I love this advice from Robin Stephenson!

As you recall, Robin is one of the fab 15 contributors from Sham of the Perfect.  You can see my previous post about her here.  I had the pleasure of visiting with her recently.  During the interview, I asked her for any words of wisdom or any advice she had for creative moms.  This is what she had to say:

Find something you enjoy or think you might enjoy and just do it. Even if you can only find a few moments during the day, just do something. I often put off doing anything creative because I’m not good at it or I’m too tired. But if I let those two things stop me, I’d never get anything done.

So cleaver and so true.  How many times have we let those two things stop us?  I know I sure have!  To be more specific (and if we are reading between the lines), my two things would be defeatist attitude and too lazy.

All too often, I find myself giving up before I even start.  I let the enemy win before I even give myself the chance to begin!  OR… I’m just too lazy to do something new/awesome/scary.  I usually think something like… “If that idea were so great, someone else would have already done it.”  Two completely ridiculous reasons not to do something.  Anything!

So, take Robin’s advice.  Don’t let those two things get in your way.  You are good enough, and we are all tired.  Don’t let those two things stop you, or you’ll never get anything done.  Thanks, Robin, for those words of encouragement!

Remember, that was just a tiny tidbit from my interview with her.  See more from the interview in the book when it’s released.


Natasha Kelly says, “Be gentle on yourself.”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Natasha Kelly.  If you’ll remember, Natasha is one of the co-founders of Sham of the Perfect.  She’s also a documentary family photographer from Melbourne, Australia, and a wife and mother of three children.

I wanted to share with you a small part of our recent talk.  When asked if she had any words of wisdom for other creative mothers, she had this to say:

“Let go of expectations. Don’t look at other artists & see what they are doing & how they’re doing it & feel like you must do it that way too. Be flexible, fit in what you can, when you can. It’s ok to put housework last & your creative work first. Be gentle on yourself.”

I think this is so important.  All of it.

  1.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  We are all guilty of it in probably every aspect of our lives.  Unfortunately, even our creative lives.  This should be the one place that we can be ourselves and not worry about that others are thinking or doing.
  2. Housework can wait.  Mine does.  I bet yours will too.
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself.  I think that’s why I love the Sham of the Perfect project so much.  It gives us a glimpse into someone else’s true life, not someone’s pinteresty, perfect, how she wants to be portrayed on social media life.  Real life.  Milk spilled on the kitchen counter.  Laundry piled up.  Kids unhappy.  Yep, this is how we live sometimes.

Thank you, Natasha, for the great interview and these wonderful words of wisdom.  And don’t forget to be gentle on yourself.


Kym Vitar says it’s okay to be selfish

In my recent interview with lifestyle photographer Kym Vitar, she addressed the issue of taking time for herself.  This is what she had to say:

Moms always feel like they are being selfish even if they lock the door to go to the bathroom! And that is not ok!! We need to nurture ourselves and our souls before we can truly be happy creatives! One thing I do is take at least one workshop a year. I haven’t done any out of state or over night ones yet, as I live near LA, there are quite a few that are always available in this area, but it is my time to put myself first and a way of honing my skills and always learning/ connecting with other creatives.”

She also goes on to say, “Also, it’s OK to be selfish and want to do something on your own. Let Daddy have a date day with the kids, and you can take that time to read or sew or paint or build or learn calligraphy. It’s just as important for YOU to take classes and learn new skills as it is your kids! We spend so much time pushing our kids into sports and school that it’s a neat and important for our kids to see us learn how to something new too! My philosophy is life is you are never too old to learn! And it makes such an impact on your kids to see you making yourself creatively happy!”

I could not agree with her more.  I whole-hearted believe that moms need to tend to themselves so that they can be the best for their families.  That’s way easier said than done.  It’s so easy to shove our wants, needs and desires to the back burner because someone (everyone) else wants/needs/desires something.  That’s just how it is for moms, but it shouldn’t be that way all the time.  Sure, part of that is just part of being a mom and a grown up.  Everyone has to put aside wants and wishes for the real world, but I encourage you to intentionally take some time just for yourself, hopefully, everyday.  In years past, I would go to pick my oldest up from school about 30 minutes early to just have that little bit of quiet time to read a book or magazine.  I looked forward to that time everyday, and that’s all I needed–just a little break in the middle of the day.

I believe that if you give and give and give and don’t purposefully take some time for yourself you will become resentful toward your family.  That’s obviously not what you want.  I mean this in the nicest way possible… that’s your fault.  Everyone gets 24 hours in the day.  Take control of it and carve out some time for yourself.  I also think that moms who don’t take the time that they need can become short-tempered with their children and/or husband.  Also, not good.  Take some time.  Just a few minutes everyday.

That reminds me of this post from Esther Anderson on “Story of this Life” Facebook page yesterday:

I’m currently upstairs folding a massive pile of laundry and I can hear Ellia downstairs with her daddy talking his ear off, “daddy, hey daddy, daddy look…”

I can honestly say that I’d rather be up here folding this laundry right now than down there 😁 Is that bad? Cause it’s the truth.

I think we’ve all been there.  🙂

Jenny Rusby offers advice to creative mothers

As you will remember, Jenny Rusby is a lifestyle, storytelling and documentary photographer based on the Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, Australia.  She is a wife and the mother of three children, ages 6, 4 and 18 months.

During my recent interview with her, I asked if she had any advice to offer to creative mothers.  This is what she had to say, “…to take 10 min everyday to do something creative for yourself.  Especially on those crazy hard and long days, those are the days that you’ll need it the most. It’s so easy to put ourselves as mothers last, and often it’s our creative passions that get left behind in the daily chaos. For me, photography is my sanity and leaving the dishes to pile up and taking 10 min out to pick up my camera and make an image, even a bad one, makes me feel alive again.”

I whole-heartedly agree with her.  So many times our creativity gets pushed aside while we are busy tending to everyone else’s needs.  We forget to take care of ourselves. I’ve seen that happen with my own creativity.  I kept pushing it aside until the ideas just don’t come anymore.  If I did get a random creative thought, I automatically thought, “Oh, I can’t do that now” or “I can’t take that on right now.  I can’t take time away from my family and kids.”

But, 10 minutes a day… that is doable.  That reminds me of what Austin Kleon says in “Show Your Work!”:  “Forget about decades, forget about years, and forget about months.  Focus on days.  The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around. Seasons change, weeks are completely human-made, but the day has a rhythm.  The sun goes up; the sun goes down.  I can handle that.”  We can all handle that.  Just a few minutes everyday will add up to quite a lot over time.

Today, I challenge you to take just 10 minutes to do something creative.  Take a photo with your iPhone, doodle on a scrap piece of paper, jot down a few words.  If nothing else, read for a few minutes or just sit and listen.  Listen to the locust outside your window or your kids arguing/playing downstairs or the television that’s on in the next room.  The ideas will eventually begin to flow.

Michelle McDaid addresses the concept of “balance”

Wise words from my interview with Michelle McDaid:

I 100% agree that there aren’t enough great examples of women pursuing creative work while juggling the roles of wife and mother too. In my own life, I try to avoid the concept of “balance” in general because to me that implies precariously balancing in the middle of a scale with SELF on one side and FAMILY on the other. It’s an impossible middle place of perfection to achieve. Instead I view life as a series of pendulum swings between the two and my job it to keep it swinging back and forth as freely as possible. In the long run, the clock still keeps time, right?

Such a great interview with her; she has such great insight.  Such an inspiration!  Thanks, Michelle!

Kym Vitar

Kym is a lifestyle photographer from Los Angeles, California.  She’s a regular contributor to Sham of the Perfect and has been featured on some of the industry’s leading family and wedding photography blogs.  According to Kym, she has four chickens, three children and two dogs.  I look forward to sharing with you how she manages all of that with a photography business too.  Stay tuned!

Jessica Uhler

This was taken from Jessica’s bio on the Sham of the Perfect website.

What are you drawn to document? Is there a particular composition, technique, or mood you love? 

When I became a mom and chose to stay home with my three young kids (now 4) I had a hard time making the transition from relative success in academia and the professional world to what felt like anonymity and invisibility. I really saw that what is traditionally women’s work, the life of the home, the shaping of a family, is absolutely invaluable, important and yet totally undervalued. I started using photography as a way to document for myself the moments that I was investing in which are so repetitive and mundane, but so beautiful and powerful as well. I think everyday family life, the details of our homes and how they reflect us is what inspires me the most.

Such a perfect description of how motherhood and creativity can flow together.  Looking forward to sharing more from Jessica with you soon!