On a Saturday in May, I took on the task of styling, photographing, and celebrating my mom and sisters in a DIY photoshoot. Admittedly, I’m no photographer, but it was so fun to go outside my comfort zone and create some special moments with the women in my family.
My mother, Pnina, often put self-care last growing up, as many mothers tend to. In the last few years, developing a sense of style has been so transformational for her. She’s always been a jewelry lover with multiple drawers dedicated to her baubles, but clothes always felt elusive or inaccessible. She describes her experience with dressing as “putting me last." Her clothing was always “second hand or rejects from my daughters. I would never actually go and pick out clothing.”
She describes that putting on XCVI clothing was “so reassuring. They feel like home, like they’re you’re best friends. Zero issues.”
Indeed, XCVI’s philosophy of clothing for real women and real life stood true throughout our photoshoot. My mom put on the clothing and I watched her come alive. She fell in love with the soft, stretchy, lightweight fabrics and easy-to-wear silhouettes.
As women, there’s so much pressure to look a certain way and adhere to societal standards, so being able to wear clothes that look great and feel comfortable is an absolute blessing.
“She finally had her day,” says my older sister Aviv of watching my mother's photo shoot. “She was exuding confidence”
“It was nice to see her comfortable in front of the camera,” added Asif, my younger sister.
We laughed, strolled, posed, and smiled aplenty to get some rare shots of all of us together, with a focus on bringing out the beauty in my mom. Styling her and picking out matching jewelry was an absolute blast and I’m so glad we got to experience this.
After the photoshoot, we settle in on the couches to chat about motherhood.
I ask Aviv what surprised her about motherhood. She pauses. “How natural but intense it is,” she then explains. “It’s totally and completely absorbing.”
“You’ve never ever taken anything for granted,” adds Pnina. “Parenthood grounded Aviv and her husband” she continues. “It brought out the best in them.”
It’s really incredible,” says Asif, chiming in. “It’s a side of my sister that’s not necessarily surprising but really special—how loving and protective she is.”
Aviv says that our mother taught her that play is the most important part of motherhood, that having fun is incredibly crucial.
My mother is, after all, the most fun person I know. She’s always making up games, singing songs, and in general creating delightful chaos for all.
“Within my first year of marriage,” Pnina explains, “I knew my children would be central and my best friends. The charisma of having children…I knew it was for me. Growing up, all my pictures are with my nieces and nephews and puppies. I became an aunt in fifth grade. I always had babies and dogs around me. We used to do such fun things.”
I ask my mom and Aviv what their favorite thing about motherhood is.
For Aviv, it’s kissing her babies’ cheeks.
“Everything,” says my mother. “Nothing fulfills me more than my children.”
“I thought it was bra shopping at Dillards and dim sum,” exclaims Asif and we all burst out laughing.
I’ve always been curious about how mothers get through the monotonous moments. “There’s no way to really deal with the ‘boredom’ of some tasks in motherhood. I think about and remind myself that this is precious and fleeting, that it’s the most loving service of all.”
“You have to find the fun,” says my mother. “Cleaning, laundry, sink full of dishes, cooking—you have to quickly learn to use them meditatively because they are in service to your children.”
“The only thing I regret,” she continues, “is not traveling more with my children. More vacations. Not just fun in the sun, but creating more shared memories.”
“I had no presuppositions on how I would parent,” explains Aviv. “I trusted that I could be myself. I thought I would love breastfeeding and being pregnant but I really disliked both and was surprised. It’s like sacrificing your body in service of your child.”
Pnina agrees, describing how “You’re a vessel to raise children. It’s so blessed and fortunate—holy work.”
I ask my mom and Aviv how parenthood changed their relationships with their respective partners.
“You have a shared job together,” explains Aviv as Pnina nods in agreement. “You become a unit and realize what a team you are. You immediately share and have in common the most personal and special thing in life with just one other person.”
Asking Aviv what she hopes to take from our mother in her own parenting journey. “I hope to transition from stage to stage with ease,” she says.
“Yes,” agrees Pnina. “And patience is a virtue.”
Motherhood looks different for everybody, and witnessing my sister take after our mother as she raises her two beautiful children fills me with such joy. We’ve all learned everything we know from our mom, and there is still so much to discover.
This Mother’s Day, we’re dressing up and celebrating everything that makes the mothers in our lives tick. Let’s give back to those who have nurtured us in ways big and small, and ring in this special day with exuberance and joy.
My mom, Pnina, is really big on lightweight fabrics and plenty of room to stretch so I chose pieces with ribbed contrast for flexibility and movement. For her I chose the Pepper Tank Dress in Dark Everglades because green compliments her eyes so beautifully and she absolutely loves a casual dress. I knew the midi silhouette would flatter her perfectly. She also loved the Rippa Tank, which is such a universally flattering top—bra-friendly and curved just right to conform to your shape.
I also had her wear the Raphael Blazer in Folk Tale for a look that celebrates Spring and is as gently vibrant as she is.
Having just given birth in February, Aviv wanted comfort and light structure to accommodate her needs as a new mom. So I had her try out the Vivi Top in Deep Fern since that’s her nickname and it fit perfectly. And I styled it with the Birk Gaucho in Foothills Pigment and a matching Raphael Blazer because it’s a comfortable coordinated ensemble that looks put-together but still feels great to run around with children in—plus she loved the antique brass hardware zippers and details.
As a fourth year medical student, Asif loves neutral colors and simple, sensible clothes, so she went for comfort and the Bellamy Skirt in Foothills Pigment for functionality and style, and the Rippa Tank in White once again came in beautifully and flattered her in a way that felt great!