I attended a photography conference several years ago where one of the speakers insisted that as a photographer, as a small business owner, you must constantly “be your brand.” Well heck, if that’s true, then several days out of the week my brand is a hot mess. Because truth be told, even though my Facebook statuses may suggest otherwise, sometimes I AM a hot mess.
My kids and I woke up this morning at 7:15. The bus came at 7:05. The boys’ lunches weren’t made, nor did I have any idea what to make for them. I’m almost out of bread, bananas have been gone for days, and for some reason my mom brain couldn’t think of anything viable to feed them. School lunch to the rescue, hair messy and in desperate need of a cut, reheated pancakes to eat in the car, I rushed them to school. Since I’m dumping lots of truth in this post right now I’ll let you know that I have about five days worth of dry shampoo in my hair and I was lucky to find matching socks for Carter. And yes, he’s wearing sweatpants. I am in old jeans and a T-shirt, not a stitch of makeup on my exhausted 40 year old face.
If you ran into me today – with my tired eyes, scary hair, bare face, you might wonder about my brand. You might wonder about my business, the photographer you might hire. Because in a perfect world my kids would always have artfully manicured hair, dress in spotless outfits, and never have science experiments growing underneath their fingernails. In that perfect world I would be dressed to the nines daily and would never leave the house without makeup. I mean, let’s be honest – on those days when you look amazing and feel like you can conquer the world you never run into anyone, and on the days where it looks like you just rolled out of bed and fought a rooster in the process seems to be the time when you see almost everyone you know. Am I right?
In order to “be my brand” I would have to be <insert adjectives here> and I just can’t be all that on a consistent basis. Thankfully, that’s the very thing that makes this all so incredibly magical despite the mess – being a business owner and a mom. I get it. I understand. I am it, I’m right there with you in the trenches. I’m a mom, flying solo a whole heck of a lot due to my husband’s crazy work schedule. I’m a nurse, and a cook, a chauffeur, a judge/jury, a snuggler and wiper of tears. And I think it is so detrimental to other moms to have this facade that we always have it together, that we have all the answers. What a shame. We deal with a lot of sticky stuff, us moms. We conquer homework, tantrums, and puking kids, loads upon loads of laundry, endless layers of dirt and macaroni and cheese stuck to the dining room table. We vanquish monsters from under the bed and splinters from tiny fingers, doctor bleeding knees and lovingly mend broken hearts.
My brand is often described as clean, classic, timeless, fun and honest. I’d like to think that I am all those things because doesn’t she sound amazing? I’d love to be her all the time, exactly like that instructor suggested we do. But that isn’t real life, it isn’t true. So while I promise you will have an incredible experience with MMP, with top notch customer service, individualized attention, and superior quality of artwork that is timeless and classic and fun, I can’t promise that if you see me at the gym on a Friday morning or heck, even at Kroger, or spy me hurriedly dropping off my kids late to school on a Thursday, that you’ll recognize any of those things in me. Chances are you’ll see chaotic hair, yoga pants, and no makeup. You’ll see a mom. Just like you. Doing the best I can. And really, isn’t that the most beautiful brand of all?