Growing as a Mom with Me | Part 1

As you may already know, I am a Family and Children Photographer in the West Phoenix Valley. Taking pictures was an early childhood hobby of mine. My picture taking dates all the way back to the 5th grade. My first photo sessions mostly consisted of my animals, friends and silly faces - but I eventually realized that I could document my life with my camera and record memories for years to come. I started with disposal cameras, then later film, and got my first point and shoot digital camera somewhere around 2005. I was crazy with that little Sony cam. I loved the fact I can take and delete pictures until I got just the right one. I never knew this would play into my role as a mother.
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When I became a mom, my pictures no longer consisted of friends and fur babies. I was determined to photograph every waking moment. I have boxes upon boxes of 4x6 prints of my little babes to prove it. I have memories of spaghetti covered faces and naked baby bums to cherish for always.

Even though I may have over-captured over the years, I know my kids will appreciate the memories when they have kids of their own. I’ll appreciate it too, when their future spouses come over for dinner and we reminisce about stories through our pictures. But, before I get to a never-ending ramble about my FOUR 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..

surprise-az-childrens-photographer-for-lifestyle-photo-shoots-of-father-and-son-time-in-the-backyardHow I’ve Grown Over the Years

After all I’ve experienced as a mom, I have so many things I can 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 as mommy. Everyone’s kids are different, not to mention the contrast between boys and girls. That’s not even considering the dynamic of the home.. It can be difficult not having any information to guide you through certain situations that you weren’t expecting. I think perspective really matters.

My oldest daughter just turned 15 and my youngest is getting ready to start her terrible 2’s! My 11 year old is stuck in the middle with my only son, who’s almost 5! There is never a dull day in our household and it truly prepares me for a lot of my photography sessions. Even though I’ve learned on the fly, a lot of knowledge has come from the many church groups that my husband and I attend. We’ve been apart of marriage, financial and parenting studies over the past few years. These small groups have been great, but learning from other people’s stories has been amazing.

I’d love to share with you all we’ve been blessed to learn, but, I have a hard enough time writing a blog – let alone a novel on parenting. To be honest, I’m currently watching the Dallas Cowboys game while doing this. (Not sure its the best idea, but multitasking is where it’s at!) It won’t be long until Cora wakes up and joins me on the couch, pressing every button on my laptop.. You moms know exactly what I’m talking about, haha! Parenting is hard. Real hard. Being a mom and a wife is hard – and it’s on us to find ways to grow through it. This is why I wanted to start a new blog series about growing as a mom with me.

Growing as a Mom with Boys

My husband and I recently started a young families group every other Friday with our church family. We’re using Dr. James Dobson’s Building a Family Legacy DVD series as a guide. We completed the Bringing Up Boys chapter recently and I was stunned by some of the facts he shared. Since I love how much my only son loves me, I thought I’d share what caught my mind during this part of the series.

James Dobson mentioned that boys are not born KNOWING what it means to be a BOY. To better understand this, think about how little girls act and behave. Take my little Cora for example.. She is just over a year and a half and has an instinct to nurture a baby doll without being shown or taught. She doesn’t even have a baby doll of her own, but when we go over to one of our friend’s houses (they have four girls, and plenty of baby dolls) she knew exactly what to do with them. She rocks them and talks quietly to them. She’ll gives them hugs, kisses and even push them around in a little stroller!

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). They want to be independent and learn on their own, but it’s so important they’re guided in the early stages of learning respect and love.

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.

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 his 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 Must Learn From His Father

Mr. Dobson shared with us 5 traits a young 2 boy must learn from his father. Daddy must not only speak of these things but to be a constant role model for him in these areas:

  1. Respect women, by treating his mother respectfully and lovingly no matter what.
  2. Provide for the family and loved one’s that are depending on him.
  3. Protect the family and be viewed as a safe haven and not a threat.
  4. Provide leadership by maintaining masculinity and being serious when needed.
  5. Spiritual guidance, by leading a Christ-centered life.

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 woman. 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. They don’t understand the real responsibility of being a man. All of which is truly sad..

Grow As A Mom With Me Through Faith

“Develop your children the way Christ wants to them to go.” Be a model for them to follow in all that you do. Of course we are going to make mistakes – or are currently making mistakes – but give yourself grace, pray and seek God’s guidance. He’s not going to leave you hanging out to dry if you trust Him. Find good positive people to reinforce for 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.

Moms, Take Action & Stick To It!

Moms, hold dads accountable and get them out there with their little boys. Encourage 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!

However, I did not ignore 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.

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. Growing as a mom with me requires doing things that don’t always feel right, intuitively. But, what’s best for our little momma’s boys is important. 🙂

Let Me Know If You Enjoyed the Bog!

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!