It is my pleasure to offer this space over to my friend Beryl Ayn Young, a mama photographer and teacher with a gift for capturing the beauty of motherhood. Welcome, Beryl!
There was a season in motherhood where I was a sprinter. Not in the hit the pavement, run races kind of way. In the ‘we must do all the things!’ kind of way.
I was working a full 9-5 (ok ok it was actually a 6-5 when you totaled in all the commuting to and from), mothering a wee one, building a part-time business, having weekly dinner dates with friends, squeezing in time for my husband & family, and doing nothing to nurture me.
I had lost sight of ‘me’ and who I was after becoming a mom, because I wasn’t making time for her.
Life is a marathon and not a sprint, and over the last 5 years I had to unlearn some damaging self-care habits and come face to face with my inability to slow down.
That’s where the magic is. (Which you know, if you’ve been following along here at Abundant Mama for a while)
We busy ourselves so we don’t have to deal with the hard bits of motherhood that we know will surface if we slow down for too long.
It’s scary to come face to face with the friends you’ve lost, the hobbies you’ve tossed aside, the staleness of your days, the messiness of your home, the tone of your voice, the strain in your relationships, the family who is growing before your very eyes, and the desire for more fulfillment.
When was the last time you stopped whizzing through the days and actually paused, seeing your life with gratitude, passion and purpose?
For me, picking up a camera allowed that space I so desperately needed. The act of exploring a new hobby gave me a fresh experience, capturing moments forced me to slow down and explore the nuisances of connection and storytelling, and becoming the memory maker for our family gave me a sense of purpose lost on me for so long.
It’s in those moments of pause, behind the lens, you’ll realize that you are whole.
You always have been.
You’ll see that beauty is all around you.
It’s always there, waiting.
You’ll realize you’ve found a hobby where you can slow down while being a mom.
Allowing you the nurturing and self-care you so need.
If you’re looking for a few simple ways to explore self-care through photography, here are 3 of my favorites:
Look through old photos
One of my top priorities this year has been getting photos off my hard drive and into print. My daughter and I LOVE looking at pictures together. Pictures of our wedding day, pictures of her as a baby, pictures from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s of her grandparents. It’s the perfect reset button to reconnect on the hard days, and it’s a great conversation starter to talk about our family stories and memories.
Go on a photo walk
Get outside and take the camera with you. Have a theme in mind to photograph when you set your foot out the door. Look for seasonal changes, flowers, animals, or a color. Take your kids along with you if you’d like, and take turns snapping the photos if they’re old enough. See how many different angles, perspectives or ways you can take pictures of the same things.
Edit some new favorites
I absolutely love the creative and artistic process that comes from editing photos. And the great news is that editing does not have to be hard, and you don’t even need to buy new computer software or equipment! You’ll frequently find me at my computer after my daughter’s bedtime, turning a photo I snapped earlier in the day from dull to vibrant and full of life.
If you’re interested in this idea of self-discovery and self-care through photography I’d like to invite you to download the first chapter of my new e-book Radiate for free (insert affiliate link). In the first chapter ‘Shades of Me’ you’ll be inspired to pick up a camera, slow down, and capture images that make your heart sing. Plus you’ll get access to a supplemental video where I spill the #1 editing technique I am constantly asked to share.
Beryl Ayn Young is a professional photographer by chance and a teacher at heart. Download her latest free lesson Shades of Me that will have you rediscovering your inner glow from behind the lens and editing photos with simplicity and ease.