I recently asked my social media followers, or better stated, my friends, what stresses you out most before a session. I was surprised by the responses I received from many mamas. I thought it would be focused on their kids but instead the biggest stressor was how good mom looked for the session. I was actually sad about this because I think our culture has made it so difficult for us as women, as moms, to love ourselves exactly as we are. And hey, I am no expert at this but I definitely try to love me as I am right now.

I reflected on these responses and have four specific pieces of advice/things to keep in mind to help reduce the stress related to the desire to "look good" for your session:

  1. Plan Ahead. I actually cannot stress this one enough and I think this simple thing will make a huge difference with your stress levels about how good you look for your session, mama. Find an outfit that makes you feel good, something comfortable because you will walk, play, and cuddle with your kids during our session. When I have had my own family pictures taken, I bought my outfit waaay in advance to make sure it fit and I felt good. I personally am not a huge fan of my arms so I don't get an outfit that is sleeveless.
  2. Be Honest With Your Photographer. Tell you photographer, (hopefully me!) if there are specific things you are insecure about. I can keep that in mind with angles, posing, and editing. Also, for small things like zits, don't even worry about that. Any photographer can take that out in the editing process.
  3. Your Fam Loves You, Just As You Are. I think it's important to keep this in mind. All your family will care about is having you in the pictures, truly. Last year we unexpectedly lost my mother-in-law. We will always wish she was still here. One thing hubs and I regret is not having a single picture of her with Oliver. All we remember about her is how amazing of a mom and grandma she was, and to us she was completely beautiful. And I am guessing you feel the exact same way about your mom. So, just remember, your family feels this way about you and in the end, that is all that matters.
  4. Love Yourself. This is the hardest and one that goes way beyond your family session. I have never photographed a mama and thought she was not beautiful, ever. I see so much beauty in every single mama. Not just on the outside. I see how your kids need and love you, how your significant other gives you a look that says "I love you" even among all the chaos of having kids, I see how you do everything to make your kids and significant other happy. I wish as women and mamas, we could see those things in ourselves, see the beauty we all possess. Don't get me wrong, I struggle with this one too and am constantly working on it, but life is too short to not love myself!

To end, here are some images of just a few mamas I have gotten to photograph. I am guessing what you see is beauty, joy, motherhood, love. I am guessing you don't notice the little insecurity each mama has. Let's all try to give ourselves just a little more love, mama.