already considered cheese, chips, and olives a full meal, and I already left the house a mess knowing it was a complete waste of time to clean anything. Certainly we could handle having three children in the same mediocre fashion that was working for having two kids, or so I thought until I realized a whole new level of keeping it together was going to be necessary to just get through our days unscathed.

Roland was such an easy baby, the transition to three kids was made almost too easy at first. But then he started to crawl, and walk, and climb and I was forced to be constantly vigilant at the same time Winnie started expressing her delayed feelings of jealousy. Of course this all coincided with the time Charlotte was experiencing that thing that happens to kids as they are about to turn 6 (a time aptly known in Waldorf circles as the “first puberty”). Daily meltdowns by us all had me frantically waving a white flag and muttering either “namaste,” or “Lord have mercy,” not so under my breath to avoid screaming profanities throughout the day (if I could manage it at all). My mantra was (still is), “I can handle this without screaming or swearing,” often merely an aspiration.

These fast-paced, blurry, often rage-inducing days are my new normal, and being in it is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. The struggles are real, but I know it goes fast. In one breath, I’m dreaming of the day a few years from now when they will be older and it will all be easier, and in the next breath I am dying to hit the pause button to have time to take this season in and appreciate it for what it is. In many ways, that’s what these images are for me, a way to press pause to see it and feel it at a time when the pace and emotional demands of the daily routine make it nearly impossible otherwise. When I look at these images, I don’t forget about the craziness of this year, I don’t forget about the times where everyone is crying (myself included), but I feel ok about it because these moments exist on the other side of those experiences. When I look at these pictures, I get to see that who I am for my kids is enough. I see the way I smile at my kids, I see the way I make them laugh, and I see how much love I give them all day long. I feel like a good mom, and we all deserve to feel like good moms.

So, here we are in April of 2018. My final baby is turning one and we are coming up on our 10th year of being married. It’s all very ordinary, but I couldn’t have imagined a better way for it to have all turned out. I love seeing how tired and happy we are and how crazy and bizarre our kids are. This is the bittersweet end of the season of having babies for us. Anda, the way you see us is a gift to me. It’s a gift that grounds me in the present and shows me just how beautiful and good our life together is. I can’t even imagine what these images will mean to me in 10 years. Thank you.

mother nurses son while child puts her feet up above her head on a couch
son smiles at mother who is holding him
woman and child write
man picks up boy by the arm
man places baby on child's head while mother looks on
a family portrait in the kitchen with a tortilla
a child reaches up for a tortilla her father is holding
a child uses a tortilla as a face mask
two girls and a tortilla mask
a mother touches the nose of her tortilla masked daughter
a child climbs a doorway while two other children watch
a mother holds her baby and locks the door of their house as two children race down the sidewalk
a mother pushes a cart down an aisle
a mother wears a baby while pushing a cart with another child
a child in a cart sticks out her tongue at the person taking the photo in the onion aisle
a couple sits on the couch and looks at each other
a family sits on the bed in the morning
a mother sits on her bed with three children
a chalkboard wall and a shelf with plants and cookbooks
a mother brushes her toddler's teeth
a woman holds up a string of yarn
a mother wears a baby in the library as a child sits in a stroller and another one looks at a book
a child sucks on the toe of a baby
a mother and two daughters read on the couch
a mom and her child duck under a table during laser tag
a woman runs through the kitchen playing laser tag
a man and woman are on the couch together
a family on the couch
a girl sleeps on her mothers chest
a mother nurses a baby and a father unbuttons a child's dress
a mother hugs a daughter and a father hugs a son
happy birthday roland on a chalkboard easel
a mother dresses a baby while her daughter holds her hair
a dutch baby sits on the stove
a girl poses while her brother looks at his new car
a child kisses her sister
a woman peels a carrot and a girl looks at one
tenga chicken on the stove and powdered sugar frosting explosion
a giant man carries two children on his arms and one on his shoulders
a boy sits in front of a piece of cake with one candle lit on it
a family snuggles on the couch
two children laugh at each other while sitting on their parent's laps
A mother sits on a couch with her three children