Thoughts on Motherhood

I started my photography business 2 years ago and I feel extremely blessed to have had the success I’ve had. I have always had an interest in photography, but about 2 years ago something inside of me switched (almost overnight practically) and I became “obsessed” with photography. I felt so passionate about it and couldn’t stop thinking about photo sessions and ideas. I was constantly visualizing myself as a photographer and I knew what I wanted to achieve and I knew I could do it. It was like being on a constant high and I still haven’t come down from it. I love the art of photography and I thank God for my talent and ability and for the opportunity I have to express and grow that talent. It has truly been a blessing! Now the tricky part of it all has been finding a balance between Motherhood (another love of mine) and photography. You think it would be simple or easy…but quite frankly it has been a struggle for me. It seems the guilt really settles in during the Fall season right when business is crazy busy. Everyone wants their pictures in the Fall, and so many other things in life are going on as well like soccer, school, gymnastics, Holidays, etc. It is a struggle to balance it all and I find myself pulled in too many directions. As things get more hectic, I find myself getting stressed and irritated and my creativity feels a little squashed too. Creativity is vital for what I do…I can’t loose that! So I find myself at this time is dire need of reconnecting. I need to reconnect with my vision, my creativity, my passion,…and most of all my family! This post was originally going to be about the high school senior sessions I have done this year (check back later because that will be next), but I decided I needed more to write about my family, my CHILDREN, and my role of motherhood!!

Here’s a storyboard of my 3 children. Aren’t they cute?!

Since this blog is very public I will leave my children’s name anonymous. My oldest son is 9. He is a daddy’s boy and shares the same interests as his dad like hunting, and anything to do with cars and trucks. He also enjoys to work and loves to tackle a project…especially if it involves doing it with someone else like Mom or Dad. He is very much an extrovert and is motivated and inspired by others (and likes to motivate and inspire others himself, as well). He is kind and compassionate and sensitive to the feelings of others. He loves to learn and to accomplish things. He also loves to share his knowledge with others…to a fault almost. He thinks he’s always right and sometimes he states things as fact when really they aren’t. We are working on that though, and I do appreciate that he loves to share his knowledge. He is extremely helpful too.

My next son is almost 7 and has a wonderful imagination. He has a very sweet and charming personality when he warms up to you (he is a little shy at first.) He is super creative and artistic and loves the details. He is the one who reminds me to embrace the joy that comes from the simple things in life. He is a passionate kid who finds pure joy and delight in snow angels, hot chocolate after playing in the snow, holiday cookie decorating, and fun family times. He made me more aware of the meaning behind the “simple” traditions of the holidays or the “simple” things we do in life. I would often think, “oh, we don’t need that or have time for that” but to him it really meant something and brought joy. I am thankful that because of him I realize that the “simple” things are really the most important things in life. This next image of him is one of my favorites.

My youngest, and my only girl, is just about to turn 4. She is as sweet and “girly” as they come, but can certainly “hold her own” and take charge when she wants to (which is most of the time really!) She rules the roost with her brothers. She is sassy, assertive, and independent, but she’s got the makings to be a great leader one day. She has similar characteristics as both her brothers too. She loves to help and teach (I see her pretending to teach quite often), and loves to create and be artistic as well. She is sweet and loving, but teaches me patience. I see myself in her quite often and I see her reflect the good and the bad in me. Having a daughter is fun and rewarding in more ways than I ever imagined. I wouldn’t want her to be anything other than her sassy, sweet, and assertive self that she is. These pictures of her really reflect her true personality.

Well, thank you for taking the time to read about my children and for letting me share that part of my life with you. I need this time to reconnect with that part of myself. I have been busy lately and feel like I haven’t “been there” for them as much as I would like to. I love photography, but I love being a mother more. When my life is all said and done I would rather my children know how much I love them and would rather they praise me for being their mother than feel all the praise from the world for my photography. My role as a mother is what matters most. It is what really brings me the deepest satisfaction and joy in my life. My children are amazing!

I had this story shared with me a while back that I just love called “The Invisible Mom” and I don’t know who wrote it. If any of you do know the author please tell me so I can give them credit. Anyway, here is the story:

I’m Invisible

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and
ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking , ‘Can’t you see I’m
on the phone?’ Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or
cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the
corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible
Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this?
Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a
clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What
number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30,
please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the
eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -
but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen
again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip,
and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting
there, looking around at the others all put together so well.

It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at
my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was
clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I
could actually smell peanut butter in it.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a
beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a
book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d
given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘ To Charlotte, with
admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour -the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work.

No one can say who built the great cathedrals -we have no record of
their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would
never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of
God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are
you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be
covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’

And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see
the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No
act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve
baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a
great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction.

But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the
disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong,
stubborn pride I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great
builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never
see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could
ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing
to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend
he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My mom gets up at 4
in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a
turkey for three hours and dresses all the linens for the table.’ That
would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him
to want to come home And then, if there is anything more to say to his
friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will
marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been
added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

I think that sums it up pretty good! May we all cherish our roles as mothers…especially when we get distracted, busy or discouraged. If your feeling that way (discouraged or distracted), take time to refocus on what really matters. The “simple” things we do with our children and our families are really the most important things.  I had an experience the other night that really helped me to appreciate the love that exists within our families.  A couple of friends and I went to go visit another dear friend in the hospital. Her son was admitted after having a major seizure. This wasn’t his first…poor little guy has had struggles since the day of his birth. I won’t go into detail about the situation, but my heart goes out to this little boy and especially to his mother as I think it is harder on her than it is on him. As I sat there in the hospital watching her hold and love her little boy I couldn’t help but think of what a blessing this boy has been to their family in spite of all the struggles and pain they have been through. They have a wonderful family with a strong bond of love. The blessings are too great and too many to talk about here in this post, but it was evident to me that what really mattered was right there in that hospital room… a loving mother doing an awesome job at raising her family! She couldn’t have been doing anything more important than caring for and holding her child in her arms at that moment. I could see that many benefited from her acts of motherly love. Now she is at home and tending to him with great care along with the rest of her children and all the daily tasks that need done. Regardless of the tasks we are doing, great or small, or the trials we are having, we are building great cathedrals. All those tasks and all those trials have great meaning…especially when attended to with great love. May we find and express that love in our lives.

8 Comments

  1. Kiana Griffin said . . .

    What a lovely post. I think one of the blessings of being a photographer AND a mother is that you can turn your camera toward your children and freeze a little bit of them forever in a way that nobody else can. Those smiles are for YOU. What a treasure!

    Posted October 18, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Permalink
  2. Melissa M said . . .

    WHAT a great post! Thank you for sharing your words…and the images
    of your kids are just beautiful, Jen!

    ~M

    Posted October 18, 2008 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  3. Heather Starr said . . .

    Oh my goodness-lol. I could have written that post almost word for word!

    Posted October 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Permalink
  4. Kendra Shaw said . . .

    I think the lady who wrote this is Nicole Johnson with the Women of Faith conferences. It is awesome for sure.

    Posted October 22, 2008 at 8:29 pm | Permalink
  5. Melanie said . . .

    This is my wonderful sister. I am absolutly proud of her and her accomplishments. She takes some of the most wonderful pictures and really captures the moment, as she has with my kids. I wish that you lived a liitle closer and I love you and miss you Jen. Keep up the good work, You have a true talent. I think that you have found your true calling. Melanie

    Posted October 28, 2008 at 5:34 am | Permalink
  6. Francesca said . . .

    Fantastic post!!! Cheers!

    Posted February 7, 2009 at 4:44 am | Permalink
  7. rachelle said . . .

    Jen you are an amazing artist. I love your view of the world. Thank you for sharing it with me. I’m so glad to call you a friend.

    Posted February 22, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  8. gina said . . .

    LOVE this post (i have 3 of my own)… that shot in the wheat fields with the clouds is TO DIE FOR!! ok, my children have not been fed breakfast yet because i can’t take my eyes off your blog.

    Posted May 25, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

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