This week I’ve been mulling over empty Ergos, watery brinks, and CPR. The photo challenge was to mull over your week and pick a fitting symbol to work into your self-portrait.
Here’s what you were symbolically and literally experiencing last week:
An invisible baby seems fitting for my symbol this week…
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All the trappings of low supply: beer, dom peridone, herbs, barley water, lactation cookies, figs and a supplemental nursing system filled with donor breastmilk! Not featured: supportive wife.
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This next one was shared with the simple caption, “One more to ponder.”
Indeed. Talk about a metaphorical playground. I keep thinking of these 3. Poised together at the watery edge.
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I’m a violin maker.
Oh, wait. Nope, I’m a mom.
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It’s all about time and timing for me–the watch, the clock, and two calendars are all symbols of how much I’m waiting for things out of my control right now.
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Baby got your tongue?
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Life with infant, days before returning to work. Both restful and stressful, precious and tedious. And then there’s that book I’m not reading, representative of the many little things I don’t do for myself as often now with babylove in our lives.
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Lester the photographer and mommy only slightly staged. I’ve been trying to teach my kids CPR…..chest compressions, look listen and feel. You know. Not because I actually think they’ll get it. But because I performed chest compressions at work last week on a dead patient who came back to life (from meds. Chest compressions only keep the brain oxygenated while we do other things to kick start the heart.) And it’s a fascinating, wondrous, horrible, and pride producing thing to do.
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There’s more where this came from on my Facebook page. Back burners, keeping heads above water, getting lost in the laundry…
It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good old-fashioned photo challenge around here.
Our inspiration this time is coming from a photo series I love, Mommy Asanas.
This is the one that really wholloped me right off the bat:
I love this woman. So strange and unapologetic with those damn shears.
And then there’s this one that tugs at my fraught relationship with the dishes.
And this. The mother of all baby wearers.
Since I’m such a fan of these, I invited Barbara, the photographic mastermind behind these photos, to help me craft a photo challenge based on this series. And here it is, in her words.
self-portraits – they can show their face or not, but I would try to go deeper here. journal for 1 week & find 1 symbol that serves as a metaphor for their feelings that week. include that symbol in the image somehow.
I love this idea. Take some time, journal or not, to find your symbol. I say that because I was initially overwhelmed by the journaling idea. I’m averse to any more to-dos. So I just sat here, and it came to me.
I’ve been wading eyeball deep through Jo/Cal aggression recently.
This morning, I knew I needed some listening time from a friends about last night, when I was all aglow over celebrating Jo’s 5th birthday. I went swiftly dead inside after watching Jo kick Cal for no apparent reason and then receiving 2 intentional blows on my face from Cal’s soft fist. I sulked off to the kitchen where I cleaned up and cried. This is not what I signed up for. I hate senseless kid aggression. I hate testosterone. I hate that this is part of my life. I worry that Jo is teaching Cal to hit and kick. And that my otherwise sweet little sweety is being morphed into another bad hitting boy. I want to surgically remove these routine kicks and smacks from my kids, leaving everything else intact. This is the part I know I don’t want. And yet it’s always here. Again and again and again.
So that’s my photo. And my diatribe.
Care to hop on the old Mommy Asana photo challenge bandwagon?
I hope so.
Not a mommy or a woman or someone who is good at taking pictures? Who cares?! Please share a photo if this challenge gets you going.
You can post your photos on my Facebook page or message the photo to me through Facebook if you’d like to share anonymously. And if you’re not all Facebook-y, just leave me a comment here, and I’ll be in touch over email so you can send ’em that way.
Sooner rather than later, I’ll post a photo gallery of our work here. And we can all sip wine and wear fancy clothes and discuss.
I’ll leave you with this parting shot for inspiration:
There is no more salient reminder that I am a mom at work than the pumping room.
I spend at least 20 minutes of my work days in one, meditating on the dulcet tones of my Pump In Style’s relentless motor. It’s a stark shift to the day. One moment, I’m sitting at my desk like any other 9-5er. Headphones cutting out ambient cubicle chatter. Fingers clicking away at the keyboard and mouse.
And then this: sitting on a discarded office chair, shirt hiked up to my neck, holding what amount to two suction cups up to my boobs so my nipples can be rhythmically sucked of milk. I do not feel remotely “In Style.”
I’ve taken to calling my sister while I pump, since she’s usually in her office eating lunch at the same time. I told her that she should check out her company’s pumping room, since if she ever decides to have kids, she’ll probably spend a lot of time in there.
“Oh, I’ve heard it’s pretty luxurious,” she said. She works at an investment firm. She hasn’t seen it, but has heard rumors of extremely plush chairs, footrests and amazing views.
I suddenly had a vision of thousands of pumping rooms, some extravagant, some threadbare. Re-purposed corner offices, closets, bathrooms.
So I offer this: a portrait of my pumping room.
Yes. That is an upturned-recycling-bin pump shelf.
So where are you pumping, back-to-work moms? I’m intrigued, and I don’t think I’m the only one. Thanks to the glorious world of social media, you can show us.
Rumor has it, if you take a picture of your pumping room and then share it on Instagram or, god forbid, Tweet it, then you can declare its identity as a pumping room portrait with ye olde hashtag #pumpingroomportrait. I can’t believe I’m recommending hashtagging. But I am. It’s for a good cause.
Whatever your particular social media leaning, go for it. And if you don’t want to share your portrait from any of your personal accounts, send me a message with your photo on my Honest Mom Facebook page and I’ll share it anonymously.
Let’s lift the veil on the nooks and crannies where we pumpers are spending our valuable time. I’ll share our photos in an upcoming post, so we can start forming the social commentary that will surely come from having a compendium of pumping room portraits.
This blog post originally appeared at Get Born. And if you haven’t checked it out, you should.
Well, fabulous readers, you definitely stepped up to my recent photographic challenge. Here are more regular, everyday, un-gussied-up moments from your lives. Thank you, thank you for sharing them.
Laura Turbow shared these next three photos. She’s an honest mom who happens to also be an awesome photographer.
If you’d like to see more revolutionary photos like these, here’s the first batch I posted. And if you’re inspired, I would be tickled pink if you’d share your photo with me and my fabulous readers at my facebook page.
I had to share a few of the great photos that you, dear readers, have been sharing on my Facebook page this week in response to my photographic challenge. The challenge, in short, was to take a picture of one of the not-so-perfect moments in your life–feeling bored in traffic, scrubbing dirty diapers late at night, celebrating the end of a big day in the midst of a messy living room. The only real constraint: you can’t clean it up all perfect and squeaky clean. No tidying beforehand or fixing hair or making things look any different than they just are.
Without further ado:
I have been overjoyed from the tips of my dirty toes to the top of my frizzy head by all of your photos. Thank you. Thank you.
p.s. I’ll keep collecting and posting these, so keep sharing away over on the old Facebook.
I’ve been thinking about this photo for a long time.
And this one too:
Both were part of this NYT article that a friend recommended after reading my first video blog post. I loved the article for the counterpoint it offered to the “Don’t you just love every minute?” comments that people kept flinging at me when I was out and about with my infant son.
I was so inspired by the photographs that I took one of my own.
It was such a relief to capture a moment simply as it was. It wasn’t begging to be captured, it didn’t show my son in all of his perfect, chubby glory. It didn’t make me look particularly competent or satisfied. I tried to show the moment how it was. From what I remember, I was tired. A little bit bored. And trying to pass the time.
Then last week my friend M sent me this blog post written by a mom of 2 who talks about all of the things you don’t see in the photos of her family life that she posts on Instagram. She tends not to post images of marital spats, colicky infants at 3 a.m. and the like. Of course she doesn’t post that stuff. Most of us don’t. After all, who would want to see that?
I would, for one. And I don’t think I’m alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t relish the idea of wading through a ton of photos of screaming children or exhausted parents in dimly lit bedrooms strewn with diapers. But something in me does tire, after a while, of seeing everyone’s perfect pictures of their lives with their children, and, for that matter, my own. The part of me that gets tired of all that perfection is the same part that wonders if everyone else’s life is just a little bit (or a lot) happier, tidier and more successful than mine. It’s the same part that breathes a huge sigh of relief when someone I know tells me about her depression or his failed marriage or her crippling jealousy. That part of me needs to connect with the realness in other people, the darker, messier reality that doesn’t make the cut for Facebook.
This ties into the reason I started blogging in the first place: I feel a responsibility to be honest about my actual, lived experience of parenthood, so that other parents and future parents might feel a little less alone and weird when they’re having a less-than-savory time. And this applies to any aspect of life, really, but I’ve found that our culture’s reverence for family life and unrealistic, filtered portrayals of it to be particularly isolating. The stories we hear and images we see of young families help us form our expectations of parenthood (that later come crashing down…or soar up, perhaps, but that wasn’t my experience) and drive the way we connect with other parents one we join the fold. They help to define what we talk with other people about and what we don’t. What we ask others about and what we think we shouldn’t.
And images, I think, are particularly powerful because they can sink in so quickly. Every one of us, if asked, can instantly bring a long string photos to mind when we think of the word parenthood. A mother lying in the grass, holding her smiling baby up into a perfectly blue sky. A father asleep, newborn baby curled up in his beefy arms. The latest, greatest photo-journalistic rendering of a family of four, wearing jeans, on a walk in a leaf-strewn park, laughing with each other. I like pictures like these. I have some. I want that photo-journalism one.
But I want the colicky infant too. And the sink full of dirty dishes. And the site of 2 frayed moms sitting on their couch, celebrating their son’s decent into a nap by watching crappy tv.
So, I’d like to invite you to take a picture in the next week when you normally wouldn’t take one. To capture a moment that isn’t perfect. See what it feels like to show it how it really is. Without checking your hair or wiping down the kitchen counter. Then, if you’re inspired, I’d be tickled pink if you would share your photo on my Facebook page. Maybe we can start a little photo revolution.
If you liked this post and are feeling bold and decisive, please subscribe. I’ve got more where this came from.