#KeepMomsInThePicture: Testimonies from Moms

Thank you to our amazing partner and friend Amanda Duke Photography for giving our moms this day. Our moms walked away with a day they would never forget. Here is a glimpse at their experience. Their day. Their emotions. We hope these words encourage you to stop and put yourself first. You are beautiful. You are brave. And, you are amazing. 

We invite you to post your candid pictures and tag us (@atlmomsblog) and #KeepMomsInThePicture so we can celebrate motherhood!

Atlanta Area Moms Blog Contributor Testimonies ::

Alison Paul - Amanda DukeAlison: My “look” typically consists of Day Two Hair, a 3-minute make-up job, and a fresh shirt with my go-to jeans. Sometimes, if I’m going out in the evening, I will go out on a limb and add a necklace or even some eye shadow. Basically, I am the stereotypical slouch. It’s comfortable, it’s safe, and it allows me to blend in with the landscape.  And blending is important to me because I am not 100% in love with my outsides. I am always dodging photographs, and prefer being behind the camera. This is horrible and hypocritical of me because I have a 16-year-old daughter whom I am always telling, “Love yourself right now, just as you are. You are lovely both inside and out.” 

So, when I was presented with this opportunity, I decided to jump in. Pretty dress? Check! Glamorous hair and make-up? Check! Stress-free photo session? Check! Best of all, the atmosphere before, during and after the shoot was like a warm blanket. My fellow moms were friendly, encouraging, and funny.  We compared notes and stories and were reminded of how it is so important for us to build each other up, so we don’t tear ourselves down. And we found out that the camera doesn’t lie – we are all beautiful.

Ashley: Words have power. They can discourage and destroy or they can bring life. For the first time, I wanted to choose a word for the year that would remind me of how I wanted to grow as a person. I prayed that God would show me which word. I kept hearing Him whisper, “I want to see you be brave.” Despite God sounding a little like Sara Bareilles, the word brave struck me. It made me excited and nervous all at the same time. That’s how I knew it was probably perfect for this year for me. 

It only took a couple of weeks for my first challenge. Ordinarily, I would’ve immediately dismissed this invitation. I would’ve said, “I’m too _________ to do that.” Fill in the blank with the negative word of your choice. I’ve used them all in my own head. Frumpy. Ugly. Fat. Fashion-challenged. 

Not this time. This time, I heard God and Sara Bareilles in my head and I said yes.

So I got into my 11-year-old minivan and I cranked the 90s music on the drive to midtown Atlanta and I stepped into the scariest place in the world that I normally avoid at all costs–in front of a camera.

I walked in with the weight of the day (and yesterday and last week) pulling at me. But when Elizabeth sat me down in her chair? It was incredible. Thirty minutes was all it took. Sweet conversation, a few strokes of a make-up brush, and a curling iron created a transformation on the inside

Y’all, I know it sounds cheesy but it is so true. The weight of the day just fell off. And then, the scary part was not scary at all. Instead of feeling exposed, Amanda made me feel known and important. Isn’t that what everyone needs once in a while?

Moms. You do all the things for all the people all the time. Make some time to do something for you. Do something that might stretch you out of your comfort zone and show you that you can do scary things. We need to do this for ourselves.

I’m so glad I did.

Because my kids love me no matter what I look like and there are zero pictures of me. I am a person in progress but aren’t we all in some way or another? Because I am breaking free of the chains I’ve shackled on myself, link by link and year by year, with every negative word I’ve whispered to myself. Because brave doesn’t mean we’re not scared. Brave means we’re gonna do it anyway.

Courtney: The insane roller coaster of motherhood seems to be never ending and while it’s the most fun you can have it’s plain stressful. Whether you’re a SAHM, part-time worker or full-time working mom there is always stress and never enough time. I speak from having experience doing all three! So when given the opportunity to drop everything and become the focus for even just a few hours I jumped at the chance. It’s a rare opportunity to be in the spotlight as a mom because we tend to shift the focus everywhere else—right! So, for a few hours, I got to be dolled up, had my make-up and hair done and be a “model’—honestly more than the beautiful pictures (which are great) the opportunity to sit back and let others take care of me was welcomed. Your time away doesn’t have to be a photoshoot (although it was lovely) take time to sit back and let yourself be the focus—it’s worth it and life will be there when you get back.

Candence - Amanda DukeCandence: When you have a little girl, one of the best games you could ever teach her to play is Beauty Shop. It comes with a never ending supply of glitter and the joy she will get out of brushing mommy’s hair is magical. When you have two little girls like me, Beauty Shop turns more into pulling mommy’s hair and putting lip gloss where it doesn’t belong. It’s beautiful, it’s messy, and it’s just plain exhausting. 

On an ordinary day when the rest of the world had to keep spinning, I got to stop. I got to stop. To be still and take a moment for myself. I ate cupcakes, sipped on mimosas and laughed with moms in all different stages of life. I watched these other moms…these amazing women, be transformed. Some walked in shy, some a little nervous, and even one with a toddler in tow (Hi, Jasmine!). But as each mom finished, you could see their joy. You could see just a little weight lifted off of their shoulders as they walked taller with their bouncy hair and fresh makeup. Or maybe that was just me! But I think we can all agree on one thing…we must continue to keep moms in the picture. 

Jane: When my son had to make a poster this weekend for his chance to be first grade “Explorer of the Week,” I literally couldn’t find a picture of myself taken in the last five years. He didn’t even recognize me in the photo I pulled from his newborn photo shoot. If you’re like me, your phone and your Facebook feed are filled with 1000s of pictures of your kids posing in front of bouncy houses, standing on the back steps on the first day of school, mugging for the camera with Santa, their Easter baskets, their birthday cakes. Where are you? You’re holding the phone, of course, managing the guest list, wiping up spills in your sweatpants. It’s exhausting and sometimes you disappear into the chaos. I am grateful for a morning to turn the camera around and show me looking my best. Amanda allowed me to be myself—you’ll even catch my big yellow running watch in some of the shots because it’s kind of a part of me at this point! The morning together reminded me to add something to my to-do list that too often gets left out: make time for myself, make time for friends.

Jasmin: I so enjoyed getting pretty with Amanda and Elizabeth! They made me feel like Cinderella *hair flip*. I made sure to go a little bit outside of my comfort zone with lots of color and jewelry, because why not?! As mamas, wives, and breadwinners we rarely take the time to take care of ourselves, because we’re so busy taking care of everything and everyone else. This day was a great reminder that it’s okay to just STOP sometimes and think about yourself. If mama breaks down the whole house will come crashing down. So we need to nurture, not neglect, the foundation, we are the foundation.

Check out how to get your special glam session with Amanda here. 

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