That Home | Mothers Day

Last week I sat in a cafeteria with tears streaming down my face, listening to the sweet melodies of a class of first graders offer praise to the women who are raising them.  There were mothers, aunts, and grandmothers, all listening intently as 60 or so children who often drive us crazy, sang to us and showered us with handmade gifts, and sat with us over tea. I felt so undeserving, so full of joy, and so full of heartache, all at the same time. I didn't want to be the mom losing it in front of teachers and friends and acquaintances, but there I sat, tears gently rolling off my cheeks landing softly on my dress, leaving their mark for only a few minutes before fading into a memory. MothersDay2016-3474

This week marks the first week of my journey as a work at home mom.  Up until this point in my life, I have almost always worked more than one job.  I have always been driven and had strong entrepreneurial aspirations from a young age, and owned a boutique for a time during my mid 20s.  Although it didn't work out in the end, I always felt I was walking away from some form of the life I wanted when I went back to an office setting in 2012.  I was still doing something I loved and was extremely thankful to have a job in our area as a designer, but I missed out on so much.  It's a hard calling to be a working mom and do it with grace.

I have always been fortunate to have a wonderful role model who is the definition of a strong mom.  From dragging me to soccer in 3rd grade because she knew it would be good for me, to making me walk up to a sales associate to return something I stole from a store during a time I was acting like a spoiled brat, to driving me to more sporting and social events than is even considered sane, she had my back.  When I called her in 8th grade to pick me up at a party where I wasn't comfortable, she was there.  She took me to get my first job and helped instill a killer work ethic in me, gave me a zero interest loan when I made poor financial decisions in college, and even today, comes to help with my laundry and dishes; she's handles my messes like no one else can.

I feel like I owe it to you all to say that I am not perfect in any way, I have made more mistakes than I can count, some of which have been harmful to myself and probably others.  But I know that redemption is possible, change is good, and grace is a powerful thing.  For the past week or so, something has been weighing heavy on my heart, and I need to let it out.  This is for all of the Moms out there, who are struggling to find purpose in their lives and struggling to get through the day to day that sometimes seem overwhelming and frustrating.  Maybe you're raising little ones and you feel beat down, exhausted, and stressed.  Maybe you're working two jobs and feeling guilty, but know you need to press on.  Maybe you have made some mistakes in your past and others are helping you raise your babies while you get your life together.  Maybe you're that Aunt or Grandmother that is raising those babies for a loved one while they figure stuff out... or don't.  I even know there are some fathers' out there that are trying to provide a sense of motherhood to sons and daughters that are left without someone to call Mom.  Maybe you're a grieving Momma or you desperately wish to be a Momma, and can't wait to have the opportunity to experience your first Mother's Day.

We as mothers or motherly figures have a calling that isn't easy, but we owe it to ourselves and the children who we're raising in one way or another to be strong and be the type of women that will make a difference in the lives of our youth.  I had the absolute pleasure of listening to one of my dear friends Renee, perform a song accompanied by my very own Mother (and my Dad!) both last night at a Mother's Day Dinner, as well as this morning at church.  And the lyrics couldn't have been any more appropriate, bringing my thoughts over the past week full circle.

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Here are some of the lyrics from the song, 'That Home' by the Newsboys:

There was a home in town Where broken kids, the lost & found Would come from miles around Just to see, what love was all about 'Cause Momma had a way of makin' things okay

She'd cook us our favorite meal Sit and listen to how we feel Oh, how the pain was real How many families what the devil steal? Momma had a way of makin' things okay

In that home We knew we were safe To be young enough to dream Find the faith to believe And in that home Love, it had no end It's where we learned to forgive In that home

Momma always had the music on Sometimes loud, sometimes soft When I asked her 'bout her favorite song She opened the bible to the book of Psalms She always found a way to talk about grace

In that home We knew we were safe To be young enough to dream Find the faith to believe And in that home Love, it had no end That's where we learned to forgive In that home

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The words of this song hit me deeply.  I don't know about you, but it's my prayer that I somehow manage to be everything in this song for my children.  For my nieces and nephews and my children's friends, I want to be this.  It's not easy; it will take a conscious effort, but it will be so worth it.  I want to be the center of this home.  Yes, there will be times when I lose my cool and I get annoyed, or angry, or impatient.  But I hope those times are far outweighed and outnumbered by all of the times when I (and my home) can be a place of comfort and refuge.  I hope that of my fellow Mommas will take this into consideration and choose the road of grace and joy, even when you feel alone or beaten down or just tired.  We owe it to ourselves and our children, and all of the other little ones we have the opportunity to help raise.  Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mama's and Mama figures out there.  I hope you all know how important and loved you are today and every day.

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View past Mothers Day posts: http://www.nicoledumondphotography.com/mothers-day/ Nicole DuMond is a wedding and portrait photographer based in the rolling hills of Stillwater, Pennsylvania and serving the surrounding areas of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, including Bloomsburg, Benton, Berwick, Red Rock, Stillwater, Danville, Lewisburg, Hunlock Creek, Sweet Valley, and surrounding areas.  Nicole is also available for limited travel along the East Coast & Worldwide.

View weddings by Nicole DuMond: http://www.nicoledumondphotography.com/category/weddings/

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Mother's Day | Get in the Picture

As I worked in my gardens last night carefully spreading my 'natural fertilizer' and mulching around my newly planted broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, my mind started to wander to last Spring.  What I was doing, where I was, what was going on.  I realized it's that time of year.... Mother's Day has crept up on me... again.  How this happens every year I have no idea, but it does, and it has.  Last year we traveled up to New York over Mother's Day to celebrate the many years of my husband's Grandfather who was undoubtedly a great man that influenced lives in a significant way.  Even amidst the circumstances and the fact that the weekend really had nothing to do about me whatsoever, it was one of the best memories I have as a Mother because of the moments I spent surrounded by my little family without the pressures of the daily grind.  I have quite a few pictures that I shot that weekend but only one of the three of us, which is the most important to me by far.

I know this might all seem unrelated to you, but this is how my mind works... often daydreaming from one topic to the next, connecting the dots in my own strange way, particularly when I'm working in the garden.  Reminiscing on Mother's Day weekend last year really got me thinking about what I could offer Moms and what I feel is so important for Mothers.  A Mother's work is so vital, yet often neglected because it's expected, with the exception of one day a year where we hopefully celebrate our own Mothers, the bond of Motherhood, and the influence that Mothers have in society.

This is where, for me, pictures really come into play.  Yes, I am so guilty of this just as much as the next Mom.  I take a ton of photos of my son and often prefer to not be in them.  Let's face it, at the end of the day I probably don't look so hot and I'm tired.  Aside from pulling it together for church on Sunday morning, I basically look like a hot mess all weekend long, working outside as much as I can and neglecting washing my hair more than I care to admit.  What Mom is thinking about posing for a pretty picture when they're ankle deep in horse manure?  I know I'm not.  But I also know who's going to wish I did think about it more- my kids.  I know this because I am one of those kids.  I sit in awe when I see a photo of how young and beautiful my own Mother once was (and still is...), regardless of whether she had any makeup on when she took me to World's End State Park and regardless of whether or not she was carrying around the battle scars of stretch marks or even a few extra pounds from giving birth to two sweet babes.

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For me, photographs have always attached memories.  Memories that I might not even remember at all had there not been some type of photo to document it.  At the end of the day, your children likely won't care if your hair was perfectly done all the time or if those hands were manicured, but they will care about the memories.  The memories are what they'll carry in their hearts long after us Moms are gone and what they'll tell their children about someday.  Yes, newborn sessions are adorable, and sessions with just the kids are tons of fun.  But in terms of the portrait side of things for me, nothing quite compares to when I get to document families, whether they be as a whole or just with Mom.  Yes, social media might be great for silly 'selfies' and snapping quick shots of the kids in every day life, but it's the real, tangible prints that choke me up and leave me speechless when a seemingly imperfect moment showcases the intense bond of love between a mother and child.

Moms of young children, we are currently everywhere in our children's lives, from the time they get out of bed in the morning to tucking them in with a bedtime story at night.  Let's make sure that we leave our children with memories of that.  They don't need to be perfectly manicured moments made for the world of pinterest or facebook, they can be anything you want them to be.   And I certainly don't want to teach my own children that they shouldn't be in a picture unless they are perfect; perfectly fit, perfectly put together, perfect skin and hair, perfectly perfect.  No, I'm going to want photos of my babies no matter how 'imperfect' someone else might think they look, because they are most certainly perfect to me.  There are so many options for hiring a photographer these days, and it doesn't need to be me.  Find a photographer that fits your style and makes you feel comfortable and special, because you are.  Find a photographer who cares about who you are and what you're going through and can give you memories to last a lifetime.  You can do a 'day in the life' session where you document everyday life with your kids.  You can book a 'Mommy and Me' session.  You can make a portrait session anything you want to make it, just do it.  Just get in the photograph.  And get the photographs in your hands.  Here's a crazy thought... go buy a camera!!  Get off the cell phone (as handy as they are) and don't even bring it with you to the park.  Go buy a point and shoot camera (which these days are quite a bit cheaper than the latest iPhone) and photograph your own life, and get in the photos.  Ask someone at the park to take a picture of you pushing the swing or catching your littles at the bottom of the slide.  I can almost guarantee if you ask another Mom to snap a picture of you being in the photo, she would never say no.  I know I wouldn't.  Then print your photos, put them in albums, hang them on the walls, safely keep them for your children to look through and be flooded with their own memories someday.

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If you are looking for the perfect gift for Mom this year, I will be offering a few specials on Portrait Sessions and Gift Certificates.  I'll be offering one free 11x14" Mounted Print with the purchase of any session or gift certificate for a for Mother's Day ($59 Value).  I'll also be offering a 50% off special on all Coffee Table Books (includes all photos from your session).  These can be purchased for past sessions as well as future sessions.  I want you to get those photos in your hands and off your devices!  For more information on my Mother's Day Specials, please contact me.  It's my hope and prayer to all of my fellow Momma's out there that you not only get a little deserved pampering this year for Mother's Day, but that you also make time to enjoy the simple things and let loose for the day, making memories and hopefully remembering to even document a few.

To wrap things up, here are some personal favorites of some very amazing Mommas who I have had the privilege to document over the past year or so, each of whom I admire tremendously for 'just' being Moms.