“Monday Mornings” aims to prove there is beauty in every mother’s morning, even if we need an outsider to see it. Thanks to a partnership with Allstate, I am flying lifestyle photographer Raquel Bianca across the US to document the morning routines of twelve mothers in five different cities. This is our third stop in Los Angeles.
Anna is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer who lives in Hollywood with her husband Chris, their 21 month-old Noah and their new baby Rose, born just three weeks ago.
“We are far from a ‘Hollywood’ family – we’re not rich or glamorous and we don’t work in the entertainment industry. We’re very real. I mean, we’re so real, I can tell you I haven’t washed my hair in almost two weeks. That’s glamour, right there!”
Anna says their duplex is large by NYC standards “but seems to get smaller and smaller with each loud and annoying plastic toy that enters our door.”
One of the interesting things about a lot of the mothers we are featuring in this series is that they are in a state of transition and often at the beginning of figuring out a new morning routine. There are few things more life-altering than a new baby in the house.
Prior to Rose’s arrival, Anna was successfully managing a freelance writing career and regularly updating her blog (Misadventures in Motherhood) while taking care of Noah at home. She is now questioning whether this juggling act is still viable with two kids.
“Somehow with just Noah, I was able to blog five days a week, work freelance jobs and keep up with daily life stuff. But now that Rose is here, there never seems to be a time when they are both sleeping for a decent stretch so that I can get some work done. I AM NOT SUPERMOM.”
Prior to the shoot, Anna described her mornings as “busy, messy and chaotic” and talked about how she was very critical of herself and her parenting style.
“We’re constantly inundated with images of perfect moms, be it Hollywood stars and their post-baby bodies and designer nurseries, or Pinterest images of perfect birthday parties, it’s so hard not to compare yourself to all of this and come up incredibly short.”
Chris works in the restaurant business and has a very unpredictable schedule (“sometimes he leaves REALLY early in the morning, and sometimes he works REALLY late at night”) but most days, he is able to wake up with Noah at 7am, allowing Anna a little more time in bed.
“My husband is the one who gets up with Noah and makes him breakfast. He’s been doing this since the very beginning which is pretty much the only thing that kept me from going insane with sleep deprivation.”
“They have a really cute little morning bonding thing going.”
While Chris and Noah are together downstairs, Anna stays in bed with Rose. “I enjoy having the time in the morning to sit quietly with her after nursing. She usually gives me a big good morning smile!”
After feeding and changing the baby, Anna takes her downstairs to “join the breakfast shenanigans.”
Then she drinks coffee while answering emails for her husband’s business.
“Part of what makes our mornings so hectic is that I try to help Chris with miscellaneous work stuff before he leaves, and I also have to finish up my work stuff that didn’t get done the day before, so this can be a real challenge while simultaneously juggling two kids.”
Anna says the picture of her and Chris managing the kids while using the computer is the perfect illustration of their typical morning.
Throughout the rest of morning, Rose switches from nursing to napping and back to nursing again.
“I would like to tell you that I am one of those women who knows how long and which side she breastfed, with charts and schedules, but I’m not. I had every intention of being that kind of mother and I even purchased two apps for my phone to facilitate this, but it was all for naught, as the exhaustion and the business of day-to-day life got the better of me.”
Coincidentally, Anna’s father-in-law is Ken Heyman, the photographer who took the 50-year-old black and white photos of motherhood that went viral on the Huffington Post a few weeks ago.
“We both thought it was such a freaky coincidence that Ken’s photos of Motherhood went viral at the same time I was randomly chosen to participate in a project that’s kind of similar. Life is wacky that way.”
Anna loves being with her kids but also misses her life before children.
“Sometimes Noah is being difficult and all I think about is the hours stretching ahead of me until bedtime. There are so many dichotomies to motherhood – the joy of being a mother, but also the mourning of the life you used to have. I liked my life when I could go out for happy hour with friends and not worry about getting home for bedtime… However, there is nothing better than cuddling with my son or seeing my daughter smile. Those moments make it all worth it.”
After Chris leaves for work, Anna tries her best to have both kids down for a nap at 10am.
Then she takes advantage of those few precious moments to get herself dressed and tidy up, but is still struggling to find enough quiet time to write.
“What I hoped to accomplish that morning was a pitch for a freelance article, a start to a blog post and a shower. I’m almost positive none of these things were accomplished.”
When Anna looked through her photos, she was surprised by how they slowed everything down and took away the feeling of chaos. “I didn’t expect our morning to look so calm!”
She also said she didn’t look nearly “as horrendous as I thought I would”.
But I think Anna’s final takeaway is the most important.
“The main thing that surprised me was that I appear to be really present for my kids. I always feel like because I’m juggling work with being a stay-at-home mom that I’m not giving them enough of my focus – there’s an email that needs to be responded to, or a phone call that has to be taken – but I can see from the photos that when I’m with them, I do my best to be there for them. Thank you for assuaging some of my Mommy guilt!”
When asked what three adjectives she would use to describe her morning now, Anna’s conflicted feelings about motherhood faded for the moment. She responded…
“Loving. Peaceful. Joyful.”
This post is part of the “Monday Mornings” series sponsored by Allstate. Every family has a special morning routine, and as we continue this journey of documenting different mothers across the country, it’s clear that there is beauty in all of our mornings. As the nation’s largest publicly held insurance company, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most—but to guiding families to live the Good Life, every day.
I think this is my favourite because I relate to it so much! I especially love the nursing pictures – and i think my ovaries just exploded. OMG that baby!
I am jealous of her matching sleepwear compared to the stained sweatpants and t-shirts I normally wear! I agree that I love the nursing photos. I always found that most of the moments spent nursing my children were the most peaceful. I do miss those days.
Thank you, Anna, for addressing the dichotomies of motherhood! I think we would all agree that while we wouldn’t trade our children for anything in the world, there are moments of wistful pining for those times when spontaneity was possible. A beautiful portrait of a beautiful family!
Having a 3 week old myself I can totally relate. Anna’s pictures are beautiful. I will only say to not be so hard on yourself for your schedule. The baby is only 3 weeks old and they will settle into a routine shortly 🙂
This one is my favorite so far! I think it truly captures the balance act that we as mothers have to take on when we have a 2nd baby. It was really difficult for me and I love seeing her still in her PJ’s and just making it all work. Their family looks peaceful and real and I love it! I also can really relate to her comments about missing your old life, but loving your kids so much! I feel that every day. Beautiful!
What a beautiful family. Again, LOVE this series. Thanks for sharing!
I freelance from home, too. As soon as my son transitioned to one nap a day I was fortunate enough to find an opening in a daycare I trusted. I swear those three days a week are my saving grace-not only for my work but for my sanity. Once our second comes along I can’t even imagine trying to juggle both and working. Anna is a super mom whether she sees it or not. (That or totally insane-Probably a little of both, as we all are!) Either way, this is one of my favorites so far.
You know what… every single time I see these pics I realize how much more stylish everybody else is at decorating their houses. I missed that gene I think. They all have these beautiful homes and beautiful children… my kids are gorgeous too but my home lacks the style. lol
Totally agree that Anna’s home was really beautiful. If you look back at all the mothers we’ve photographed though, you will see there are several who were not into decorating 🙂
Very timely one for me, as my son is turning one year this month (although as I probably annoyingly point out every time, he was 2 months premature so he’s only 10 months adjusted for prematurity) and I’m pregnant with Baby #2 due in January (knocking on wood for full-term this time.) I am very lucky in that my husband has a home based business, but at the same time, it means that even though he’s always “home,” he’s also always “at work.” So I am definitely both looking forward to Baby #2’s arrival at the same time as being totally terrified by it! I love how Anna is so honest about everything and you can also tell how much she loves her babies. Great one 🙂
Ditto!! Loved that part of this post!
the nursing pics make me wish i had taken a few while my son was nursing because they re so precious. i love the print on that bouncer and i am so jealous that she has matching pjs. I am lucky to find matching pjs for my kid let alone myself.
You are not alone!! Going from 1-2 was such a shock to the system. The schedule of #1 is solidified and you’re in your groove then BAM! Earthquake!! But I can tell you, as a fellow writer, that this feeling of not handling the career portion well starts to subside. With two, you prioritize. The home being 80% clean? Good enough. Choose those things that matter (family and career) and let the rest fall to the wayside. ;o)
I’m going to be jumping from one child to three sometime over the next three weeks! This photo shoot has given me some idea as to what’s in store for me! I’ve just invested in a new pair of pjs since I assume I’ll be living in them for at least the first two weeks. Work is the last thing on my mind!!!
Beautiful!!! Thank you.
As a mom of two who works from home, I complete associate with Anna. You’re doing alright if you’re still standing! Just keep at it and as they grow you get more done.
If it makes you feel any better, Lori, I can usually be found sporting a pair of my husband’s underwear and a ripped t-shirt, but I thought that might not look too hot for a photo shoot.
My pleasure, Angie. Glad you enjoyed the piece as well as my not-always-pleasant thoughts on motherhood.
Thanks, Kasie! It was really lovely to be part of this series.
Pam, I’m mostly insane. But thanks for saying that I’m super 🙂
Teresa, it looks MUCH better in photos than in real life!
Thanks, Ellyn. So glad you enjoyed the piece! I think it’s often harder when your husband works at home because then you just have to keep the kids from bugging him – no easy feat, based on my own experience!
Thanks, AmberLynn. I agree that as long as I’m still standing and marginally sane things are going a-okay.
I started reading this blog around when this series started, and I am so happy to have found it, blog and the series you are doing! I love this post, I love that she is in her pjs all morning long, and trying to juggle all of it. So honest and real…as a stay at home mom to two boys ages 7 and 5, the youngest who just started school, my mornings are so busy. I get them dressed and cleaned and fed and their lunches and back packs packed, and on the bus. Then I have about a half an hour before the little twin girls, three years old, arrive that I watch 5 days a week, two of those days they stay over night with with me. I just love this one because I know those mornings, so well.
LOVE this series!! Thank you for sharing (and thank you to all the mothers also!)!
Love this series so so SO SO much. In each set, no matter how different the family seems from mine, I see deep similarities in mom’s gaze with baby, with dad’s affable connection to his children, with the familiar chaos of toys and books and blankets all around. The mom in this series particularly reminds me of MY mother, and helps me appreciate her all the more. LOVE Monday Mornings.
Anna, you are super brave to have done this with a 3 week old. Kudos to you on all levels.
[…] series, documenting moms across the country to show their unique morning routines. We met Anna in LA, Shaneka in Chicago, Diane in DC and Kristen in Houston among many […]