MOTHERHOOD CAPTURED: march
With Ben off work this week, we planned a pretty lazy Easter holidays with nowhere to go and nowhere to be - a rarity and a luxury these days. But one thing Josephine really wanted was to go swimming. We decided to head to Swindon and the Oasis Leisure Centre where there were the slides, wave machines and all round amazing waterpark-type things that a four year old would love.
We bought the girls new swimming costumes in M&S the day before we went (Phiney picked them both - brilliant choices and exactly what I'd have picked) and they pranced around the living room for ages trying them on when we got home. Josephine was more excited the night before we went than she was on Christmas Eve.
All of us had a brilliant time. I think you can see that in these photos. It's one of the reasons they're so special. I'm so happy this project reminded me to hand the camera to Ben to capture me in that moment too. On that lovely family morning, that totally lived up to Josephine's expectations. That saw Coralie's fear of the waves and splashes quickly vanish until she wanted nothing more than to get under the showers of water.
I love how happy the girls look here, and I love how happy I look. How happy I am. To be spending that morning with my three favourite people. Making a random Thursday morning actually pretty magical. To not be thinking about the to-do list or the bank balance, or how we'll ever be able to buy a house or how to make those career dreams come true. To just be there in the moment. Laughing with my little family. Breathing it all in.
It's also special because it represents a change in me. It wasn't too long ago that the idea of getting into my swimming costume would fill me with dread. That I'd have sneaked into the pool and not budged until it was time to get out. And despite the fact that after two children I most certainly do not have my 'ideal' body (it's not much bigger than it was pre-baby, but it's certainly softer and a little more wrinkly in places!) I am more confident in my own skin than ever before. This last year, I've really focused on becoming the role model I want to be for our girls.
Since Christmas I've been on a health kick. Not so much to loose weight (although that's a nice side effect) but more to be a Mama that 'does' and not just teaches; to practice what I preach. To resist the chocolate bar when I'm telling the girls to have an apple instead, to walk instead of drive - even when it's "sooooo far" (a four year old's perception of a five minute walk).
With daughters especially, I think it's so important that I never look in the mirror and complain. I never say my bottom's too big, or I hate my arms. The word diet isn't one that gets used in our house. They take it all in, even if we think they're too young or they're not listening. And I want to make sure the words I say are positive and encouraging. It's about being healthy and strong and fit. I always focus on the importance on being beautiful on the inside, not on the outside (although telling them they look lovely isn't a bad thing. It's just about balance, right?) And it's started rubbing off. I'm beginning to get it too.
Yesterday, I changed into my swimming costume without a second thought (you know - apart from the bikini wax one a few days earlier!) I walked into the pool and got out, and got back in again. The thought of what I looked like didn't cross my mind. I was there to have fun with my family, and that's exactly what I did.
I hope all this goes a long way - towards my own happiness and that of our children. It's a cruel old world when it comes to appearance, and I want to fill their heads with the right stuff - a solid foundation about what really matters - before they head out and hear otherwise.
So that's why I love these pictures. The happiness outside and in. The depiction of my journey as a Mother, and as a person, these last few months especially. And I love that this series is making me think about all these things. Photographs can be powerful. They say so much more than we initial think when we first look at them. It's why I love them so much, and why I love my job.
Here's to next month...