I think about the mom I was. I no longer resemble her. PDF Print E-mail
Written by OHmommy   
Saturday, 03 April 2010 00:00

My eldest was four when he devoured, for the first time, a processed-shelf-life-of-a-million-years Oreo cookie at a birthday party.  I still remember the shock in the other mom's voices when they asked, "Is this really his first Oreo?"  The mess that it left behind was epic enough for me to never forget.  Even though I managed to clean him up there, I couldn't wait to prematurely leave the party for the comforts of my immaculate home where I could hose him off correctly.  Clean and busy with his goodie-bag, I proceeded to chop locally grown vegetables for my infamous beet soup that he and my toddler Lola gobbled up to provide some nutrition on that day.  The day he had his first Oreo.  I had no idea I was pregnant with my third child.


I think about the mom I was, a lot.  I no longer resemble her.


I haven't made beet soup since that day and my third child had Oreos before her first birthday.  I wonder which child of mine will be happiest in life.  Things that used to bother me so much are just laughable now.  Like the perfect photo I so desperately wanted of the three children in front of the Eiffel Tower.  Oh, that tickles me pink now.


Just recently on our last vacation, I had to stifle my laughter when people tried to help by "entertaining" my toddler on the busy streets of downtown Disney when they realized I was trying to capture that perfect sibling portrait.  "Princess!  Look here... your mommy is taking a picture."  "Awwww.... don't be shy.  Smile for the camera!"  "Peek-a-boo. I see you!"  People gathered to observe.  I politely nodded, turned around and continued to snap away on my camera.  But the photo?  I.  Love.  It captures all three children perfectly.


Stubborn.  Dramatic.  Inquisitive.




I bet you can't even tell who had non-organic Oreos all day long while patiently waiting in Disney lines.


I would have been upset, years ago, at the photo above.  But it makes me smile, so much today.  I can't imagine how much it will make me laugh years from now.  Is there anything sweeter than capturing mishaps?  I would've disagreed five years ago while striving for perfection.


But today, I deem it frameable.  I don't even recognize myself.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 April 2010 23:33


# Elaine 2010-04-02 23:05
That Fifi, she's pure entertainment for sure. You get the best pictures of your kids. For reals.

And thanks for the giggle. :)
# melissa 2010-04-02 23:06
it's amazing how, as parents and people, we grow. right along with our children.
i used to throw the guns from my oldest sons action figures out when he was little. i would tell people it was because of a choking hazard but really? because i didn't want him playing with any sized gun. and now? he is asking for a bb gun and i'm seriously considering getting him one. yeah, i don't recognize me either.
# Marita 2010-04-02 23:09
I love that first picture, it is priceless and wonderful and beautiful.
# jen 2010-04-02 23:10
so true.
i LOVE those true to life portraits so much more than the posed ones.
this having of a third baby is so. much. fun. i'm absolutely completely relaxed as a mommy. advice doesn't sway me. i could care less who judges me. and i'm happier.
# kathyO 2010-04-02 23:10
These photos are so cute.... Personally I can't relate I had 2 at once and was a step mom before hand so even though I still would not let them touch a pop tart they can have a few oreos...
# MissivesFromSuburbia 2010-04-02 23:16
Good for you! Those photos are phenomenal, and I'm positive they capture the spirit of the day more than a "perfect" shot would have.

I am the third child, and I have parented from the very beginning like I was raising a third child. Which should make us all grateful that I'm not having a third one of my own, because that kid would probably be completely lacking in any manners or decorum, and Oreos would be his/her primary source of sustenance.
# Rebecca @ Toothwhale 2010-04-02 23:17
I laughed, oh, I laughed. I enjoyed this so much. Every bit. I even clicked through and read about the Eiffel Tower.
# kakaty 2010-04-02 23:19
My absolute fav photo (that I've taken) is of my nephews and niece on a beach in Hilton Head about 4 years ago. Like these awesome captures above, it shows exactly the personality of each child in crystal clear detail. I was going for a "perfect pose" and what I got was so much better. I still have it displayed and smile each time I see it.
# DE Heather 2010-04-02 23:42
A perfect photo.

# Molly 2010-04-03 00:06
My mother recently tried to take photos of her four teenagers/20somethings. They came out sort of like yours, but with larger children. I framed four and did a series for her. In none are we looking at the camera normally and smiling. By the fourth photo my little sister is rolling on the floor laughing. They make me smile. I think they're perfect!
# kasia 2010-04-03 01:32
so much spunk, that one. I love it!
# ladyflyb 2010-04-03 06:15
letting go of perfection....is a beautiful thing. and i LOVE the picture
# Secret Mom Thoughts 2010-04-03 06:31
Looks frame worthy to me.
# traci 2010-04-03 06:34
honestly, I am about to print the photos of Fifi for my own family walls. I absolutely love *LOVE* her in pictures!

PS, a GIGANTIC thank you for a post to read Saturday morning. I woke early to get in several hours of studying before anyone awoke and I needed a mind break. This post, because of that, is the best I've ever read. I might reread it a few trillion times because if I try to tell myself one more time about muscle metabolism and sliding filament theory I might not be responsible for what happens next.
# sarah m 2010-04-03 06:45
thank you for writing such posts, reminding moms to stop driving themselves crazy :) Beautiful pictures! I read several blogs, each for different reasons...some for inspiration in photography, some in parenting. Yours is one of the very, very few that inspires me in both areas. Have a wonderful Easter with your family!
# Kate Coveny Hood 2010-04-03 06:48
I never attained your early level of perfectionism at ANY time of my life - but I know I as far more obsessed with toddler cleanliness and good pictures than I am now. I don't know how many times my children have arrived at the grocery store with magic marker trails up and down their arms and legs. And almost every photo involves one blur of a child escaping. Oh well - I just think it's funny now.
# Scary Mommy 2010-04-03 06:52
Love this post, P. And I totally agree. I don't know if it's blogging or just general growth, but I love that I no longer strive for the "perfect" picture. Life isn't perfect and it's all about capturing the moments that represent it best. And those? Do it perfectly.
# Marinka 2010-04-03 07:12
Those pictures are perfect. But Oreos are gross. Which is why kids love them. I think it was a Velveteen Mind post that I read, where she said "I gave birth to them, but they delivered me." And it's so true.
# annsrants 2010-04-03 07:26
I like how you embrace this letting go, because really it should be celebrated.

Our generations of motherhood is fraught with the pressures of "healthy" and these photos are a shining example of TRULY healthy!

Great post.
# ClassyFabSarah 2010-04-03 08:48
I love that picture!! So much personality in that frame!
# tracey 2010-04-03 09:05
That picture belongs on a wall somewhere. Framed with those 3 words below. It actually IS perfect,IMHO.
# amy 2010-04-03 09:20
I rememeber the mom you were and I know the mom you are today, your children are a reflection of your journey and they are wonderful kids!
# Crystal D 2010-04-03 10:38
Madeline thought "cookies" were plain graham crackers (not even the cinnamon sugar kind) until she was 3. Which means when she started getting real cookies at 3, Amelia started eating them at 1. LOL
And at 18 months, Charlotte is eating exactly what every night for dinner. I do not change the level of seasoning for her and often she eats way more than the big girls do. I am so much happier with the mom I am now than the mom I was then. This mom, she knows what she is doing. I am different, but better.
With my pictures I have found that at the time I might think "I didn't get one good picture." But if I wait a month or year and look back at them, I love seeing the kids exactly like they acted and not how I wish they would have been. Little Fifi is going to crack up over these pictures some day. And you will tell her the story about exactly how many Oreos she ate while her siblings were riding all the rides.
# megan 2010-04-03 10:45
Pauline - you know what's perfect? Becoming the mom you are today means that you have 3 beautiful - HAPPY - kids. everything in moderation - organic & processed! They have a mom who is changed b/c she was able to see what makes them happy and what the perfect picture really means!
# alexandra 2010-04-03 11:36
Priceless photo.

Thank you, makes my day looking at it.

I've become a better mom, too...I improve with each child. Wish I had or so I'd eventually reach perfection :)
# Naomi 2010-04-03 11:59
Beautiful in so many more ways than just about letting your kidlets eat Oreos ...

Evolve, baby!
# dina kay 2010-04-03 12:26
I. love. this. post. And I love the pictures even more, if that is possible. Blessed Easter to you!
# Hollee Temple 2010-04-03 13:55
I love the way you've captured the way that motherhood changes over time -- it seems like you've let go of perfect (that's one of the themes in our book about modern motherhood, Good Enough is the New Perfect).

I have a similar, but different, Oreo story: I once spent two hours trying to make Oreo spiders for a kindergarten snack --ha! I felt guilty for missing a field trip because of a work obligation. With my second son (who will start kindergarten in the fall), I'll be happy if I remember to send the snack!
# dysfunctional mom 2010-04-03 16:00
I love this. My third child definitely changed me as well!
# Tara R. 2010-04-03 17:18
That photo made me smile too. It is prefect.
# Carabee 2010-04-03 21:28
My daughter (2 1/2) had her first piece of candy the other day. A dumdum lollipop. My mom friends who have been bribing their pottytraining kids with candy for months and months were shocked. I'm not a fanatic about all natural or organic or anything, but I do make efforts. I often laugh at all of the things I never thought I would do. My never list is LONG. Funny how the reality of parenting changes you.
# anymommy 2010-04-03 22:56
That is so funny, I was thinking along these same lines this morning. Who am I? I have changed so much, softened, relaxed, forgotten, even, what I used to think was so important. Loved it.
# Karen MEG 2010-04-04 11:21
I think those photos are absolutely perfect by the way.

And Disney - wow, you are so brave.

As I look back on almost 10 years of motherhood, I am SOOOOO not the mom I used to be.

But then, I don't really want to be either.

Wonderful post, P :)
# Al_Pal 2010-04-04 15:40
These photos are awesome.

The swimsuit one is frameable, too, IMHO. ;p
# Tidy Brown Wren 2010-04-04 16:12
I'm so glad I was able to give up my perfectionistic ways a few years ago. After 2 prim and proper daughters, God blessed me with a son who turned my world upside down. I now I know that upside down is a wonderful place to be. I have a much better perspective of life now.
# clarkinfestedwaters 2010-04-04 21:18
I heart you and this new version of yourself!

I just attempted yet another studio session with my kids last week, and bought way too many of the most inperfect shots...the photo where my daughter had "fixed" her hair (changed how I had it styled just before the 'click' of the camera), and where my son insisted he hold a dirty old soccer ball for the Easter photo. It would have made other mothers cringe. They were perfect!
# Cecily R 2010-04-04 21:55
It IS frameable. It's exactly who they are right now, which is exactly what a photograph should capture. I LOVE it!!
# Kim Swales 2010-04-04 22:58
Oh yes..children change us so much. Kate has turned me into a messy Mom. Used to be the cleanest, neatest Mom on the block...not with 3!!!
# jo 2010-04-05 14:09
I love this post. because it is relatable. because it is true. and how much more fun is motherhood now that we are free from trying to maintain an impossible level of perfection?

# Issa 2010-04-05 14:58
I adore that photo. I have many like it. ha.

I want to remember my children as they are, not how fake they can smile for a picture if bribed. Shrug. It will help me remember the real them, when I'm old and they aren't around often.
# GreenInOC 2010-04-05 17:52
I adore FiFi - I want her!!!

I love pictures of her - besides her perfect hair - she is always who she is, what she feels and always with that lovely twinkle in her eye.

I often see families trying to take a picture or wrangle their FiFi-like child in some way and I always just laugh. It's delightful to see a child embrace life so fully.

I adore FiFi!!!!
# Legallyblondemel 2010-04-06 13:19
To the extent that I can relate, I do - I'm working on getting zen now with the fact that motherhood won't be a series of perfectly color-coordinated vignettes filled with well-behaved, well-rested parents and child. I can't entirely get the Ralph Lauren style-ad image out of my head, but I'm working on it.

And of course those photos you took are so much more interesting, and vibrant, and lovely than the posed, "perfect" stuff anyways. That's what the good stuff looks like.
# Jaime 2010-04-06 20:59
Look at you! What a mom ;)

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Pauline Karwowski.

Is a self proclaimed globe trotting, minivan driving, SAHM stiletto ho.

Happily married mother to 3 Cleveland natives: Jay the son, Lola the daughter, and Fifi the banshee.

Now in Chicago, IL.

The content on this blog is the opinion of the blogger.


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