Welcome to my "Monday Morning" series with lifestyle photographer Raquel Bianca. We are documenting five mothers in the NY area (chosen at random from Mommy Shorts commenters), to prove there is beauty in every mother's morning, even if we need an outsider to see it.
First there was Annie from New Jersey, then Ilona from Queens, and now Teresa from Manhattan's Upper West Side. (Prepare for a wee bit of apartment envy— a condition that afflicts most New York City residents on a regular basis).
Teresa was 8 months pregnant at the time of the shoot and lives with her husband David, their 15 month-old daughter Harper and their two dogs, Lola and Rocco. Understandably, Teresa had mixed feelings about letting a photographer into her home on a weekday at 6am.
"To be honest, I was hatching a plan to excuse myself from this whole exercise in the weeks leading up to the shoot. I never really intended to be selected. When I got the email, I had a moment of joy at having 'won' something, followed immediately by sheer panic."
Teresa's husband had no mixed feelings whatsoever. His response was...
"This is not a prize, it's a terrible punishment."
Begrudgingly, they participated in the shoot and (thank god!) ended up loving the photos. "Although my husband would never admit it, I think he forgives me for the whole experience!"
Teresa and David's day starts with their regular wake-up call— Harper, who demands a bottle at 6am. Then she comes into their bed for 15-20 minutes of snuggle time, which is their favorite part of the morning. "She's extra cuddly and chatty during that time and it's such a nice way to start the day."
David usually gets out of bed first to walk the dogs and make the coffee.
Then Teresa has the tough task of feeding Harper.
"Unlike her parents, Harper is extremely picky and often refuses meals by dumping them directly onto the floor. We regularly battle with her to take as much as a bite or two."
Teresa employs her good friend "the television" to watch Harper while she packs her lunch and gets dressed. "I have no idea how 'our-children-don't-watch-tv' people survive without those fifteen uninterrupted minutes."
I asked Teresa for three adjectives to describe her mornings before the photo shoot and she said "mundane, predictable and efficient".
When I asked her again after the shoot, she said "Lovely, warm and intimate."
Teresa thinks living in New York City helps them take things slower in the morning because they have short commutes to work. "And the fact that I never have to get behind the wheel makes the world a much safer place."
Teresa leaves for work at about 8:15am. David takes Harper to daycare at 8:30am before he heads to the office.
When I asked Teresa for her and David's response to the photos, she said...
"David doesn't really understand what a blog is, so the entire idea of the post confused him terribly and I had to do a lot of explaining and damage control. I'm not kidding when I say he was legitimately upset with me about this. But, I'm so glad we went through with it. Raquel caught so many moments I didn't realize ever happened. I was so surprised to see myself laughing in the photo where I was brushing Harper's teeth. In my memory, I did it quickly, abruptly and without as much as a smile. That single photo made me think, 'Maybe I am a better, warmer mom than I give myself credit for...' "
Thank you, Teresa for giving us a small window into your beautiful morning.
And thank you David for not snarling at the camera!
Lastly— Teresa gave birth to baby Owen on November 19th. Below is Harper welcoming her little brother home.
If you want to be part of my next project (whatever that might be), follow Mommy Shorts on facebook.
This post is part of a series called "Monday Mornings", documenting five 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.
By the way, a shoot with Raquel (morning or otherwise) would make an excellent holiday gift. She is giving Mommy Shorts readers 10% off through December 20th. Just tell her I sent you!