THE BARTON FAMILY | BYRON BAY | YAN FAM WAY 2.0

I'd like to put one, simple question to you.  A question that was put to me at Yan's Retreat Workshop in Byron Bay.

What does family mean to you?

Not your idealised family - what family actually is to you right now.  Today.  This chapter in your life.  The mess and the beauty.  All of it.  How would you describe it?

For me, family is beautifully complicated.  It's unpredictable.  It's frustrating.  It's messy.  It's exploding with love.  It's open hearted.  It's honesty.  It's compromise.  It's compassion and empathy.  It's real deal, unpretentious, imperfect happiness.

For a long time, I was afraid of sharing with the world that I was a single mother.  My son's Dad and I separated when Archie was just 6 months old.  I used to think of myself as "less" when I photographed my client's in their homes, because they were so together and my life was such a mess.  So I painted their (seemingly) perfect lives while projecting an image of perfect myself.  All that did was create a body of work that didn't mean a whole lot, despite being really pretty, it didn't have a whole lot of meaning, and I realised what a disservice I was doing to my clients.

After my first workshop with Yan, she, in so many ways, gave me permission to own and embrace my story, and to use it as a tool to create a more meaningful business and body of work.

Tangled and honest became a core value of my business, and drove everything I believed in, created and worked for.  I injected that into every area of my business.  I walked into homes with the knowledge that I was more than enough, more than worthy, and the complicated mess was actually the most beautiful and unique thing about all of us.  It was from that place that I started telling my client's stories, and the response was overwhelming.  It changed everything.

By that time, I suddenly wasn't so single anymore.  I had fallen in love and started a new story with the most beautiful soul, and his two, beautiful children.  I respect their privacy, and I don't very often share them, or our story.  But it's their story, and our story together as we blend our families, that makes up everything that family now means to me.

Complicated.  Unpredictable.  Frustrating.  Messy.  Exploding with love.  Open hearted.  Honest.  Compassionate.  We are real-deal, unpretentiously, imperfectly happy.

They mean the world to me.  They inspire me.  They support everything I do.  They show me what family really is every single day.

What I realised is that our stories evolve.  For me, it doesn't matter if I'm a single mother, part of a nuclear family, part of a blended family or any other variation.  None of that should impact my sense of self worth.  We all go through highs and lows and none of it ever means we are less,  it's human.

I see it everywhere - people hiding behind their imperfections, so afraid of judgement, so scared to just let go and be themselves.

My intention, going forward in everything I do is to SEE people for the perfectly imperfect beings that they are.  To LOVE them and their messy, beautiful stories.  And to honestly tell those stories with the heart and soul that I know they have.

I can't think of a better way to begin doing that than sharing this gorgeous Mumma, Sarah, and her stunning SIX babies with you.