In your own words, what does motherhood mean to you?
Whew, what a loaded question! For me, motherhood means unwavering determination. In order to feel like the best mom possible, I have to be determined to love selflessly, be an advocate, serve as a role model, and pick up the house at least a hundred times a day. It is not an easy role by any means so I have to wake up, every day, with determination to do my best.
How Many Children Do You Have?
One daughter, Eva
What are your must have kid items?
24/7 Access to Disney/Pixar’s Coco
Tell us about what each one of your children have taught you about life, love, and motherhood.
To summarize all that Eva has taught me in only 18 months would take me days, so I’ll try to keep it brief. She has taught me how to be strong. She was extremely ill for four months straight and I had to fight as her advocate every day, including during a surgery two days after my own emergency appendectomy. She has taught me what unconditional love looks and feels like; there are days that are really hard and she will look up at me and laugh and it truly feels worth it. She has also shown me how wonderful my own mom was, and every day I want to apologize to her because I can’t believe it took me 30 years to truly understand her love for me.
How has having a children changed your relationship? Any suggestions on how to keep the marriage/relationship alive?
Eva has definitely changed my marriage! Motherhood has taught my husband and I why your spouse is called you “partner” because we could not do this job alone. Our nights of sitting up late and drinking wine have turned into 8pm bedtimes and 6am wakeups. In order to keep our relationship alive, we do regular “state of the union” chats where we check in and make sure our needs are met in our marriage- and if they arent, we adjust accordingly. Of course making time for each other and date nights is important, but we make a real effort to keep an open line of communication about what we need from each other.
What are some of your most cherished memories of motherhood?
Seeing my husband as a dad (I still fangirl over him). When my daughter’s first word was the cat’s name, not mama or dada. The first time she sat on my lap and let me read her a bedtime story that my dad read to me as a kid.
What most surprised you about motherhood?
The complete shift in priorities. I am a pretty determined and selfish person, but as soon as she came along all of the sudden work wasn’t important, nights out with friends weren’t as appealing, and my own shopping budget diminished significantly.
What has been your greatest challenge in motherhood?
Making time for self-care (isn’t that everyone’s greatest challenge?).
Has your style changed since becoming a mom?
Absolutely! Especially having a daughter, I am much more modest. I focus more on curated pieces of clothing that will last through seasons rather than fast fashion that may be inexpensive but will be irrelevant in a year. Also, I can’t remember the last time I wore heels.
If you get any “me time”, how do you wind down or spend it?
I love to bullet journal and doodle! Hours can pass by before I realize everyone has long gone to bed and I’m still sitting there with my pens/markers.
Do you have a family tradition that you are passing onto your child(ren)?
My husband and I both had very happy childhoods, however, we are working hard to create our own family traditions based on our beliefs. For example, once a year, we are going to have Eva collect toys/clothes she no longer needs and donate them to a thrift store or other organization so she can see how her giving impacts the community.
How do you manage to keep all of the plates spinning? What helps you juggle motherhood?
I’m not sure I do! I’m lucky to have a work-from-home job where I am able to be on call should Eva need to be picked up from school or go to an appointment. Also, my husband is amazing and really splits responsibilities with me.
What is your greatest joy in being a mother?
This is probably a generic answer, but just seeing Eva develop into this tiny human. I love watching her become independent and seeing her strong will shine through (though, I could do without those strong-willed temper tantrums).
If you could give your child(ren) one piece of advice what would it be?
Do not allow the world to tell you your worth, whether it is based on your size, ability, or social media image. You are in control of who you are and how you feel about yourself, do not ever give that power to someone else.
Tell us about your session and what the images mean to you.
Audrey is amazing!! She took these photos during Eva’s 4-month span of illness, so Eva was not having it at all. Not to mention, Spencer and I were utterly exhausted. We had rescheduled this session several times because of weather and Eva’s health, and Audrey gave me nothing but grace during such a stressful time. The pictures she took are so representative of our lives in that moment, from us laughing trying to get Eva to smile, to soothing her as she cried because she was ready for bed. Somehow, Audrey managed to capture so many emotions in such a short period. Not to mention, she is just plain fun to work and chat with!
Rose Trail Images is a North Carolina Photographer serving the Raleigh/Durham area. Owned by Audrey Priel, she specializes in a more lifestyle and photojournalistic approach, focusing on the moments and the reason behind the story as opposed to stiff posing and awkward moments. From families and babies to engagements and milestone events, Audrey has a blast laughing, creating, and meeting extraordinary people along the way.