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I struggled today. I had a real moment of uncertainty. I always want to be honest about where I am and who I am, and that’s why family photos put me in a place that made me feel convicted. 

I love that we have the opportunity to capture these moments and seasons. I am so thankful for our talented friend Phoebe. It was a joy to watch her enjoy our family while her presence filled our home with such light and love. I love watching Lauren “play Phoebe” with her little camera, and I love that she came to our home today. I love that we got to have dinner with her whole family after. What I didn’t love was about eight minutes of my day where I started to stress. 
I thought:

  • Have to get our house cleaned
  • Have to clean bathrooms today 
  • Have to read books 
  • Have to get to the dishes
  • Have to move the laundry
  • Have to get kids down for naps (thanks time change)
  • Have to SHOWER
  • Have to do my hair 
  • Have to put on makeup 
  • Have to get my new dress on (shopping a few months post baby isn’t really fun)
  • Have to get kid outfits ready
  • Have to get dinner going 

After thinking through the end of this list of “HAVE TO’S” I realized I was robbing myself of the joy in all of it. Did everything have to happen? Did it all need to be “perfect” when Phoebe and her family got here?

No! It didn’t have to be and I could let that go. I half considered going with my hair in a pile and wearing a nursing tank and sweatpants because that would have been a more honest picture of what life looks like. Rob could wear shorts and a t-shirt and flip-flops. My kids could just wear PJs, and we would look like just us. I thought for a minute that I would be completely okay with this. I realized what a huge deal that feeling was- to be okay with that is an accomplishment for me. 

I then realized that I wanted to shower and put on makeup. Ethan loves his new hat and Lauren loves her new dress. I wanted to see them have fun in things that are fun for them to wear. I wanted to see Joshua rock his new sweater vest. So I went with that plan, but skipped the rest that felt like stress.

Yes, I still got dinner done, but there were dishes in my sink when our friends got here and that was okay. As my friend Becca says, “Tory, no one died because there are dishes in your sink!” I love her for lots of reasons, and one of them is being a voice of reason for me. 

After that I just took a breath and knew that I could relax and enjoy it. We will never take family pictures again for the first time as a family of five. We will never have our babies at this age and stage again. It will never be like this again, and I needed to honor that. 

This doesn’t mean I wasn’t me in it. It just means that after letting go of “having” to do any of it, I got to enjoy each part of it. I really did enjoy it too! Ethan didn’t want to sit or stand still and Joshua spit up through a good deal of the pictures, and I looked at them in each one and could only see how beautiful they were. Nothing was stressing them out, and that is a beautiful thing. They were just having fun with all of us being a family together. Oh I want to be like my kids in some of these things! 
I’m learning in this it’s okay to let go. It’s okay to give myself a break. It’s okay to not get it all done. It’s all okay. It really is. 

There was lots of yelling “Cheese,” suckers, some Trolls, and we got to have fun all together. I hope when I look back on this day and back at these pictures I see myself for who I am: an imperfect mom who gives her best, loves her babies and husband fiercely, who will always be learning, and who was glad she chose to shower and put on some makeup instead of washing dishes.