As of two weeks ago, we completed all 12 moms in the Monday Morning series. Although Raquel and I are sad the series has come to an end (for now, hopefully), we’re so happy to have had the opportunity to peek into the mornings of each of our featured mothers.
I want to give Allstate a huge thanks for making this series possible as well as thank each mother for participating. You must remember that we did not know a lot about the moms when we chose them— just basic stats about where they lived and their routine. No pictures of them, their children or their homes. In the end, it was lovely to see how diverse the group was and how each family had something unique that set their story apart. Most often, we did not know what that unique thing would be until Raquel was at their home or until I interviewed them afterwards.
For instance, we knew Shaneka and Adriana were both single mothers, but I never could have imagined how different their lives and outlook would be. We did not know that Kristen B was struggling through Postpartum Depression and we did not know that Anna was questioning if she would be able to work again. We didn’t know that Kristen W would go into false labor the night before the shoot or that Morgan would be offered a full-time job while Raquel was at her home.
The main thing I learned through this series is that motherhood is a constant state of change. The things that were true nine months ago when the mothers were selected were often vastly different by the time they were featured.
Kids started school, babies were born, work hours shifted, circumstances changed but in all cases, life moved forward. Morning routines seem to reflect all larger life adjustments. And parents always find a way (through childcare, daycare, help from the neighbors, cutting back on work hours, opting to stay home, upping the involvement of a spouse, involving grandparents, etc.) to make things work.
Throughout the series, I have tried to take a step back and let each mother tell their own stories without me injecting too much of my own interpretation. But truthfully, they have all taught me so much.
They taught me about being brave, about accepting help, about letting guilt go, about appreciating the mundane, about giving yourself a break, about triumph over hardship, about working as a team and about how to squeeze happiness out of moments you may normally overlook.
Almost every mother, whether I wrote about it or not, made a small negative reference to their baby weight. So, they also taught me to be less self-critical, because I think we can all agree that all the mothers and their mornings looked beautiful.
To finish the series, I asked each mom to tell me their favorite photo and a little bit about what the experience meant to them. One thing I didn’t consider was how much your comments would mean to the mothers who participated. Your overwhelmingly positive feedback was a gift.
“The experience made me reflect on the time we spend together in the mornings and realize how special it is, even though it goes by really fast each day. I enjoyed reading the comments and found them very encouraging. It seems like everyone’s routine, although very different, have at least a few things in common.”
Read more about Laura’s morning here.
“My favorite picture is the one taken of my daughter, Ellie, in the kitchen with her pacifier in her mouth, holding the love of her life, Stinky (the monkey). In the months since the photo shoot, so much has changed and both kids seem so much older. This photo is like a snapshot in time of when she was still a baby. These kids grow up so so fast… In hindsight, I do wish that I worried less about how I was going to look in the pictures and just focused more on how loving our mornings truly are.”
Read more about Sara’s morning here.
“There is one photo that is a mirror of our day. It’s the one with Sterling talking to me (you don’t see Spencer and I. But, Spencer is sitting next to me), and Shekinah is in the background on her phone. This is spot on of our life… When I first saw the post, I thought to myself, ‘that was nice, they are beautiful photos.’ But then my friends and family started calling and texting, saying ‘That was beautiful but, DID YOU READ THE COMMENTS??!?!!!’ When I read the comments, I got really emotional— borderline ugly cry. I never thought about how much I get done before walking out the door, so for others to acknowledge it, made me feel like, ‘Hey, I’m doing alright!’. Your readers have no idea how meaningful and encouraging their words were.”
Read more about Shaneka’s morning here.
“My favorite picture is the one where I’m sitting on the stairway, holding Rose and talking to Noah about something. I think the reason I like this photo best is because it really illustrates how I make a big effort to be there for BOTH of my kids. I thought it was really funny how so many of the comments were about my matching pajamas! I have to give my Mom credit for that one, as she always buys me PJs each year for my birthday, so it’s entirely her doing that I didn’t show up for the shoot wearing a pair of my husband’s boxer briefs and a ratty old tank top. I was so happy that for the most part your readers found my morning relatable. Being a stay-at-home mom can be so isolating, and I often lose perspective on how much I juggle on a daily basis.”
Read more about Anna’s morning here.
“One of the comments mentioned Nick’s ‘guns’ and that ‘it must be from all the bed making’— I died laughing and it totally made my day. Yeah, my husband is pretty hot… It was hard to pick a favorite picture (I am in love with so many of them!), but after going back through them, I picked this picture of us heading out the door. I don’t remember noticing how calmly Kaelan is waiting on us while Nick set the alarm, with his hand resting on Evie’s carrier. I really love it. It’s candid, has all four of us, and I feel like it captures Kaelan’s love for his sister.”
Read more of Ashley’s morning here.
“My favorite picture is the picture of Brayden smiling when he was playing in bed. Seeing his smile helps affirm that I am doing something right. My son is still joyful. My biggest fear was that he’d lose his joy with the loss of his dad.”
Read more of Kristen W’s morning here.
“It was very encouraging to read all the PPD support from your other readers. Sharing the story with my extended family and friends was a casual way to make them aware that I had PPD. It was hard; I got help and got better. It’s just this thing, you know? No need to be ashamed. I am grateful to the whole Mommy Shorts team for capturing such a brief, but sweet, moment in our lives.”
Read more about Kristen B’s morning here.
“The photo of Scott kissing Delilah goodbye would have to be my favorite of the shoot— although it’s hard to choose!!! I’m really grateful the opportunity to capture our morning came at such a pivotal time [right before she started a full time job]. The routine in the pictures has vanished into the past and has been replaced by what feels like a whole new life. It’s amazing to have had someone capture the beauty and peace we had together during those years when neither Delilah or I had anywhere urgent to be.”
Read more about Morgan’s morning here.
“My favorite photo is the one of Armand playing trains with AJ. Armand is very aware of showing warmth and love to both of our boys and it definitely shows in these pictures. He does not want our sons to think men do not show emotion, so he makes an extra effort to hug, kiss, and play with them. Watching Armand with AJ and Jackson makes me fall in love with him again and again.”
Read more about Roxie’s morning here.
“Sometimes parenting can be very isolating, but reading the comments and hearing people’s reactions to our situation made me realize we aren’t alone in our experiences— even though everyone’s family might be unique, we are all trying to raise the best children we can. A lot of my colleagues in the opera world told me they were glad I wrote about the challenges of what we do. I meet very few stage managers with children, so I’m glad I was able to show that it is possible. My favorite photo is the one of Lulu laying on the ground looking up at the camera. Every so often I look at that picture and think, ‘Dang, I have a really cute baby!'”
Read more about Diane’s morning here.
“My favorite photos are the ones that capture the little bit of play time I have with both my girls before leaving for work— when everything is ready to go and I take those last few minutes before I leave for work to give my girls some undivided attention… I would like to extend a huge thank you to your readers for their incredibly kind comments. After reading them, I realized I was being overly critical. Geoff is an amazing husband and an even more amazing daddy, and I am so happy that everyone was able to see that through the exhaustion. We are a loving family that is doing everything we can to make it work in a way that is best for our children.”
Read more about Orisia’s morning here.
“My favorite part of the series was the support I felt reading the responses from other moms who share similarities to my story. Or from moms who just had something supportive to say. The blog comments were all very positive. I feel like your followers are such a wonderful community of kind mothers, all trying to do their best with raising their kids day by day.”
Read more of Adriana’s story here.
I want to thank all my readers for participating in the Monday Morning series too.
Allstate has been very generous letting the mothers take the forefront of each post and existing in the background as support. I cannot be more thankful that they made this happen. It signifies to me that Allstate truly appreciates the value of what I was trying to do and that my goals align with theirs— acknowledging mothers for helping their families lead the good life everyday and putting the ones we love in good capable hands.
If you would like “Monday Mornings” to continue, please leave comments below about what the series has meant for you.
Your support has not only meant the world to the featured moms, it pretty much determines whether we get to do this again next year.
This post was sponsored by Allstate, but all thoughts and opinion are my own.