Hi! My name is Danielle and I’m a professional and personal photographer in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Taking pictures was an early childhood hobby of mine that dates all the way back to the 5th grade.
My first photo shoots mostly consisted of stuffed animals, real animals or my friends and I making silly faces. However, I soon realized it was a lot more fun to document my life and record all of the memories for years to come!
I started with out disposal cameras. You know, the little orange boxes that limited your captures. Later on, I started experimenting with film. A few years after high school, I bought my first point-and-shoot digital camera. I was crazy with that little Sony cam.
I loved the fact I could take and delete pictures until I got just the right one. Now that I’m a mother of 6, the lessons I learned are really coming in handy!
When My Hobby Turned into a Passion.
After I had my first child, taking pictures no longer involved my friends and fur babies. Things got a little bit more serious – if you know what I mean. I was determined to photograph my daughter’s every waking moment. The more kids I had, the more obsessed I became. I now have boxes upon boxes of 4×6 prints to prove it!
The memories of spaghetti covered faces and naked baby bums will be available to cherish for always. My husband isn’t a big fan of lugging them around, so now I have external drives full of photos! Even though I may have over-captured at times, I know my kids will love sharing our family memories with their kids one day.
I’ll appreciate it too – when their future spouses come over for dinner and we reminisce about everything (haha). But, before I get to a never-ending ramble about my SIX kids, I should get to the purpose of this blog post. I’d like to invite you to pursue growing as a mom with me..
You Don't Have to Approach Motherhood Alone.
After all I’ve experienced as a mom (and in my life), I have so many things to share with those of you just beginning your motherhood journey. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there for parenting, but nothing can prepare you for your unique role and design as “mom”.
Everyone’s kids are different (not to mention the dynamic of the home or contrast between boys and girls). So it can be difficult if you don’t have adequate information to guide you through the unexpected – or someone leading you.
I know my upbringing didn’t equip me with a lot. But it’s really taught me how to listen to the perspective of others. You can’t do everything on your own, momma.
More About the Children in My Family.
My oldest daughter just turned 18 and my youngest just turned 1! My 15 year old is still finding her identity and my 8 year old son is stuck in the middle of a lot of girls! Cora and Selah are now 2 and 5 and still learning to be friends.
There is never a dull day in our household, which truly prepares me for a lot of my photography sessions. Every personality and age group seems to be represented in our home. So working together with my husband, especially with the boys, is key to making it all work.
Why I Wanted to Share This Type of Blog.
Even though I’ve kind of learned on the fly, a lot of knowledge has come from the many church groups that my husband and I attend. We’ve attended studies and seminars on marriage, finance, parenting and even discipleship. What we study has been great, but sharing with other people is what has really blessed us.
I’d love to share with you all I’ve come to know, but I have a hard enough time writing a blog. A novel on parenting is not my forte. Being a mom and dad is hard. Real hard. Being a wife is hard too – but it’s on us to grow through life to raise children while supporting and honoring our husbands’ hands.
Since our flesh often gets in the way, I wanted to start a new blog series about growing as a mom with me. Hopefully I can keep up with it. Writing this much has been surprising!
Lesson for Growing as a Mom with Boys:
About 5 years ago, my husband and I started going to a young families group every other Friday. The study was basically on family legacy and we used Dr. James Dobson’s Building a Family Legacy series as a guide. When we completed the Bringing Up Boys chapter, I was stunned by some of the facts he shared. (A lot of times, I like to think I already know it all).
Since I absolutely adored how much my only son (at the time) loved my attention, I was convicted. So I had to share what caught my mind during this part of the series. Dr. Dobson mentioned that boys are not born KNOWING what it means to be a BOY. They become what they’re taught. Think about the way little girls naturally act and behave.
The Common Traits of Girls are Different Than Boys.
Take my little Cora for example.. She has an instinct to nurture a baby doll without being shown or taught. No matter what baby she’s playing with, she knows exactly what to do. She rocks them and talks quietly to them. She’ll gives them hugs, kisses and even push them around in a little stroller! She’s also a sucker for her daddy and craves his protection and love.
Apparently, I Wasn't Exactly Ready to Take on a Son.
Since I’ve already handled this daughter thing twice before, I already knew what to expect. Little girls are born to nurture and act in a motherly fashion. It is already implanted in their design if you will. Boys on the other hand must learn the process of being a boy and a man by their father (or a fatherly figure).
This can be difficult when dad is always working to provide. The mother is usually there for them. They want to be independent and learn on their own. But need someone to pick them up, not coddle them, when they fall. Learning how to lead, respect and love is so important in their early stages! Despite being more stubborn, they are super observant.
He went on to make a hard point that a young boy by the age of 5 must detach from his mom so he can attach to his father. My heart immediately sank. I always wanted and thought that he would be a little mommas boy for his entire life. If you have sons, then you’re familiar with the bond of a mother and son compared to daughters. It’s not that I love my girls less, it’s just a different bond. But I was wrong and I still struggle with this.
What I Learned From a Mother's Perspective
Little Jordan and I do so much together. He enjoys cooking and cleaning with me. I enjoy playing with him outside and at the park. Some days, I am his school teacher. I really fall in love with doing my best to teach him how to be a respectful young man. For those of you growing as a mom, I’m sure you can relate.
So, my first thought to Mr. Dobson’s statement of letting him go was, “there’s no way.” I had to give all of this up? But, that isn’t necessarily true. I just need to make a stronger push towards more quality time with dad. It’s up to my husband to show him what it means to be a boy – and to do “boy” things. I guess he would know better than me.. sigh..
When you really think about it, it makes total sense. Not only does he need daddy to teach him how to love a wife – but he needs a man to show him how to lead. Not just someone telling him what he should do or what he needs to become. Here are some examples..
5 Traits a Young Boy Needs to Have.
Mr. Dobson shared with us 5 traits a son must be able to learn from his father. Daddy must not only speak of these things but to be a constant role model for him in these areas:
- Provide for the family and loved one’s that are depending on him.
- Protect the family and be treated as a safe haven and trustworthy.
- Provide leadership by maintaining masculinity and being serious about things.
- Spiritual guidance from the Word and by leading a Christ-centered life.
- Respect women, by leading his mother with gentleness and respect.
My Takeaways as a Growing Mom.
Growing up in a fatherless home really put this in perspective for me. It caused me to mask a lot of issues I had as a little girl. I can’t imagine what this could do to a little boy. I can’t imagine how lost and confused it could cause him to be. I could see how, at least in my opinion, the lack of manly leadership in our society has been the result. You have to consider the factor it’s played in homosexuality, sexual harassment, domestic violence and destruction in general.
A lot of young men haven’t been shown how to be respectful. They weren’t shown how to love or how to treat a woman. They weren’t taught how to protect and lead with integrity. What’s worse is there are just as many boys that have been shown the wrong way. Even young girls like me who have the wrong impression of what a man and father should be. My husband’s only job isn’t just to love me the way I want him to.
Many little boys are never able to understand the real responsibility of being a man. All of which is truly sad..
Grow As A Mom With Me Through Faith.
This is a verse we really should pay attention to. “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” It’s not always what WE think. We have to be a model for them to follow in all that we do. Especially when it comes to respecting and honoring our husband’s leadership. Of course we are going to make mistakes – or are currently making mistakes – but admitting your wrongs to God allows grace to work through you.
If you trust Him, He’s not going to leave you hanging out to dry. Even if you don’t understand the lesson, it’s usually something you need. Find God-fearing, Spirit-led people to hold you accountable and encourage you. Join a group like we have and lean on each other. There is so much you can do, but sitting back and doing nothing will never work in your favor. We can’t expect God to work that way.
Moms, Take Action & Stick To It!
Wives, encourage your husbands to get out there with their little boys. Make sure they’re able to spend quality time like fishing, building, fixing or tossing the ball around. This weekend, my husband decided to fix up a broken bench he found on the side of the road. He guided little Jordan though the whole process, including the drilling!
I wanted to stand outside and bark out orders on safety.. But I needed to step back and let dad take charge, because that is what my son needs. MOMMA HAD TO STEP BACK! Guess what? Nothing bad happened. I have to be able to trust that the man of our house is going to protect him just as good or better than me. That’s something I rarely want to let go of.
While biting my tongue, I was able to take advantage of this perfect opportunity to photograph some more moments for my collection. After all, that is what I do 🙂 They can thank me later! Its funny how Jordan really does turn into a little man around his daddy. His whole demeanor changes. Even his little face gets serious. It melts my heart to watch these two grow together. I really ought to step back a lot more often.
Additional Takeaways For Different Dynamics.
Mommas, please give yourselves a break and pass the reins to daddy. It is exactly what he needs. In most cases, it’s exactly what daddy needs too. If you’re a single mom, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable as seek out a role model for him. Even time once a month with a man of integrity can help him. Don’t let just any man lead him.
Growing as wives requires doing things that don’t always feel right, intuitively. But, what our little boys need is important too. 🙂 Growing As A Mom With Me is my first from-the-heart type of blog series. I’d love to hear your feedback! Let me know if I can ever capture your smiles, styles or anything else worthwhile! Thanks for reading!