I've got a big announcement to make today, but before I do, let me give the newbies a little background.
Last year, I did a photo shoot for Well Rounded NY with lifestyle photographer, Raquel Bianca to document my morning routine. Many reacted to the photos negatively. People thought they looked too beautiful to be a real representation of my morning. One mother even claimed they set too high of an expectation for the average working mom.
I said the beauty of the photographs surprised me as well— I was terrified to do the shoot because I thought it would expose my mornings for what they were— chaotic, disorganized and unenjoyable. But photographs stop time and show the little moments we miss— the snuggle you give at 6am when your kids invade your bed, the shoe you slip on your baby's foot with your foreheads practically touching, the smile you let escape when your daughter requests pancakes AGAIN.
I bet that if I sent the same photographer to any mother's home, she would find the beauty in their mornings too. To prove my point, I selected five mothers from around the NYC area, via reader comments— my main objective that different parts of NY were represented. Raquel and I did not see photos of the mothers, their families or their homes prior to the shoots.
Since we wanted the real deal with nothing stylized, Raquel arrived at 6am. The moms involved had no time to get their families in order even if they tried.
The goal wasn't to make their mornings look crazy or messy or comically awful. The goal was to show that even amidst the chaos and the crumbs, even when you don't pick up all the toys and you've got syrup stains on your mismatched pajamas, there is still beauty. In fact, the real moments, the ones that really represent your life and your family every day, are probably the most beautiful.
And that's how the "Monday Morning" series was born.
Ilona from Queens:
Annie from the suburbs of New Jersey:
Borami from Hoboken:
Teresa from the Upper West Side:
Jennifer from Brooklyn:
The series was tremendously popular and changed not just the perspectives of the mothers involved, but the perspective of many readers as well.
“Seeing these photos, along with yours, does make me realize that despite my own perception of the never ending chaos and the feeling that I'm doing nothing 100% well, from the outside things look pretty lovely. It also makes me remember that it's the precious little moments, so beautifully captured here, that we rush through each day, that are the ones that truly matter." – Jessica (real person, I swear)
The one complaint I got about "Monday Mornings" was that it focused only on moms from the NYC area. Readers wished more mothers from across the country were represented. I agreed. Only, I didn't have a budget to fly a photographer around the United States to snap photos. The only way I would be able to do that is if I got the series sponsored.
Well, today I am excited to announce a partnership with Allstate, an insurance company dedicated to protecting families and keeping them in good hands, who has generously agreed to help me continue the Monday Morning series and take it to other parts of the United States.
Can we all pause to let that sink in for a moment? I've known this for at least a month now and I still don't think I fully believe it.
We are looking for 12 moms in four different US cities (one city being Chicago since that's where Allstate calls home) with all different routines and backgrounds to feature their Monday Mornings on Mommy Shorts. The posts will be very similar to the five posts already featured in the program— Allstate has been clear from the beginning that they want me to maintain the authenticity of each post and not change anything I was previously doing for “Monday Mornings”. They even agreed to fly Raquel around so that I could use the same amazing photographer who made the previous posts so special.
Raquel and I could not be more excited about this partnership and I hope you all are too!
If you are a mother living in the continental United States and would like the opportunity to be featured in the Monday Morning series, please leave a brief comment below with:
a) the city/state you live in
b) the number and ages of your kids
c) any information you think might be relevant to your morning routine— what time you and/or your partner leave for work, whether your children stay at home/are in daycare/go to school/etc., if you work at home, if you have a baby on the way, if you are a single mom, if you have live-in help, if you have extended family at home, if you live in a small space, if you live in a colossal mansion, etc.
For full terms and conditions, click here.
Over the next few weeks, we will be working diligently to find the 12 featured mothers in our series. We are not looking to feature only people with extenuating circumstances— we just want a variety of relatable mornings represented.
As I mentioned, we are looking to find sets of three moms in four different cities. The only definite city is Chicago. If you want to up your chances, tell your friends nearby to enter!
A huge thank you to Allstate for making my dream come true and sponsoring Monday Mornings. It's been clear since we started working together, the series is in very good hands.