Category Archives: Quotables

A couple of months ago I exhaled as I pinned this quote to my Embrace Your Chaos pin board. It was the reminder I needed in that moment. The moment when I could feel myself balling up on the inside from the towering stress that goes hand and hand with being a small business owner and household CEO.

This simple statement allowed me to take a moment, shift gears and push forward… it also gave me permission to log off for the night and go snuggle with my kids (even if they were already fast asleep).

Inspirational Parenting Quotes

Since the original pin, I have subsequently attempted to re-pin it at least three times… it’s as though each time I see it, it’s new to me. Which is why I’m sharing it with you. And it’s also why I’ll be purchasing the print from ETSY. Apparently this working mama needs a daily reminder! And stronger coffee, because my memory has clearly taken a vacation without the rest of me (the audacity!).

Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

 

When my daughter was a toddler, I took her on a lunch date with a girlfriend. Sassy was noshing her way through her food while my friend and I tried to catch up. At some point, my friend stopped the conversation to point out that I was plucking out all of the nutritious food from my meal to give to my girl, and was stuck eating what was left.

It took me a few seconds to realize what she was talking about, because I hadn’t consciously planned on picking out all of the carrots and avocado to give to my daughter… it was just something that happened. I was feeding her on autopilot. You know… being a mom.

My wonderful friend kindly reminded me that Sassy needs me to be healthy and to take care of myself just like I take care of her.

She was right. I had forgotten the importance of taking care of myself, too.

 

Oxygen Masks Motherhood Quote-Jennifer Chaney

 

Sadly, this lesson took me a few years to fully understand. And it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that the importance taking care of myself really sunk in.

At this point in my life, I was feeling miserable about my health and fitness level. Sure, I was going to the gym and (somewhat) aware of what I was eating, but it wasn’t working. I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Where I knew I belonged. Initially, I blamed it on the rigors of motherhood and childbirth, but the truth was that I wasn’t devoted to myself in the same way I was devoted to my family. I wasn’t giving myself the time or space to make it to the gym, my prior place of worship.

I wasn’t saying “yes” to myself.

Somewhere between then and now I figured things out. Today I hire a sitter so I can give to myself and give to my business. Not only am I healthier (and slightly more sane), I’m no longer obsessing about what’s next, and am able to focus on what’s now.

Mamas, we need to learn how to say yes to ourselves. Even if you’re squeezing in a quick, guilty pleasure like watching Scandal on Netflix while your kids color in the other room, the time you set aside for yourself is critical. And we all know that when we feel fulfilled, we’re better parents. Aren’t we?

I’d say that’s worth it, wouldn’t you?

 

Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

P.S. Speaking of Netflixing Scandal… seriously?! What the what is going on?! My head nearly exploded during the last three episodes!

P.P.S. “Netflixing” is a word. Don’t bother googling it. Just trust me.

 

….

She padded into the kitchen, squinting and shielding her eyes, but I didn’t give her a chance to adjust to morning light. I swept her up into my arms and spun her around the room showering her with kisses and nuzzled her as we twirled.

As her eyes opened, so did her heart. She held on tight and squealed, “Hi mama!”

. . . . .

More than a decade ago, when children really weren’t on my mind, I learned what kind of mama I wanted to be, and what I needed to do to be her. I was on the treadmill at the gym, when I caught the tail end of a Toni Morrison interview on Oprah. (I avoided watching her show at the gym in the past lest I slip on my tears, but I’m glad I watched this episode.)

“When my children used to walk in the room, when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up,” Morrison  explained.

Toni Morrison quote- and motherhood epiphanies born on a treadmill.

And thus this concept became a core tenant of motherhood for me. I still struggle to override the militant side me that prefers to subject everyone around me to the mission at hand (she’s very good at getting stuff done). But I’m quickly reminded of the mama I want to be when I see the pictures I have taken of my family… you know the ones. The ones that I have done to help document how much I love my husband and my babies.  

jennifer chaney photo light up face

The photos above show me in “work mode”… they show me doing my thing. People. That is not fun. That is some serious green shake making.

And the photo below shows how I feel. Such a gigantic difference (the hug helps, too)!

jennifer chaney light up your face

It’s so easy to go through the motions and operating in work mode as we try to get our morning moving and our day started, but it’s serious work. We have tasks to do and places to dash off to. Our kids don’t. They’re connected to the moment and soak it all in.

We affect them. Our actions matters.

After my big, over the top morning greeting to my crazy kids, I have the rest of my day to work on my furrow line.  For now, I hope my expressive show of love will set the tone for their day and they’ll head off to school knowing how dearly loved they are. Even if rush them to the school door. They’ll know.

Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

P.S. While my morning routine still includes over-the-top enthusiastic greetings, my kids are a little bigger, and I can no longer easily traipse around the house with them in my arms. Instead, I dance around them and love on them just the same.

There have been several times over the past few years where I have openly expressed concern for my sanity.  Sometimes it comes up in the form of a moderate breakdown complete with tears and hyperventilation.  Other times it’s more subtle, like a thought that floats into my head and then right out.  But the overall theme centers around one thought:

When did I become the adult?  

It’s very sincere question.  When did I start being the one people relied on; the one who seemingly had all of the answers?  The last time I checked, I was still me, which means I laugh way too hard at potty humor.  I don’t make my bed in the morning unless we’re having company.  And if my husband didn’t do our grocery shopping, our refrigerator would be empty and my visa bill would be littered with restaurant charges (okay, that last part still happens, but whatever).

So again, I ask, when did I become the adult? 

The thought of being an adult makes me a little crazy.  The thought of being an adult with two wild children legitimately qualifies me for temporary insanity… moments when I just don’t feel like myself.  It’s odd really.  Kind of like an out-of-body experience.  I can see the real me floating above the adult me wondering what in the world is going on… but then I came across this quote and all the pieces sorta fell into place.

Motherhood Quote - mothers are all slightly insane

It’s not that I’m a little looney. It’s that motherhood makes us all a little looney. And I know I’m not alone. Several friends and clients have shared similar thoughts. Where they vacillate between being the adult and being anything but. And that kind of emotional ping-pong match is enough to make anyone question their sanity.

I’ve come to the conclusion that insanity is an extension of motherhood. It’s time for this mama to embrace it, because I clearly can’t change it.

Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

P.S.  If there was ever any question about who the adult really is, it’s not me. But I must be doing a decent job at pretending because I’ve got my kids fooled… okay, maybe it’s just the fact that I’m taller than them and have the keys to the car. Either way. I’m the boss. For now. 

 

Growing up, I had one teacher that remains unrivaled to this day.  She wore Birkenstocks with dresses, cooked lentils for more meals than I can count, and recycled every bottle she could find, long before it was the hip thing to do.

I’m talking about my mom.  My passive teacher.

Years later I’m still realizing the depth of the wisdom she imparted upon me.   Which is, quite frankly, surprising as I don’t really recall paying attention.   I was far more concerned with purple guess jeans and in writing nasty things about her in my diary because she wouldn’t let the 14 year old me go to a “Woodsy.”  (For the record, no mom should let their child go to a party in the woods.  Ever.  So good call on that one mom.  I  applaud your quick use of common sense.  And, I’m sorry I cursed at you in my diary.)

If I were to pick one lesson I learned from my mom, it’s how to always find the silver lining.   This is the lesson I want to teach my kids and really anyone who will listen… the glass is half full, or, more eloquently, look at the world through glittering eyes.

 

Mom quote - glitter eyes glass half full

When I saw this quote, I instantly thought of my mom and how she has helped shape they way I view the world… especially how I see children and families.   She led me down the path of glittering eyes, and there are no words that will fully describe how important this lesson has been to me.   I use her gift on a daily basis… with my own family and my photography.

Life without glitter would be pretty dull.  Thank you mom for sharing your view of the world with me.  I love you bunches!

Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

P.S. If you missed the link above to my story of what my mom and purple guess jeans taught me, here it is again… it’s totally worth the read.  I mean come on, me in 5th grade?  Who doesn’t want to hear more about that debacle?  Purple Guess Jeans

 

This Emerson quote initially made be shudder as I realized how I’ll never again see any of the moments that have quickly ticked by.  I thought about my daughter and how she will never be my precarious, limit-pushing, chunky little 4 year old again.  Thinking about all the time that has gone by freaks me out a little.

But then I stopped and really put some thought into what this quote might also mean.  And it dawned on me that I don’t have to read it as a warning to slow down, but I’d rather see it as a message of hope.

If we happen to miss more than we remember, it’s not the end of the world.  Because more moments are coming.  They are seemingly endless.  They are like seconds in the day.

Motherhood and Family quote - reminder to slow down

Many of our moments may seem redundant, but if we take the time to look at each one on it is own, we will realize that while they’re similar, they’re not the same;  all moments are unique and filled with opportunity  A new moment happens each time your child sloooowly brushes her teeth.  And every run through of “Guess how much I love you” is a new moment… even if it’s the 43rd time time you’ve read it (this week).

Give yourself some room to miss a few moments.  Don’t panic or fall into the guilty mommy trap.  It is not the end of the world, because more opportunities are on the way.

It’s our job to figure out which moments we need to photograph, absorb, or release.  No matter what you choose to do, everything will be fine… and let’s face it, no amount of guilty feelings will give me another opportunity to squish and love on my crazy toddler daughter.  So I must move forward, let go of the guilt, and put effort into where we are now… searching for the moments that really make my heart flutter and releasing the ones that don’t.

Lifestyle family photographer Bay Area

P.S. I really don’t understand mommy-guilt.  But, that’s a whole different blog post. ;)

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