Honesty, Art, and Motherhood

Carla: I’m about to make your day so much better. My friend Sarah has started a project that you have to see for yourselves–365 days of motherhood as seen through her camera. Her project is called Art and Motherhood and you need to take a look.

Now here’s what makes this so incredible. Sarah is an award-winning photographer. She is also one of the most honest, transparent people I know. That means the pictures she’s taking are the real deal. They are beautiful, heartbreaking, funny, hopeful, stark, and sometimes literally naked. She doesn’t gloss over the realities of motherhood or family life. Sometimes there are tears–and not just from the kids. Sometimes there are messes. Sometimes there is laughter. Sometimes there is just work.

But this project isn’t just about the photos. It’s about Sarah. This photo-journal is her effort to keep her creative spirit alive in the middle of her life as a mom. It’s a way of keeping the best parts of herself from withering under the weight of responsibility. I love that about her and I think you will too.

Caryn: Of course, I love everything about this. Well, except for today’s photo. I had to click away quickly. It represents all of the kid-neediness I am overwhelmed with at this moment and I just couldn’t deal. But the other ones are wonderful. I’m sure if I go back to today’s photo later—when my kids are reading or playing quietly—I will also love it.

But what I really loved was this sentence on her “About” page about why she’s doing this: “I want to be successful at both without waiting until I’m fifty, have an empty nest and find myself at a community ed class saying ‘I used to really like photography and now I’d like to get back into it.'”

Amen, sister. It’s why we do what we do too. I hope you ALL have something you love to do, are great at, and are succeeding at while you are being a great mom.

Carla: And if you don’t, it’s time to figure out what that something might be. We die inside if we don’t have a dream, something that we’re passionate about, something that keeps us connected to the core of who we are created to be. It might even be being a great mom.

I think a big part of what touches me about what Sarah is doing is that she has paid attention to what gives her life and she’s not letting go of it. That’s what I want for myself, for my friends, for my kids. It’s far too easy to let it slip away.


8 responses to this post.

  1. So something go lost in the timing of this post. Apparently, the new picture up is of boobs–and my comments about needing to look away seem even funnier because ot if. The picture I SAW was of a little boy crying and reaching out. Not boobs. But whatever. We’ll probably get more hits now. Boobs are good for ratings.


  2. Posted by Carla on January 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    It’s not really boobs as much as nursing, but those of us who have nursed a babe or two know that the boobs loose all their mystery when baby needs to eat.


  3. Posted by Heather on January 19, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    “Jan2” and “You need to get some modesty.” are my favorites and Sarah is naked in both of them. Go figure. I agree with Carla, Sarah is on of the most transparent people I know and she has spoken much truth and wisdom to me as a mother ,woman and wife. I need transparency and honesty from other women, from all walks of life. I’m trying to pin point my dream(s) and make sure that I keep them active. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.


  4. I got totally choked up when I read, “This photo-journal is her effort to keep her creative spirit alive in the middle of her life as a mom. It’s a way of keeping the best parts of herself from withering under the weight of responsibility.” I feel that way a lot and I miss the creative part of me but I just don’t know where to begin…I used to perform with community theatres and in chorales but I barely have time to breathe between work & home. I envy Sarah’s ability to “keep her creative spirit alive” and long to do the same.


  5. I wondered about how much work it must be to set up those photos, especially the one with the groceries, and her in the background. And the one of her framing with both kids in the picture. But they are beautiful and touching and real. Hope she can keep it up for the year.


  6. Ok, so I don’t even know her and I love her.

    Looking at her photographs, I felt like I was looking at a kindred spirit (albeit a much more talented one!)

    Thank you so much for sharing that. Christina- that same comment caught my eye. I am always struggling to retain some self-hood in the pressure cooker that is life as motherhood. It is so tough, because sometimes that self-hood is at such controversial odds with what I know is best for the kids, for my husband and for the family unit as a whole.

    By the way, was I the only one looking at her grocery composition and thinking I would love to have what she is cooking? Frozen wild blueberries and fresh herbs? Mmmmm.


  7. isn’t this just amazing. truly inspiring. as an artist and a mother, it is so easy to feel like you can’t do both. and it is hard and difficult, but worth it. i really appreciate sarah inspiring us, moving us, and struggling with us as moms. i find myself excited about each day’s photo!


  8. Posted by Robyn on January 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    My favorite thing about it is it’s so REAL. Not happy, posed pics of perfectly turned out children sitting amongst the flowers. Really, really enjoying this. Thank you.


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