The reaction was mixed.
On the one hand, everyone thought the photos were beautiful.
On the other hand, many complained the photos set unrealistic expectations of what a working mom's morning actually looked like.
No one was more surprised by the beauty of the photographs than me— I tend to think of my mornings as a desperate attempt to make it out of the house fully clothed without starving the children— so I bet every mother would be surprised by what her morning looked like when captured by the right photographer.
For instance, a still photo doesn't know you went through twenty pairs of shoes to arrive at THE ONE PAIR your three-year-old is okay with putting on her feet. The photo just shows you lovingly putting on your child's shoe.
I asked Raquel if she thought she could do for anyone what she did for me, and she said yes.
To prove our hypothesis (so scientific!), Raquel and I picked four moms from the discussion, based solely on location. They had to be within driving distance so all our subjets are in the NY area. And they are all Mommy Shorts readers, so obviously they have impeccable taste in blogs.
Otherwise, we had no idea who these women were or what their houses looked like.
The first mother we selected was Annie Horcasitas from New Jersey. At the time of the shoot, Annie was nine months pregnant with her third child. She lives with her husband Carlos and their two sons, Carlitos (6) and Xavi (3). She also beat thyroid cancer earlier this year.
In her original comment, Annie described her mornings as "complete insanity" due to still living out of boxes from a recent move and renovating their kitchen. Oh. And that whole, nine months pregnant thing.
Raquel showed up at Annie's house at 6:30am and followed her until she dropped her kids off at school at 8:30am.
Annie's morning began with a scene I know very well— two kids hopping into bed with her and her husband. It is the best/worst alarm clock in the world.
Annie says, "This photo makes me SO happy, I almost didn't notice my lovely preggo double chin. Almost."
At the moment, Annie is a stay-at-home mom. "I have the whole process more organized now since I don't also have to worry about getting ready myself… I maybe fit in two showers a week and always late at night".
Her husband alternates showering each boy every morning while Annie goes downstairs to make breaskfast.
Annie says that while she was battling cancer all last year, her son ate the free school lunch. Now, "it feels really great to pack his lunch every day".
Two days a week, they all eat breaskfast as a family (with music playing) because Annie's husband often doesn't make it home in time for dinner.
Then Annie drives everyone where they need to be— Carlitos to school by 8:05am, her husband to the train and her second son, Xavi to school by 8:25.
Annie says with the exception of getting out of bed, buckling her youngest in his carseat is her least favorite part of the day.
When I first saw Annie's photos, I admit— I got a little nervous.
Much like everyone's reaction to my photos, I thought Annie's photos were too good. Her new kitchen is too nice! Her family is too photogenic!
But then I realized that's the point.
When you are taking care of children, running a household, and bringing a new life into the world— all of that is beautiful.
It would probably be harder to depict it as anything less.
I asked Annie for her reaction to the photos and she had this to say:
"I was surprised at how organized our morning looked. I was also surprised how gigantic I was! Seeing yourself at 9 months (even in photos shot beautifully) is a shock to the system. Mostly, the photos made me very thankful that my children are being sent off each morning having already had many smiles and laughs. I could see the love we show our kids clearly and it made me feel successful as a mother. The feeling of success is often elusive to us as mothers, so that was a pretty special gift."
Annie's third son was born a few weeks after Raquel took these photos.
Welcome to the world, Santiago!
This post is part of a series called "Monday Mornings", documenting four different mothers throughout the NY area, in order to help us see the beauty in our mornings through an outsider's eye. It is done in collaboration with the amazing photographer, Raquel Bianca.