Erika Ray Photography » blog

Round Two Time to Get Dressed

I’ve been extremely honest about my bumpy entry into Motherhood.  To the point that I’ve had some people ask, “Don’t you worry that your boys will read it and think you didn’t want them?”  No.  I’ve never said that.  Not even close.

Want me to rehash it?  Here are the bullet points:

  • Motherhood was never a burning desire as a kid.
  • I married a man who wanted kids and after a few years, so did I.
  • I never felt that ooey-gooey bond during pregnancy or even immediately after birth.
  • I didn’t have PPD, I just wasn’t Hallmarky Mommy.  But it came and when it did, it was strong and deep.
  • Around age 2 with my last son, I had a crisis.  Who the fuck was I?  Was this new Mom Identity enough?

Hell no, Mom Identity wasn’t enough!  I found photography and writing.  I was more than just a mom and a wife.  I felt like a whole person again because I found MYself.  I knew who I was again!  I was more and accepted the possibility.  I was confident with this  new found identity.

I found my new suit and I looked really hot in it.

Until it didn’t fit.

I naively believed that once you found your new clothes, they always fit.

It wasn’t fitting.

The entire thing was so hot and scratchy, I wanted to rip it off.  My old Identity wasn’t fitting anymore.  And I had no clue how to make it fit again.  I told Mark after a big Adult moment (needed a new furnace), “I just want to run away.”  “Honey you can’t run away.  You can go lay down, but you’ll have to get back up and get ready for the party.”  And that’s what I did.

  • My job has changed in the past three years so many times that I felt uneasy with work.
  • Where photography and writing gave me purpose the first time, these hobbies weren’t new.  I felt like I said everything I could and everything was already seen through my eyes.
  • My boys have gotten older and need so much less from me.  This is exactly as it should be.  This is the life of a Mother.   Knowing it was coming and being at the true start of this path is a different story.  And I looked around and wondered, “What’s next?!  What am I supposed to do now?”
  • Because they’ve aged, so have I.  And so has my relationship with my husband and most people.  Not for the worse, it’s just different. Our entire lives have changed and I unknowingly clung to the past.

When I finally got off the couch, I realized that, yes, I’ve been here before.  I’ve been at the mirror trying to decide how to make this Life fit.  I knew it was possible, but I was going to have to work.  This outfit isn’t made by my Motherhood, by my Work life, or my status as a Wife/Sister/Daughter.  This outfit is made by my choices around all of it.  I have to craft it into something that fits me perfectly.  Fits my legs, my arms, my thumb prints, and expands with my heartbeat.  Something so perfect and unique NO ONE can define it or steal it from me.  Because it fits only one person.  Me.

Who you are will change a dozen times through your life and maybe you don’t notice.  But when you do, it’s uncomfortable.  I’m no longer that 18-year-old running off to college alone.  I’m no longer the 23-year-old hoping she doesn’t get lost driving to Cleveland.  I’m no longer the 29-year-old begging her newborn, “Please Baby Boy, nurse, quit crying and sleep.”  I’m no longer the 32-year-old frazzled mother of two young boys wondering if life was endless loads of laundry and uneaten lunches.  All of those suits came with trends that worked at the time, but also had some classic details that built a foundation for the next phase.

One day I won’t be an almost 40-year-old with two growing boys who are interested in video games and who still occasionally snuggle with me.  I’ll be someone slightly different.  Someone better built for the next round.

So it’s time for Round 2.  Or Round 15…  Who knows what Round I’m actually on?  It feels like Round 2.  All I know is it’s time to tailor to this new suit.  It’s time to look hot all over again.

I can’t run away.  It’s time to get to work.


  • Helene - I can totally relate to every word you’ve said. I’m not sure what ’round’ I’m in right now but, going it alone has often been a trial. And I’m certain you’ve worn several suits during each round…right now I’m wearing the grandma suit, the working girl suit, the mom suit, and the mother in law suit…the closet is full. Soon I’ll be in the retirement round so I should find room in the closet to store more camera equipment. Love this post! Bravo!November 17, 2015 – 9:36 amReplyCancel

    • Erika - Clean out that closet!! More camera equipment is always pretty sweet!

      Thanks for the kind words which I take as encouragement.November 17, 2015 – 8:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Alisha (@Coily_Locks) - Love this!!! Sometimes I think we are just being human when we want to quit “adulting” because that ish is hard!November 17, 2015 – 11:46 amReplyCancel

    • Erika - Adulting is can be so damn hard… But I guess it’s also pretty fun too!November 17, 2015 – 8:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Jackie - Always on point! I’ve been there many times and find myself looking for a new suit yet again. Thanks for sharing these words.November 17, 2015 – 9:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Erin Perry - so ttimely, and thank you. xNovember 18, 2015 – 7:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Allyson Ilardi - I read your words and it’s like they came from my head. I want to run away all the time ( I still have young kiddos) and have been waiting for the moment when I feel like a grown up (even though I am 35). I realize that I am in the round of finding myself again. After 4 kids and the last one being 9 months (super surprise!) I am ready to tailor my suit. I am ready for the journey to rediscover me and especially my photography. Thanks!January 4, 2016 – 8:50 pmReplyCancel

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