angela belman blog1angela belman blogI have 3 kids that I call his, hers, and theirs. I gave birth to the hers & theirs -- ha! I have an awesome 15 year old stepson who lives in FLORIDA with his Mom. Then I have 2 daughters. I have 12 year old Emma Jane. (She splits her time between her dads home & my home 50/50) I also have 3 year old Scarlett Jennie who is stuck with both her parents together forever.

I don't think there's anything particularly so special and amazing with any of our 3 children. Each one is so unique with different qualities. I think what amazes me most is that when my husband & I met in 2006 I had a 4 yr old girl and he had a 6 yr old boy. They clicked like they had been brother and sister their whole lives, bickering one moment and laughing the next. Then when we added Scarlett in 2011, they've done nothing but dote on that little girl and been proud to be older siblings. Creating a bond with siblings itself amazes me. I'm confident when I say it's something special to give someone "a person" and we are trying our damnedest to make sure they have each other always.

Honestly, it was absolutely terrifying both times I found out I was pregnant! Terrifying in a scary, "oh my this was so not planned" & terrifying in a "how am I going to give this person everything they deserved?!" I was 21 years old when I found out I was pregnant with Emma Jane. I knew I didn't want to be with her Dad, I was partying, and I was doing things I shouldn't have been doing. All that stopped dead in its tracks the day I found out I was pregnant. I've always said she was sent to me to save me. My life stopped being about me that day and about what can I do for this little person. I was 31 when I found out I was pregnant with Scarlett Jennie. My boyfriend at the time, now husband, and I were at a pretty low point in our relationship. We had been together 5 years already and were still not married. Getting pregnant started us over in the direction we should've been headed in a long time before. In my eyes she was sent to us too.

The second I laid my eyes on Emma Jane I thought, "yes, we made it! You and I made it baby!" The tears of joy that ran down my face knowing that I finally had a person to go through life with, they overflowed. There was not another more perfect person in this whole entire world when I laid eyes on her, all 9 lbs. 5 oz. of her. One thing I'll never forget was a nurse asking me if I wanted to breast-feed right after I gave birth. Now at this time I was only 22 yrs old and I had just gone through over 48 hrs of being in the hospital before I even delivered. I sat there holding my brand-new baby and told that nurse, "are you crazy? Do you know what it just took to get her here? I'm tired and she'll be just fine with me giving her a bottle." Funny little story though, because I didn't breastfeed I would not let anyone else feed Emma for her first 3 months but me. I still wanted that 1 on 1 bonding. I implemented that same thing with Scarlett too when I had her! Now funny enough the first time I laid eyes on Scarlett I asked them to count her toes and her fingers because I'd had a horrible nightmare that she had no feet the week before. I also begged them to wipe the blood off her head to see what color hair she had because my husband is a redhead, and I wanted to know if she was too. After those immediate thoughts I looked down at the most smooth, most precious skin on a baby I had ever seen and couldn't believe I had been gifted another human to raise. I thanked God that he gave me another girl to call Emma's & my own.

I don't think becoming a mom really changed me as a person, instead it just defined my identity more. I am mom first. Angela second.

The best part about being a mom has to be the part about being needed. I think it's in our human nature to be needed and wanted. With being a mom you get both. This is a job that you can't get fired from and you certainly can't quit it. It's a lifetime gig. I guess the best thing is knowing that no matter what I've got the job of being mom and all the roles & duties it includes.

Right now, the most challenging thing for me is being two different moms. I have a 3 yr old and I have an almost 13 yr old. They don't require the same type of parenting. Yes, they both get my love and devotion but one requires a lot more snuggling while another requires more space. My 3 year old is also home with my husband & I together and I get to be a full time mom to her. My 12 year old has been going back & forth between her Dad & I since she was 7 months old. I was a single Mom for so long with her & only had to share her every other weekend & one night a week, but now it's 50/50. It's something I've struggled with her whole life. She's only been able to get half of me while the other half she's with is nothing like me & my parenting. That's a constant battle for me right now. I personally feel failure constantly with my oldest, but one day I hope to see what I've worked hard at installing in her pays off. I sometimes think, "does the older one think I like the younger one better?!" I know my Emma gets a little jealous, but she doesn't remember being my sidekick. Thank God I documented so much of her young life on real film! I can show her all the things we did. That's why I think taking so many pictures & documenting your every day is so important. We can forget things so fast. Ironically, I have to tell both my girls to do the same things over and over so they definitely have that in common!

When I was a single mother with Emma I wish someone could have guided me to more help, to more support, to know I was not alone. I never felt I got the support I needed from my family. Emotionally that is. I was the first single mom of the family. I had one other friend that was a single mother and thank God for her being placed in my life at that time. And I know this is cliché but I wish someone would've kept slapping me in the back of the head and saying, "these days will go by so quick so make them count." I could blink and remember when Emma was Scarlett's age.

I think every parent just wants their child to grow up just to be happy. Do my husband and I want our daughter to grow up to be a stripper? Nope. If she does, though, then I hope she's the most successful, smartest stripper there is! Right now she tells us she wants to be a nurse just like her mawmaw so we're just going to keep holding her to that -- ha ha! My oldest has wanted to be an artist, a marine biologist, and most recently a scientist. Ultimately I want raise confident, self-sufficient, successful, grateful, happy, women who are in touch with their emotions and can properly handle them.

My philosophy on parenting is to keep them alive from day to day! No joke. Some days the 12 -year-old is lucky to be alive with the mouth that she has..

My advice is find yourself a tribe. Find your people. Find someone! The other moms that will encourage you, that don't judge, that can sympathize, and you can grow together with -- that's who you want. Find one mom that can laugh with you when you have poop running down your arm and you accidentally smear it across your face. Find another who can listen to you cry because you feel like you've damaged your kid forever. It takes a village ladies. Do not think you have to go through motherhood alone. Husbands and boyfriends and partners are awesome to have but finding another mom you can connect with is absolutely golden.

Funny moments: Emma: when my then boyfriend, now husband, and I started dating it had probably only been 3 months into it and I wanted to take him downtown to the circle of lights. He was new to Indiana so I thought it would be fun. I also had a then 4 yr old Emma that night and I wasn't about pawning her off ever, so if he really liked me then he'd just have to know being a Mom was top priority & I liked doing things with my daughter. Emma chose that night to throw the biggest 2 hr screaming fit I had ever known her to throw. Complete with throwing chicken nuggets at him. I remember thinking well... This is the last time I'll ever hear from this guy. My husband & I still tease Emma about that night!

Scarlett: our sweet Scarlett has picked up the use of a few choice "bad" words from her Daddy & I. Frankly, we think it's funny and we do correct her (but only after I've recorded it, of course). Our favorite sayings from Scarlett right now would have to be "oh dammit, don't say dammit." Or more recently she'll go up to people and whisper in their ear "don't say bullshit". Hey, her parents are potty mouths in a funny way! She is starting to learn those are words just for mommy and daddy but we still can't help chuckle every time she says one of them.

I just have to add that my husband (Scarlett's Dad) and I just got married on 8.16.14. Having my daughters there to witness that love & commitment ranked up there pretty high on my list of proud moments. Actually having all 3 kids there was something incredibly special. I'm not the normal kind of Mom. It wasn't the whole "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby..." And I'm so ok with that! I think I'm a stronger Mother because I wasn't the norm!


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ASHLEE LAUREN PHOTOGRAPHY provides both studio and outdoor, natural light photography in Indianapolis, Indiana. The studio in located in downtown Indy near the canal and IUPUI. Family photography, as well as newborn sessions, maternity pictures are provided.