No More Apologies. This is Me.

I sat across from Jane and she asked me, "are your nails always done"? I hesitated because a part of me felt guilty for saying yes, and it was the truth. I almost always have my nails done, and I do not do them on my own. I can't sit there and paint them myself without getting interrupted or having feelings of ADD kick in. I need to physically leave my house and sit in a chair across from some sweet lady who asks me about my day and allows me to escape for a short while. It was in that moment talking with Jane, that I realized it's not really about the polish. It's about sitting there for one hour and giving myself permission to be Sarah and to feel like a woman again.  I only get to do this once or twice a month, and for that one hour I am not wife or mommy. I am me… and it feels incredible!

You see, I have been feeling guilty about this for a while now. Not the nails, just that I seem to connect with my role as a woman far more than I connect with my role as a wife or a mother. I found that in my desire to have a family, I lost myself. The spirited girl I once knew. The fearless woman who has been too busy taking care of everyone except herself. I think other Moms (or work from home parents) can relate. We wear many hats and often we are forced to wear them at the same time. Right?

I found myself constantly apologizing, while multitasking, and feeling like a failure for not being able to do it all (well). It sounded a little something like this…

  • "I'm sorry. I can't volunteer to do that after school activity. There's just not enough time and somebody needs to cook dinner."
  • "I'm sorry that the house is a mess and there are toys everywhere. It's my busy season at work."
  • "I'm sorry that I don't sugar coat parenting. It's hard! The reflux, postpartum thyroiditis, postpartum depression, an emergency hernia surgery after my c-section, and a son with asthma really kicked my ass while also running a business. Nobody prepared me for this."
  • "I'm sorry we're late for school. I had to get a work email out and the kids took ten minutes to get their shoes on."

After a while it gets really old apologizing for everything, especially when it is your life and when you feel passionately about what you do. And let's face it, there are just some things I don't like doing and I simply can't apologize for any longer. I don't like being a home maker or having to cook and clean on a daily basis. I don't want to have to stand behind a table outside of Trader Joe's and sell Girl Scout cookies (so far, I have avoided this). I don't want to have to help with math homework, especially when it gets to algebra. I don't want to drive around town like a taxi for hours between activities. Nope, not me. I'd rather photograph women and their families. I want to be telling their stories and celebrating their accomplishments. I want to empower women and mentor them. I want to inspire my own children to follow their dreams. I want to work. It's a choice. My work makes me happy and fulfills me. I won't feel guilty for that anymore!

So as Jane and I discussed my nails, and as the conversation continued amongst a larger group of people, I found comfort in saying it out loud for the first time… "I need to be a woman, first".

I love my kids and my husband and our crazy home life and I have decided that it's time to stop apologizing for needing to be a woman, first. I have recently discovered that if I embrace this part of me then I will be an even better wife and mama to them! I no longer need permission to consider me first. I'm not Wonder Woman and I'm not perfect. I won't pretend to be Martha Stewart or one of the Stepford Wives, and I'm certainly no Dance Mom either. I am Sarah (channeling my inner Katy Perry here, "and you're gonna hear me Roar").

Here are a few things that I am done feeling guilty about and that I love un-apologetically...

  • getting a box of hot, fresh, out-of-the-oven, Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts to share, and eating the entire box before I've even gotten home
  • dropping the kids off at school, because then we can all be our best selves
  • the goosebumps I feel while listening to the whirl of the vacuum cleaner while our cleaning lady pushes it
  • scheduling my kids playdates around happy hour
  • having the babysitter come over during dinner time so I don't have to cook or help with homework
  • washing 4 loads of laundry and leaving the folding for him
  • driving alone in my car and singing at the top of my lungs to JT, P!NK and Rihanna without having to skip the explicit lyrics
  • enjoying my husband's business trips, because it means I get to have a movie date with Ryan Gosling, my wine, and my dog (Hank) cuddling next to me on the couch
  • getting my monthly manicure, so I can be reminded of how important it is to just be me… a woman. SarahXOXO



Sarah Lehberger photographed by Michelle Gardella Photography

Sarah Lehberger

Easton, CT

Sarah Lehberger is a photographer based on the shoreline of Connecticut, just 90 mins from New York City, in the small town of Easton. She specializes in photography that celebrates working Moms and their families. She is also a Co-Founder of She Will Thrive, providing business coaching, retreats and workshops to women entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners.

Sarah's career started in the news and entertainment industry. A storyteller at heart, she began photographing weddings in 2003 while also working full time at Getty Images, NY in their editorial department. Sarah enjoyed the fast-paced and glamorous events she would collaborate on, yet deep down she was craving more purpose driven work. In 2005 she decided to leave the corporate world to launch her full time wedding business, which received numerous awards and features throughout the industry.

In 2013 Sarah rebranded her business so she could continue her mission to celebrate women, with a new focus on mothers. She feels strongly about empowering women and creatives to succeed, and has been a speaker at conferences such as ShootDotEdit's Unlimited Happiness Tour, Inspire Photo Retreats, as well as a past coach and mentor for Team X Academy.