For Mother’s Day, my Fit4Mom group in Long Beach that I am a part of decided to take candid shots of the moms and their babes to gift them with.

I don’t know much about photography, but I know enough to squeak by, and well— really my camera does all of the work. But I was asked to take the photos, so yesterday I met up with them after the workout and snapped away. I uploaded and edited them when I got the chance (read: after the kids went to bed) and decided that I wanted to go again today to take more photos for any of the moms who couldn’t make it yesterday.

While I went around to get shots of each mom, I watched as one sweet mom sort of cringed when she noticed my lense facing her. She bashfully told me that she hardly ever finds herself on that side of the camera because she just gets insecure.

I let her slide and moved on, but later, I came back and encouraged her to let me get a few shots.

Okay, I’m going to do it! I need to get over this fear. I don’t want my son to grow up with no confidence like his mother. 

This broke my heart. Not just because this woman is absolutely beautiful inside, and out, but because I knew exactly how she felt. I met her with an “I hear ya” and we agreed that it’s one of those things that are much easier to say than do. I went on.

Motherhood sort of steals our identities. 

She instantly lit up— one of those “Yes! Someone else feels it too!” kind of moments, and I wanted so badly to continue the conversation, but I had to go get Declan and we sort of just left it there. But I want to pick it up here, because I feel like this dialogue is so important.

Moms— do you feel like you lost the “who” behind “you”? So many of us embrace our new role with so much oomph, that we tend to forget about all of the wonderful things that make us amazing that have absolutely nothing to do with our kids.

Who am I, if not a mom? I mean, right? Do you even remember? Between the middle of the night cluster feedings, and the 2 hours of sleep you got, and the fourth day in a row of messy buns and yoga pants, it’s no wonder you no longer recognize yourself. This woman is surviving purely off of coffee and leftover food from her child’s plate— she looks nothing like the put together, “has time to make herself a five course meal and curl her hair” version you once were.

It’s a swamp, ladies. It’s a murky, icky, quicksandy swamp that we have to get ourselves out of. The longer you stay, the more you’re going to sink.

You were someone before you became a mom. You’re still her. Being a mom changed you— absolutely, of course it did. But it did not morph you into a completely different person. Your genetic makeup did not change. You are still you. And I know you love your children. I know your entire world revolves around them. But you have to fuel your fire. You have to fill your cup. 

It’s time to remember who you are. Knowing this, believe it or not, will help you to be an even better mom. Being able to show your children that you are a woman, not just a mom, will allow them to see themselves as people too, rather than just titles.

So, who are you?

Are you an athlete, or a painter, or a teacher? Do you like to read, or sew, or cook? Maybe you love jewlery or a great hair tutorial.

Do you. 

Make time for you. 

If you give yourself permission to rediscover yourself, you will find your confidence again. You will find your passion. And you will find that you are a phenomenal mom, and then some.