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5 Reasons I did a cake smash photo shoot for my 31st birthday

This is the other side of 30.

I’m 31 this month.

Getting to 30 was horrifying. It was the end of my youthful twenties for good.

But now that I’m in my thirties, what a world of difference.

For the first time I feel confident enough to walk around in my own wrinkled, squishy, scarred and tattooed skin. I’ve left my four-year postpartum slump for good. Icky new motherhood insecurities, be gone. Obsession over my soft new stomach and scars of childbirth, sayonora!

I speak my mind. I don’t bottle up my ideas, thinking they’re not good enough to release out into the world. I stopped questioning my parenting so much – I just go with it. I don’t apologize for things I shouldn’t be sorry for.

I rid myself of a professional path that was stifling me, and embraced a career that suits me.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. I’ll pause here to admit the emergence of gray hair on my head was a bit alarming. I did a mini-cry at the sight of the silver sproutlings. Then I said screw it — and colored my hair green.

As 31 approached, I wanted to mark it in a way that was memorable, fun and so distinctly me.

Alas, the selfie cake smash photoshoot. Who says moms can’t smash a little cake, and eat it, too — and not count any calories?

Image: Melanie Mercogliano

Here are 5 reasons I solidified 31 with a cake smash photoshoot, and why you might want one for your next birthday.

It’s all about reclaiming one’s right to cake

I’ve watched my babies, and countless other babies, smash their faces into delicious cakes without a care in the world. Now, it’s my turn to indulge in delicious buttercream frosting without counting calories or checking for high fructose corn syrup, or nuts or eggs or wheat — ah the list goes on. I could lick, take fistfuls or smoosh my face into the cake and make a mess because the cake is all mine. No one else’s. I don’t have to share with a soul.

Image: Melanie Mercogliano

I’ve learned my size is my size

I spent way too many postpartum years lamenting over my pre-baby body. I’m over it. Maybe I’ll always be 10 pounds heavier than pre-baby. My boobs may always be sloppy sacks of fat that will forever droop. My nipples don’t point north — they’re more like southeast and southwest. My C-section scar will always be a keloided line across my belly. My abs might not ever fuse back together again. I can’t care about it anymore. I will eat my cake, drink my calorific champagne and be photographed in a dress that is one size bigger than I used to wear pre-baby. Maybe one day, I’ll feel like going on a diet and running my booty off to take off the last ten. But for now, I’m just living in my body, as it is.

Image: Melanie Mercogliano

Being sexy again

For a long time motherhood was indeed the end of eroticism for me. I was “touched out” from having little people grope me all day long. I was exhausted from the mile-long mental to-do lists. My hormones were wacky. My libido tanked.

My kids are getting older and more independent. My husband and I are in a groove — instead of survival mode.

It might not be the groove I was workin’ with pre-baby. But it’s better than not feeling like myself, or not feeling sexy at all, which I didn’t for years.

Image: Melanie Mercogliano

I’m embracing my uniqueness — read: eccentricity — and my style

For too long, my creativity and self-expression were kept cooped up by the corporate culture that vanilla-fied me. I was a watered down version of myself for many years as a working woman and working mother.

I had an image in my mind about what “good moms” look like. Absurd, I know. But I kept feeling the need to measure up to a standard I simply couldn’t relate to. My style is what makes me a unique individual and unique writer. Doing this photoshoot, dressed in my true style, only furthers my cause of showing that men and women can be good parents — and know what’s best for their children — no matter what they look like. Even if they have green hair. Or tattoos.

Image: Melanie Mercogliano

I was wrong about my thirties feeling old

It’s anything but that. I’ve made fantastic memories with my children and my husband. I’ve made professional strides I never thought possible. I’m making new friends along the way. Being a 31-year-old mom rocks right now, and it shows. Happy Born Day to me! Love, Myself

Image: Melanie Mercogliano
Image: Melanie Mercogliano

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