Earlier this week, admittedly after a really insightful therapy session (🙌 therapy, I love ya), I decided to shift my perspective and expectations for the rest of this month of alone time with my girl. I have been so focused on how much work I was NOT getting done as my daughter all of a sudden rebelled against her naps, leaving me with little to no working time during the day. After a couple weeks of this daily routine of waking up optimistic about how much I could accomplish, realizing I'd set an unrealistic to do list and feeling like a failure, and spending my evenings neglecting quality time with my husband while I worked aka jumped from browser window to browser window on my computer not sure where to even start and way too tired to give my work 100%, I knew something needed to change. The truth is that I am so freaking excited about the growth in my business and the projects I am working on that it is really really hard to feel like I'm not constantly moving forward with the next thing. But I lost perspective on why I left my full time job to pursue this little business of mine in the first place - to focus on our family, and to have these precious, exhausting, wonderfully chaotic days with James. In the few days since I decided to table my to do list for September, I have actually enjoyed my time with her, rather than feeling like I'm not doing, being enough. Even the long afternoons and the early nap wake ups... I've truly enjoyed being present for her. I've been patient, and during the moments she rests, I have taken time to rest myself. I can't remember the last time I did that. Just took a hot sec to sit down with my coffee, drink it while it's still hot, and just watch a show or read (gasp!) for fun! I wish I had this realization and shift in perspective earlier this month, but I'm grateful that I did, and that I realized it was completely within my control to change my outlook. I will consider it a lesson learned for the remainder of the month, and for the many times I'm sure we will find ourselves here again, just the two of us. ❤️ #ourdaughterjames #oureverydaylife #documentingmotherhood
After 9 months of waiting, the view doesn't get any better. Fresh 48, you have my heart forever! ❤️ #courtneymalonefresh48 #courtneymalonenewborns
James is helping me with our Monday morning to do list: answer emails, schedule clients, make phone calls, etc. She is very busy and important, as you can see. #littlehelper #ourdaughterjames
It rained pretty much all week last week in Greenville, so when Emily and I chatted earlier this week about her extended family session on Saturday, we decided to keep everything we possibly could crossed in hopes the weather would cooperate. With family in town from Chicago for her sweet baby girls baptism, it wasn't going to be as simple as rescheduling for a better day. Somehow, someway it seems our strategy worked, and the weather was on our side on Saturday morning with not a cloud in sight! So glad we were able to capture this sweet family together on the weekend of Eleanor's baptism! #courtneymalonefamilies
We are 10 days into our month of no school and no help, and this little girl is totally kicking my tail. Being a stay at home mama is not for the faint of heart, and a lot of days (most days?) I feel wildly unprepared for the ride of motherhood. Even on the day we brought her home from the hospital, I can remember putting her into the car with Jim and having to YouTube how to work her car seat straps (embarrassed to admit that but it's not even the worst of what i haven't know how to do). It's been pretty much the theme of my motherhood journey ever since...Flying by the seat of my pants, figuring it out as I need to, often in the exact moment I need to. It's not even our first stint of stretched alone time, but for some reason it just feels hard this go. Now I totally get the whole the days are long but the years are short thing. Because you guys, sometimes these days feel so long. Motherhood is a thousand times better than I thought it could be, but also a thousand times harder than I ever anticipated. I am truly grateful for the gift of being home with her and I know some mamas would do anything for that. I treasure it, I cherish it, but I also am not afraid to say... it's really freakin' hard and that some days I lose sight of the joy of it all and just get caught up in trying to survive it. I think that's okay though, and I think it's a normal feeling. It's not always sunshine and daisies when you are living out something you've dreamed of for so long. Sometimes it's diaper blowouts, nap rebellion, public meltdowns and sinks piled high with dishes. If you are a mama in the thick of being home with your baby or babies (bless!) you are not alone, and you are a good mama! ❤️ #ourdaughterjames #documentingmotherhood #candidchildhood
Finally home, rocking with mama. ❤️ #courtneymalonemotherhood #courtneymalonenewborns
At my shower, instead of cards our guests brought books with little notes for James and me. We've gotten into a habit of reading books before bed and it's one of my favorite evening rituals. The first time I ever read to her, I chose The Runaway Bunny and I could hardly get the words out between my sobs. Definitely would not recommend for your first book to read your baby after delivery because #allthehormones 😬 Tell me, what's your favorite book to read your little ones? #documentingmotherhood #ourdaughterjames
My stunning friend, @redheadedjessica, making motherhood look so effortlessly beautiful with baby number 3. Sloane was so sleepy for her photos, and was so sweet and patient as I moved her all around. Also, first little newborn sesh to go down in the #courtneymalonestudio and I'm not mad at it. 😍❤️#courtneymalonemotherhood #courtneymalonenewborns
James and I were on our own this weekend, so we went downtown to have a little adventure. I snapped this picture of her on my aisle. As in walking down the aisle when Jim and I got married. I'm so happy that we get to raise this little girl in a place that means so much to us, and that we can take her downtown any old time to show her where it all began. We love our little city, and we especially love this little baby. #ourdaughterjames #lovewhereyoulive
It's blurry and out of focus. Kinda like me in general these days. But it's us, together in a photo. So I will keep it ❤️ She's way past the cuddly stage, and is now in the must crawl to and touch everything and put shoes and other weird objects in my mouth phase. Moms, you know. Savoring all the Sunday snuggles I can sneak out of this girl today! #ourdaughterjames #documentingmotherhood
What a special day for this sweet baby girl. She entered this world ten weeks ago, but today is her due date. So grateful to celebrate this day with her and her mama by taking some special photos in their home sweet home. #courtneymalonemotherhood #courtneymalonenewborns #documentingmotherhood
You guys. I'm so overwhelmed with the incredible responses to my post this morning. This platform, if we allow it, has the ability to bring us together as mothers to encourage, support and love one another on the hardest, most incredible journey there is. So many brave mamas spoke up today and shared their stories, some even doing so on their own Instagram feeds. You've all inspired me to continue sharing the parts of my story that are difficult and I hope that we can all continue to relate on such a deep level. So grateful to each and every one of you for being on this ride with me. And thank you to this gorgeous mama for allowing me to share this image, which might be one of my favorites of all time. A beautiful mama, nursing her son, united in the most sacred and special bond. What a gift to witness. #worldbreastfeedingweek #uniteinmotherhood #documentingmotherhood #courtneymalonemotherhood
As someone who follows a lot of mama-centric Instagram feeds, I couldn't help but notice all of the beautiful posts inspired by World Breastfeeding Week this week. My breastfeeding journey with my daughter was the exact opposite of everything I hoped and dreamed it would be, and I still often times feel sad that breastfeeding didn't work out for us. Our journey was overshadowed with guilt and feelings of failure, and ultimately I think our struggle to breastfeed is what led to my struggle with postpartum depression in the weeks and months after she was born. I wanted breastfeeding to work for us so badly. I fought through toe curling pain, 3 straight months of thrush, tongue tie, restrictive diets and a whole list of other stuff. I pumped around the clock and cleaned parts until my skin was cracked and bleeding, all why watching others step in to hold her, cuddle her, rock her and enjoy the newborn cuddles I was missing for the sake of breast milk. I literally thought if I gave her formula that I would be hurting her, but it turns out a healthy and sane mom who is not tied to a breast pump all the time was a much better option for us. When we decided to switch to formula when she was 4 months, I was terrified and devastated. But a few days in, we had a completely different baby. She was finally happy, no longer screaming constantly from stomach pain from whatever else I was eating that was hurting her. When I stopped pumping, I finally connected with my daughter, and I saw my husband for the first time in months. We smiled, we laughed, and we began enjoying our new life as a family of three for the first time. My point in sharing this is not to bash breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is so beautiful, and I would be lying if I said I'm not jealous of the mamas and babies it's worked so beautifully for. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you are a mama like me who chose, for whatever reason, to feed your baby in another way and are scrolling through your feed this week and seeing beautiful images of nursing mamas that make you feel like you are missing out, that you are not alone, and that you are doing a beautiful job no matter how you choose to feed your baby.❤
Spending today with my girl. School is out until the end of the month, and Grammy has gone back home to FL so it's just us girls for the next few weeks. I'm trying to focus on the quality time we have together this month, rather than how MUCH time we have alone. Just the two of us. All day. 😅 I wouldn't trade it for the world though. I might not get as much work accomplished as I'd like to this August, but I have a feeling it's going to be one of my favorite months yet. #ourdaughterjames #documentingmotherhood
Love at first sight. This is how I know it exists. Baby Sloane, I'm so glad I got to meet you on your birthday 🎀 #courtneymalonefresh48
If you're napping, wake up! I just announced another mini session date after the first dates sold out in less than 24 hours! Grab your spot via the link in my profile!
Do you guys remember the Mother's Day giveaway I did back in May for a Mommy and Me session? Well @hcbeeks14 was our winner, and this past weekend we met up and made some magic in the park! Look how sweet these two are! I am so happy Haley and her beautiful little girl Ramey will have these photos to treasure. On another note, I'm sending out one more date for mini sessions this morning! Last week, I announced mini session dates and they sold out in less than 24 hours! I'm still blown away by al the love and support. If you want to come see me this Fall for a mini, today's the day to get in!
Someone get this baby in a @gapkids ad! I might be biased... but I think she's the cutest little bear in the world! #ourdaughterjames
I'm just a girl, sitting in front of a unicorn, asking him to love her 💕🎀🦄 #ourdaughterjames #sharemypbk
The softest shade of blue for the walls, hand picked floral fabric sewn into curtains by her daddy, and pink and gold details so delicately chosen, all for sweet Annabelle Claire. The perfect balance of pink and blue for this sweet baby girl in one of my favorite nurseries to date ❤️ #courtneymalonenewborns
This little bean is at school today which means I'm cramming an entire work week into the next 4 hours. I struggle a lot with figuring out how to split time between my jobs of mother and business owner. Some days I feel like I'm only giving 50% to both, and a constant feeling of failure and guilt follows me around through the day. Guilt that I'm not giving my daughter my full attention, and guilt that I'm not making efforts to grow my little business and do all the things I'd like to do with it. Balance is non-existent these days, and if I'm succeeding in one aspect of my life on any given day, I'm undoubtedly neglecting another. I dont know that I'll ever really figure it out, how to feel like I'm doing really well with both, but I'm grateful for these quiet school days to reflect and remember why I do what I do.
Yes, those are two little toofers in that mouth! How can my gummy little baby be 8 months old? I'm sharing our personal family photos from the last month on my blog. This past month was full of firsts for James, including her first beach trip, her first High Hampton weekend, and the first time she ever hung out with a llama. True story! Just when I don't think I could possibly love her more, my heart swells. I feel so lucky to be this joy filled girl's mama.
I'll be sending Mini Session dates for this Fall to my email subscribers early next week, and trust me friends, you don't want to miss it. This year I'm offering minis on two different dates, and these times always go fast! Join our list (via the link in my profile) to get first dibs!
Harper Rae, 6 days new and snuggled up in a blanket gifted from her grandmother. She was the sweetest, sleepiest little angel for her first photo shoot.