Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Being creative and being a mother









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.
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31 comments

  1. You are not alone, love. All of us mothers/creatives walk this same line & battle these same struggles. You are amazing. You are an inspiration to so many -- myself included. Self-doubt is normal, it is a part of life -- still, I hope that it passes quickly for you & that you are once again reminded of what a treasure you truly are, both as a mama & as an incredible artist. <3

    xx,
    Dena

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  2. Oh hon.
    You are doing the best you can and you are doing a great job.
    It feels like our babies will be babies forever but they really won't. You are going to love having taken so many sweet snaps of them when they were so small one day when they are too cool to stand still and smile for the camera.
    It's sad that people would stop following you when you post pics of your gals because they are a beautiful part of your life and your photography reflects your life eh?
    But I know how you feel.
    It's hard to feel like mum all the time and only mum. But the work you do is so so precious.

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  3. lovely pictures as always, i think im not as creative as i would like myself to be, i do notice from time to time i use things we have in the house to decorate presents, hopefully it will change for even better creativity when little one arrives

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  4. I love the photos of your girls, they are so inspiring and just so beautiful. Please don't feel that way, you are such a great woman! Don't be down in the mouth.

    xxx

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  5. OK now snap out of it - strangers came into your life through your photography but your life with your girls is the real thing. The photo's you take of their day to day life are great and it is much more important to document their lives than to take random shots that might appeal to others. They will soon be grown and as you say will not want you to take their photos. You are still you and the creative talent that you have is still there and always will be. Love you just the way you are - Your second mum Debbie xxxx

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  6. I love your blog and instagram! You have inspired me in so many ways and have done amazingly well for a young mum with two little girls. I only have one little boy and I don't know how you do it.
    Don't let the the whole "likes and followers" thing make you doubt your gifts. I gave up my blog even though I loved it through overthinking and doubting after thinking I could never do as well or be as creative as other bloggers. Dont let underconfidence shadow you.
    I love your photos :) I also love that you were married and had little ones young like me :) and I know how you feel, everyone else looks like supremum to me too...:/
    x

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  7. Aw please don't feel anything less than awesome - Your blog is so beautiful and so inspiring x x

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  8. I think you can be overcome with self doubt when seeing and comparing yourself to others via social media. I literally have floods of insecurities when my photos or posts don't get any likes or comments and it can really get you down. But what's it all for? In the real world, none of that matters. Keep doing what makes you happy and most importantly your family happy. x

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  9. I think we all feel like this sometimes. I try not to compare myself with others as I am doing the best job I can for myself and my children. I'm glad you have got it off your chest and I hope you can move on.

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  10. This is pretty much how I feel all of the time. I've come to the conclusion that my children come first now as they need me. My day will come!

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  11. your photos are so beautiful. it is hard to have a balance life. You are doing a great job!

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  12. Huni your amazing! I love your blog and photo's they are always so beautiful. We all feel guilt and struggle with trying to do everything, something always takes a back seat. Carry on doing what you want for you and your family, if people don't want to see pictures of your beautiful children it's their loss xxx

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  13. The funny thing is that your photos inspire me because they are about your family, and all the beauty, magic and love in real life. I admire you and am inspired by you far more because you lie down on the floor playing with your children than any fancy photo taken to please an audience. True creativity is born in the heart and true art is never achieved any other way but by expressing what is in the heart.

    There doesn't have to be balance. Go all in. Go deep and loving and wild. Take amazing photos of your daughters and spread them far and wild. Ask them to be quiet sometimes so you can write down ideas. Take them with you while you photograph beautiful landscapes and teach them to see the world with all the magical perspective you have and which shows up in your photos.

    You are not missing out on anything, as far as I can see - except the "likes" of some strangers who never knew your heart in the first place. I have never believed motherhood sucks our creativity from us unless we let it. But that's just me. I wish you joy and peace of mind.

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  14. I love your blog and your photos, I think they are dreamy. I battle all the time with what I need to do as a mother and the person I was before. It's hard as my son has special needs so even though he is 4, he still can't properly talk or understand so my time is so stretched and I feel guilty whatever. Like now, I'm blogging but my head is saying - 'No Samantha, you should be reading that autism book' The guilt! :( I dream of being able to do photos like you do with your girls. For now, I cram in my creative bits here and there, the odd minute or two. I wouldn't think too much about it, it is what it is and you are very creative to me whilst also being a fab mum xx

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  15. everybody feels this at some point or another, whether it's the exact same thing, or along different lines. and the fact you want to retake photos etc? i see that as a good thing, because it means you want to get better, improve your skills and to trust your creative instinct. do what you love and it will always be worth it, guilt feelings or no guilt feelings :)

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  16. I think we all feel like this from time to time. I love your photos and your blog so keep doing what you are doing xx

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  17. Thanks for sharing wonderful information, it is really nice information.

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  18. You blog and imagery is beautiful. I know that I too feel the same way about failings of my own, and I'm sure that a lot of us do as well - you're not alone. Thank you for writing this post x

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  19. that's so weird that people would unfollow for taking beautiful shots of your gorgeous girls! don't let those sillies get you down, you and your photographs are wonderful! xx

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  20. I once read a post by a Christian blogger who happens to be a friend as well. She was talking about the very same subject(she has 4 girls!) and the conclusion she came to was that by not allowing herself to be who she really was artistically, she was depriving her girls of her gifts and creativity. I would encourage you to keep going with what you like, even if it is squeezed in between mummy duties!xx

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  21. Oh bless you, I think that you should be true to what inspires you on your account, if you like having candid shots then add those, if you want creative shots then have those. Your account is not there to please people it is for you, and although we get validation through anonymous clicks made over the internet, really it should be something that you can look back and enjoy. Your photographs are beautiful! x

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  22. Your photos are so beautiful. I love the pictures of your girls. I understand the need to balance your creative side and the needs of your children. I feel guilty when I do grown up crafts for myself. It is a constant balancing act. You are doing an amazing job x

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  23. This is the never ending dilemma - mummy v creative. I try to squeeze in the creative side in the early mornings and after the kids are in bed, but then you get tired, or pay for childcare so you get to feel fulfilled too.

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  24. It's such a hard one isn't it?! Right now, with littlies, my creativity always has to come second, but that can be so hard. I have times when I compare myself to others and end up feeling like such a failure because I'm not achieving as much as they are. Then I have to remind myself that I have three kiddos to look after 24/7 and very little time to myself, and all my work + creativity has to be squeezed in around them. Big hugs lovely, don't be hard on yourself - your photos are beautiful x

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  25. I love your sweet photographs of your family, Mark and I are beginning to get to the point where we're thinking more about maybe starting our own little family and although I find the prospect utterly terrifying at the moment, your sweet girls are proof that all the hard work is worth it. You're doing an incredible job <3

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  26. Such a lovely series of photos!

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  27. I'm astonished people stopped following you because you posted pictures of your children. They're always so beautiful; what's not to like?! I too have struggled recently with the children/self-fulfilment dilemma. I realised today that a lot of my creative energies revolve solely around children's stuff - writing about them, and enjoying children's arts & culture. While that's all very well, I do need to get stuck into some grown-up arty stuff for a change...

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  28. Just do what you love and never against your own feeling and you will be fine
    I love your photographs!

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  29. I feel so similar some times K...although i don't have little fairies, i am super sensitive if people like what i do and say. But i know happiness will guide the way and if you are happy that is all that matters. Love you so darling, my dear. Let's stick together always xx

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  30. Dear Keri Anne. What a honest and touching post. The situation you describe is the situation of many. We are women, creatives, and moms. We are all that, separately and at once. And during a few years our role of moms will be vital for our family. So vital that sometimes will make our other facets almost invisible.
    I've only known your art with your beautiful fairies around, and my response to what you share today is that your art is your art. It is the same, only that your life now includes the light of those dear souls. Your life has changed, and so has your photography and your inspirations. Maybe some people won't feel as near to your art as before. And that's fine, surely. You'll keep on changing and evolve naturally, and maybe your audience too. The important thing, as you say, is that you'll always remain you.

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  31. Oh gosh! I have just soaked this post up!
    I am a singer/songwriter and crafter with two small children that I adore. I absolutely feel the sacrifices that take place every day either way.. To be a truly present, organised mother = creative expression in my music or craft goes by the wayside.. And to be fulfilling or in the very least expressing my creations and dwelling in that place I need to be in to create, my home and my mothering presence is sacrificed..
    Mainly it's the house and the laundry that do me in when I once poured all my creativity in to keeping everything in lovely order..
    Thank you for expressing your feelings. I will look for your instagram now! Mine is Cadwynclare.. 😄💗

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