My life as a mom photographer

Oh gosh. Those words used to make me cringe, you guys. A "mom photographer." Those were... excuse me for my small-minded-ness... but in my mind, those were the ladies who discovered that they could learn how to use a camera to take good pictures of their kids, and maybe even make a dime or two on pictures of their friends, as well. But me? Oh, I wasn't a mom. I was a photographer helping to support our household before I ever became a mom. And for some reason that made me feel... more legit? I don't know. What I was doing was hard work and I was mildly insulted to think others thought they could "do it too." Ridiculousness. Pure naivety. Mamas who are also photographers: Please forgive me for judging you. I knew not what I was doing. And I will never do it again. Especially because now I know, (besides being a work-from-home-mom and a photographer), that being even just a mom really does put you into a whole different category of it's own. A beautiful category where every mama should have her own crown and vacation days and be treated like royalty. Except we all know that doesn't happen. :) 

I am currently sitting at my parent's house... by myself. Feeling the total opposite of royalty. I am honestly a little ashamed to tell you this. But, I'm an open book, so here it goes. I sent my daughter away for a week while I am on-call for a birth. A whole week. Away from me... just so I can be prepared to work at the drop of a hat. We all know I went to Haiti for a week earlier this year, but that seemed different. That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And Sunday was safe in her home, in her familiar space, with her dad. But this time it's so different.

I don't handle stress well. Like, literally, my body gets sick and I am in pain after a significant amount of stress. Okay, maybe not even a significant amount. Actually, it's embarrassing how little stress I really can handle. But that's not what matters. What matters is that I know myself, I know my limits, and I have learned to respect the boundaries my body puts before me. So. In this case, my parents were headed out of town for a week while I was planning to be on-call for two births on their side of the state. The original plan was awesome. Sunday and I would stay with my parent's while Tommy was at his annual, two-week army training. I could get up at 3am and simply walk out of the door for a birth, not having to worry about waking Sunday up and taking her to a babysitter in the middle of the night. Perfect! But then... my parent's were invited to my sister's house for a huge milestone in the life of her family. And they had to go! Of course they did! But then that left me with a commitment to two mamas expecting babies, and at my parent's house without childcare for Sunday. She doesn't know anyone here except my parents. And on-call babysitting isn't really... a thing. So I did the thing I thought was best for her comfort and for my over-sensitive stress level. I booked her a flight to go along with my parents. 

They left yesterday morning and I am so sad! My mama heart is HURTING! What kind of mom sends their baby away just so she can maybe, possibly, work? I love my clients... I love birth... I love, love this opportunity I have in my life to do what I do and make a living doing it. I do not break commitments to my clients. But that little thing called comparison... it's ruining me today. I know there are mamas on social media who are thinking "What kind of a MOM does that?! I could never... would never send my TWO YEAR OLD away for a week." It's true. They are there. I'd call out their names if there wasn't a sure-fire repercussion. But they are probably reading this blog post right now, so yeah. I'm talking to you. :) 

I'm a working mama. Yes, I run my own business and I call all the shots. But, I do have bosses, you know. They are called my clients. And I respect them and care about them, too. There are pros and cons to every job, no matter how much you love it. There are days when I dread sitting down at the computer and times I walk into a session with my stomach flip-flopping around. There are hard moments to this work... just like there are hard moments in motherhood. But they are worth it. They teach me and stretch me. And as I type this, my baby girl is safe in her surroundings right now... probably waking everyone else up way too early because of the time change. She's spending time with her cousins, waiting in line for the potty (for real, I'd show you that picture if it wasn't inappropriate for the internet), and having wrestling matches. She's happy... and mama's clients will be happy. These are the things we do for people we care about. And... okay... I am kind of getting a little mini vacation out of the whole thing, too. I guess that's a pro.

I know it's been a while since I've blogged. I have been weighing so many options in my heart these past few months. I shared with you guys last year that I felt a longing towards motherhood... a new feeling... one that I wanted to listen to. I'm still figuring things out as far as where this little business of mine is headed and what my plans are. And this blog? Some days I want to write... some days I don't. I haven't treated my blog as a business tool for a while... and you know what? That doesn't seemed to have affected my income. Imagine that! I'm grateful for the lessons I learn through being a business owner and being a mama. I hope to share more with you all in the future, but I'm taking blogging off of my to-do list for now. I'll write when I feel led to. And today, I felt led to.

And if you read all of this - whew. That was a doozy. Thank you. <3

Liz Cook

Liz Cook is a wedding, birth, and motherhood photographer based in Central Virginia. Her intuition and creative perspective allow her to connect both professionally and personally with her subjects, and thus, her portfolio is saturated with authentic emotion. Whether she's sharing her story with fellow entrepreneurs or enjoying quality time with her husband and two daughters, Liz is both present and passionate about capturing and celebrating life. Her work has been featured by O "Oprah" Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Glitter Guide, Essence Magazine, domino, Rue Magazine, among others.