All photos in article captured by Charmaine Billingsley, Photos by Charlie B.
When I started my blog in 2016, I was married, had two small kids, and I was a Jehovah’s Witness. My content reflected my life at the time. it was safe, it was modest, and it was not going to ruffle any feathers. Especially those of the people around me who questioned why I would even want to do that “little blogging thing”. I did everything I could to portray the happy family image and remain as “G” rated as possible. And for a while, I was okay with that. I was a natural hair, mommy blogger and as long as people felt inspired in their hair journey and got their daily dose of cute baby pictures from my page I was happy.
Until I wasn’t. I woke up one day and realized just how unhappy I had been. My marriage was not perfect, far from it in fact and motherhood was wearing on me because I was pouring all that I had into my family, without taking the time to pour into myself. I speak about this often on my Instagram now, but back then I didn’t even allow myself the space to consider that. I also failed to think about how damaging sticking to the “safe” narrative was because I was not only putting a rose-colored filter on my life for the world, I was placing it over my own eyes too. Something had to give.
To this day, I’m not sure why I made the choice to leave my marriage at the time that I did. I don’t know what made the lightbulb go off, but it did and I am truly grateful. It forced me to take a long hard look at myself and to examine the woman I had become, aside from the titles of wife and mother. I didn’t know how to be me. I honestly don’t think I knew who I even was because I’ve spent my entire life living according to the roles I allowed the people in my life to stick me in.
Over this past year and a half since the transition, I’ve been deliberate in redirecting myself every time I’ve lost sight of my ultimate goal: to fall in love with myself! I understand that once I do that I can start living the life God meant for me and create a solid, honest foundation for my kids. God gave me the gift of communication, whether that is striking up a conversation with a stranger, to make a genuine connection with someone through my smartphone screen or even through my written words in articles, stories, etc.
With that in mind, I feel that it’s my duty to use this gift to share my growth process and how I am learning what self love really is. So many mothers feel like they can’t be sexy or they can’t take out time for themselves for fear of being selfish or setting the wrong example for our children. It’s time to stop that. We owe it to ourselves and our children to be authentic. And as a content creator, I know that I owe it to my audience to do the same. While I no longer subscribe to any specific religion, I still 100% believe in our creator and that He is still speaking to me and guiding me in this process.
I hope that as we progress in this social media/modern era, that more mamas will share their real story, be true to themselves and help all of us to remember that no one or no family is perfect. I love a nice lifestyle shot in a beautiful living room with children dressed in their adorable matching outfits as much as the next mama, but I also love the behind the scenes moments leading up to those captures. I love hearing the stories about moms hiding in closets eating the candy they don’t want to share with their toddlers. And I LOVE seeing mamas own their sexiness out loud!
So own it mama, own your story, own your mistakes, own your happiness and be unapologetic in that. Our children will thank us for being true to ourselves, instead of conforming to what we think they need to see. Cheers to authenticity and growth!
Much love mamas,