Happy Mama Mask

025My sweet Skeeter,

My heart broke the first time I heard you ask where your baby photo album was.  I felt like such a failure.  Why couldn’t I have managed to put together a photo album for you?  The truth is that I was barely able to function until you were nearly a year old.  I was unable to make decisions; picking out clothes to wear or what to eat for dinner paralyzed me.  The thought of uploading photos and printing them out seemed terrifying.

Flash forward three years later.  The weather is frigid, so your dad declares it a day to remove the clutter from our house and get organized.  I finally  decide to pull out the mounds of photos and start to organize them.  This task would have sent me running for the hills back when I was truly struggling.  It is daunting, but I am reveling in this experience.  I finally found the album that I had bought especially for my sweet Skeeter.  We were able to put the first two photos in there.  We need to figure out where the other ones are before we can put the rest of them.  Your smile warmed my heart.  You matter, and you were so wanted, sweet girl.  Never forget how much your mama loves you.  What pained me most by looking at some of those photos is how dead my eyes looked in those pictures.  If you could see behind the mask of the happy mama, you would see anxiety, rage and sorrow.    I also realized how few pictures I took of myself. I have a bunch of pictures of you and Munch.  I could barely fake the smile required for the camera, so instead I delighted in the joy of my sweet, growing girls.  I promise to take more pictures with me in the frame.  I love the life that I live, and I want you to have pictures of me when I am gone.





About tranquilamama

Juggling parenthood, housework and working outside the home in the corporate world with my wonderful husband. Mom to 2 beautiful girls. PPD and PPA survivor. The title of my blog is after a phrase that was repeated to me in Spain during my semester abroad in college. It roughly translates to relax and calm down. Trying to tame my inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom.
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11 Responses to Happy Mama Mask

  1. Jenn says:

    Hugs, mama. I feel the same way. I used to keep a family blog with all our pictures, and then when my bipolar blog started taking more time, and then the organization came about, I had to stop my family blog and felt so guilty. So glad you were able to begin organizing those memories now. xo

    • Your organization is so fantastic. I love the mission so much. It is so hard to find that time for photos, isn’t it? I think anyone who could take photos and organize them into a book for families everywhere would have a thriving business. You take amazing pictures of your kiddos. I love John’s idea of using Instagram and then making books out of those photos.

  2. Laurie says:

    I really loved & related to this piece. I, too, just have a bunch of stuff loosely shoved in the cover of my daughter’s baby book. The thought of completing the pages each week or month that first year just felt so upsetting. Like I’d be even more fake as a mother even attempting to fill out the pages & place happy pictures to correlate with the moments. Every page asking for the first smile, first word, first holiday, & the tough ones like how daddy & I felt when we brought her home- or gave her her first bath. Even during the second year, I’d spot the book on the shelf and just cringe, which then turned into massive guilt. I was getting slowly better but I still couldn’t face that darn baby book! Now she’s 3 and a half, and I really dig the idea of organizing & putting that first year together with my daughter. After all, she taught me how to be a mama that first year, she taught me the she’d be just fine even when I though of myself as horrible inside, she would always smile at me regardless of how I saw myself and always get me to smile back, and it was her that inspired me to fight so hard to be well again. She has just as much of a right to help me complete her baby book as I do! Thanks for sharing- this is a great project for a cold winter’s day!

    • Laurie, I cannot wait to continue on with this project. My sweet girl has the sunniest disposition. When I talked to my therapist about this project, she suggested I look at those pictures and write that version of myself a letter with the knowledge and wisdom I have now. Keep me posted about your project. I’d love to hear how it goes. xoxo

  3. John says:

    I like to say “I’m busy, dammit” when I think about a lack of an album for my kids.

    Well, I don’t like to say that at all . . . I prefer not to swear, or to say anything close to resembling swearing, but, well, I am busy — and I don’t make albums for my kids.

    What I have is an instagram account that is absolutely full of selfies pictures of my kids. I’ll arrange these, eventually, for each child. That, I’ll call an album.

    • Your Instagram has amazing pictures of your beautiful kiddos. I love that idea. First I need to tackle the photos that are already printed out before I tackle the digital archives. Baby steps.

  4. Laura says:

    Ruby doesn’t have a baby book. Not a photo album or any sort of record of milestones. For me milestones were a significant trigger for my anxiety so I made a conscious choice not to give them any attention that I couldn’t avoid. And I actually don’t feel guilty about this. Woohoo! It was the right thing for my mental health and, thus, for Ruby. You give so much more to your girls through your daily actions and words than a baby book. You are SO not a failure.

    • Thank you Laura. My sweet little girl is so excited to do this as a project with me. I went back through my blog and started tagging posts that were about them. At some point, I will print them into a book and give the stories to them. My love language to them is words, dances, and songs. Pictures fall behind the first three.

  5. Ruth says:

    “I promise to take more pictures with me in the frame.” I love this promise and am committing myself to it too!

    • I will finally perfect my “usie”. Coughs. My cover photo on Facebook took us 20 tries to get it right! I was a little squirrely and messed up all of Rochelle’s pictures from laughing through tears. 🙂

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