Today, I woke up at 7:00 AM. My three boys are already enjoying their summer break and I can hear noises downstairs, so that means at least one of them is up. I push myself to leave bed and get some coffee before the crazyness of the day really starts (sometimes I hide to get coffee just to be able to drink some of it in silence). After that I will try to get a workout done and try to squeeze in a 5-minute meditation afterward (a new thing I am trying and sometimes loving). But the reality is, I don't know if I will be able to do all of this. More surely I will probably go down and get trapped by breakfast time and kids wanting my attention. I understand that it is OK specially in the summer to change routines, but also how important it is to have some time for myself.

Let me tell you, getting up before the kids rise is a real struggle, but it seriously sometimes sets the tone for my entire day. I feel awesome, full of energy, and like I've already accomplished something. When I neglect self-care, I end up feeling down and guilty throughout the day, like I haven't done anything for myself. I know I shouldn’t feel this way, I do a lot, (also in the process of being more self-compassionate). But it is the days when I don’t do anything for myself that are a rollercoaster of emotions, that distract me from being present with my kids and focused on my work.

Being a mom is tough, no doubt about it. And it's even tougher when you're raising three boys in a constantly changing community and different homes every couple of years. Someone wise once told me that it takes a village to raise a family, but I don't have that luxury. I've been living away from my family for 14 years now. So having three boys, who are also grappling with the challenges of adjusting to a new life in our new home in Cleveland, in a different country from my own, and being there for them, strong and supportive, is never a walk in the park. I'm grateful for their resilience and for having an amazing husband, who's always ready to help. We're both going through the same thing, raising a family in a place where we hope they'll have amazing opportunities. We're all chasing the life of our dreams.

But here's the thing: I have personal dreams too, and that's when the nagging question pops up in my head: Why do I always need more than just being a stay-at-home mom? Don't get me wrong, I have an incredible family—healthy and happy, of course, we have our fair share of downs and fights followed by apologies and a grateful feeling of having everything I want. Yet, there's still this feeling that I want more.

As a family and newborn photographer now established in Cleveland OH, I've learned to understand that while I strive to be a good mom, present and attentive, raising my kids to be good men, it's perfectly okay for me to want personal success and fulfillment. I want to thrive in my own life, be creative, grow professionally, and continue learning. I want my kids to see that I'm not only their mom, who will always be there for them, but I'm also working on creating and pursuing my own path while we navigate this crazy journey together.

I know being a mom is both challenging and rewarding, but let's be real, it can also be downright overwhelming at times. I'm currently at a stage in my life where balancing motherhood with personal aspirations is a constant struggle. However, every day I wake up and take it one step at a time. This time, I've decided to prioritize myself, carve out some space to do my work, read, and listen to stories from other friends and colleagues. I've come to understand that I'm not the only mom who feels this way and that is comforting.

I'm certain that one day my children will not only be proud of me, but they will also be deeply grateful that I made a conscious effort to take care of myself. By prioritizing my own well-being and pursuing my personal dreams, I am setting an example for them that goes beyond the role of a parent. I want them to understand that self-care is essential and that by nurturing our own passions and aspirations, we become better equipped to support and inspire others. By witnessing my journey of personal growth, they will learn the value of self-love, resilience, and the importance of leading a fulfilling life. Ultimately, their pride and gratitude will grow not just from the fact that I was there for them, but also because I showed them the power of embracing one's own dreams while nurturing the bonds of family.

Thank you for reading me!