+

As a young mom, Celia Sanchez felt like an outsider.

Sanchez, who became a mom 11 years ago at age 23, had many run-ins with fellow parents that she won't soon forget.

"When I would take my children to day care, I felt kind of ... like I didn't look like the other moms," Sanchez said. "They were much older than me. I just felt kind of separated from them. I would get a lot of 'Oh you're so young to be a mom,' 'You don't really look like a mom,' and I always thought that was a silly thing to say: 'Oh you don't look like a mom.'"


Driven by her own brushes with judgment, Sanchez reached out to friends and strangers for a powerful portrait project.

"I'm not a woman of words," said Sanchez, a portrait photographer. "I like to show people."

Sanchez's photo series "Devoted" features "non-typical" mothers and their children.

With their body art, bold hair, and amazing clothes, these women don't seem like "typical moms" at first glance. And that's the point.

For the past three years, Sanchez has shot portraits of these women alone and with their children. She hopes the juxtaposition will encourage people to reconsider their first impressions.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

"I knew mothers who didn't look like a 'typical mom,' and I always wanted to photograph them and feature them and show that you don't have to look a certain way to be a mom," she said.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Many of these moms have tattoos, which are still considered taboo in a lot of communities.

By the numbers, though, tattoos are fairly common, even for parents.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

According to a 2015 Harris poll, nearly half (47%) of millennials and more than a third (36%) of Gen Xers surveyed reported having a tattoo. And respondents with children were nearly twice as likely to have a tattoo as those without children (43% vs. 21%).

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Even as tattoos and parents with tattoos become more commonplace, many parents still feel judged for their appearance.

Brian Poole and his wife, Meg, run Parents With Tattoos, one of several Facebook communities on the topic. Admittedly, Poole says his run-ins with those critical of his body art aren't as bad as many would assume, but they definitely happen.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

"I don't get a lot of comments, but I get a lot of snide looks. You can definitely tell people from their body language, the way that they look at you," he says.

The prejudice has also led to more serious consequences for Poole and his family.  

"We've actually been, me and my wife, have actually been turned down from renting houses. ... And it's like, 'Come on. It's 2016. I would think we'd move past that.'"

But we haven't. That's why projects like "Devoted" are so important.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Not all parents look the same. And they shouldn't have to.

Three years in, Sanchez continues to work on "Devoted" not just for herself, but to celebrate and champion these strong, beautiful mothers.

Photo by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

"I just wanted to show women — mothers — who weren't ... sacrificing their personal style," Sanchez says. "Being a mom, you get lost in your children and I really love the fact that these women didn't lose themselves. They didn't lose their identities. They're still themselves. They're still great parents."

Photos by Celia Sanchez, used with permission.

Raising kids is hard enough without prejudice and judgment. Next time you see a mom or dad who doesn't fit your idea of a parent, Sanchez hopes you'll check yourself. Because if it takes a village to rise a child, everyone who loves and cares about that child is welcome.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
Celebrity

U.S. Soccer star expertly handles an Iranian reporter’s loaded questions about race.

Tyler Adams’s response proves exactly why he’s the captain of the US soccer team.

Tyler Adams expertly handles Iranian reporter's question

Reporters are supposed to ask the right questions to get to the truth but sometimes it seems sports reporters ask questions to throw you off your game. There's no doubt that this Iranian reporter who was questioning Tyler Adams, the US soccer team captain at the press conference during the World Cup had an agenda that didn't involve getting to the truth.

It's not clear if the questions were designed to throw the young player off of his game or if the goal was embarrassment. It really is hard to tell, but Adams handled the unexpectedly harsh encounter with intelligence and poise when some may have found it justified for him to get angry.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Artist captures how strangers react to her body in public and it's fascinating

Haley Morris-Cafiero's photos might make you rethink how you look at people.

Credit: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero describes herself on her website as "part performer, part artist, part provocateur, part spectator." Her recent project, titled "Wait Watchers" has elements of all her self-descriptors.

In an email to us, Morris-Cafiero explained that she set up a camera in the street and stood in front of it, doing mundane activities like looking at a map or eating gelato. While she's standing there she sets off her camera, taking hundreds of photos.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom's praise of audiobooks 'post-baby' has parents sharing how it changed their lives

'Audiobooks have helped me regain a part of myself I worried was lost. Let people read however they can.'

Canva/Twitter

Let people read however they can.

Not too long ago, it seemed like you could only be loyal to one team—team “physical books” or team “e-readers.” There was no neutral territory.

That debate might have dwindled, but it echoes on as people take a stand on physical books versus audiobooks, which have become increasingly popular—nearly half of all Americans currently pay for an audio content subscription, and the average adult in the U.S. listens to digital audio for a little over an hour and a half each day, 28% of that being spoken word. Audiobooks had a particularly big surge during the COVID-19 pandemic, as listeners found the activity more comforting and satisfying than a regular book while under quarantine.

You’d think that the general mindset would be “reading in any form has great benefits, so do whatever you want!” But alas, humans do find odd hills to die on.

Keep ReadingShow less