The cheerios are on the floor, the dirty sippy cups are stacked up the sink, and toys are scattered in every direction. Motherhood can be messy to say the least. As I look around at the mess, I feel the stress pricking my skin and wonder how I will ever be able to clean the mess. I take a deep sigh and reach for my camera instead of the broom.
As I quickly take a few shots, the camera’s heavy weight reassures me and I notice that the camera is more forgiving than me. The camera makes the sippy cups look like a colorful chore and glosses over the imperfect kitchen. The imperfections add character to the photos and perhaps one day when my kitchen is sparkling clean, one day when my children have outgrown sippy cups, I may miss these times. Perhaps.
The camera captures images that aren’t always Pinterest friendly, but they have appeal in other ways. I notice quirks like a tiny paint-spattered foot on a sunny day, rainbow chipped nail polish on a toddler’s toes, and that scattered cheerios can actually look quite pretty. And that a tiny foot will always prevail over a sticky rice floor.
What I enjoy is that the camera captures the good, the bad, and the ugly and turns these emotions into art. When photographing my clients, I strive to share photos that they will love. My clients vary from brand new parents to experienced ones. My goal is to give these clients glossy vibrant images in which their family bond shines through.
But I also want the photos that tell the truth gently, photos that embrace a new mother’s life, tired eyes and all. Photos that say Parenthood can be hard.
For that reason my camera keeps clicking even when a baby wails at the top of its lungs or a toddler has a tantrum. It keeps clicking even when my kitchen is a mess.
And as each click goes by, my mood gets better. Because life and parenting can be sticky and grimy. And that it will get better. Just look through the camera lens.
When I doodle, whether it be swirls or figurines, I am transformed to a world in which my doodles live, and my thoughts become clear. My mind breathes.
I used to teach second grade. Now, I am a Stay-At-Home-Mother to three girls, an Atlanta based children-family-lifestyle photographer, and an author of Lailah’s Lunchbox (Tilbury House Publishing, 2015.) I have two new picture books projected for 2021: Amira's Picture Day (Holiday House, 2021) and I Can Help (Eerdmans, 2021) as well as my debut middle grade novel Unsettled (HarperCollins 2021).
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