Yesterday, i was on instagram, just looking through the accounts i follow and i suddenly had a huge wave of self doubt come over me. It really consumed me and took me back a bit. I had to log out and put my phone away for the rest of the night and this morning it really bothered me. I took Mia to play group and on the way home, i was basically talking out loud to myself about what was floating around in my head and ended up doing a little voice memo on my phone so i could try and figure out why i felt that way.
I am such a big people pleaser. I hate letting people down or the thought that someone might not like me. I get super anxious about it all the time. My instagram account started as a photography account mainly where i shared my latest creative photographs. I gained a lot of followers and it always made my day when someone said i inspired them. I battled for a while to upload photographs of the girls on that account so i set up a second account for more candid photos. I gradually started to add photographs of the girls onto my main account and over the last few months, it has become more of an account for creative photographs of my girls. I have since lost hundreds and hundreds of followers and my likes have more than halved. It didn't really bother me and it shouldn't really at all as it's just an app and i don't take photographs for others and i don't ever want to get into that hole where i take photographs just for others and what i think they might like. But i cannot help feeling that i have lost who i was or lost who i am inside. Having two children can make it really difficult to be creative and take that time out to be myself. I have a demanding three year old and a five year old who needs my help with school work and who is so inquisitive and curious about everything. I feel so guilty if i try to do photographs for myself or sit and craft something as i am not giving these two little girls my everything. I guess it makes me feel a little sad that i am struggling to find the balance between being a mother and being a creative person. I am an all or nothing type of person and i cannot give myself to either without neglecting the other.
I look back through my flickr and instagram feed often. I see the thousands of likes and the photographs i took and wish i could take again. I write ideas in my notepad of new shoots i want to try and new things i want to craft but then i have a little girl in front of me asking for some lunch or to play a game with her and i put the notepad away and push my creative thoughts away and lie down on the floor and pretend i am a dinosaur on a train track, blocking the trains from getting to the next station. I see the comments about how i have inspired someone or how someone could live my life and i feel like i have let them down. Not that i know them personally but that i don't have that life that they think i do. I am a normal mum that has a messy house and a pile of laundry to fold and put away and dishes in the sink. I wouldn't change my life now for anything but i often wonder how these other mums do it. They must be some kind of superwomen as i struggle everyday and the feeling of guilt is immense. For both sides. For the side that i want my daughter to nap so i can bake or read or blog or even nap myself and for the side where i just haven't taken a creative photograph in weeks because i am too busy dealing with potty training and with phonics. Where is the middle ground and how on earth do you find it?
My instagram feed will not change and i will not allow myself to photograph for others. I am creative and i like to catch creative moments in my photographs. That will never change and that is truly who i am and truly what my children do. I never pose them or make them do something just for a photograph. I capture moments of their childhoods but in my own little creative way. And i won't worry that i loose 20 followers if i put a photograph of up my children. This is a change and it is a good change. It is where i am in my life right now. In ten years time, they won't want their photographs taken and i will have more time for my own personal work.
I won't let an app make me feel like i am not a good enough mother or good enough photographer, ever. I am me and i am doing the best i can. My juggling may seem way off balance but i am going through a journey and to be able to document this journey and allow people in to follow this journey with me is a pretty wonderful thing i think.