Hello, friends! I’m giving myself a mini-break from blogging for the rest of this week to work on my motherhood & creativity project. I’m aiming to have it ready by June, but I need to start writing it first! Today I am so excited to have my friend Tamara from Tamara (Like) Camera here to share a beautiful post that is appropriately about the very topic of the project on which I’m working. (There’s also a chance that as you’re reading this we’ll likely be hanging out in person!) If you don’t know Tamara, you need to go check out her blog right now. She is both an amazingly gifted writer and photographer and her blog is full of gorgeous photos of her family and thoughtful, poetic words. I am incredibly honored that she agreed to share her work with you today.
My mom doesn’t like coloring books. She thinks that they are only acceptable if you color outside the lines, on purpose, or even better – you draw the outlines of your own drawings – and then fill them with color.
Before I was born, my mom was an art teacher in the public schools. After she gave birth to my sister and then me, she had the foresight and inspiration to start an art school right out of her home. When we moved in with my dad and new siblings after she got re-married, my dad helped her create an even bigger art school in our new house. The business was and still is called Art Magic, and its existence is the only life I’ve ever known.
We had art birthday parties. We had handmade cards for every birthday, and handmade valentines every February. My mom made my signboard and decorations for my tropical-themed Bat Mitzvah party. She makes us clay baby gifts, as well as Christmas ornaments to hang on our tree every year. My mom does everything with creativity on the brain, and I mean everything. She is a very unique artist, and my walls have always been filled with her amazing shadow boxes, or dioramas. My sister inherited her drawing skills, and my grandfather was a very prolific artist.
With me, it didn’t come as easily or as obviously, until much later in life.
I have always been a writer. I’ve always been interested in photography. My mom encouraged both of these skills with giving me cameras to work with, and in showing me her own photography. She believed in my stories and encouraged me to write them down. I think I have been expressive since birth, but the environment I grew up in has certainly helped shape me into the artist I can finally admit I am – and have always been.
My parenting is different than my mother’s parenting, of course, but I love to watch the way the creativity is so instinctual, because I know no other way of parenting my children.
There’s the game in which I play movie scores on my Pandora stations, and my five-year-old daughter, Scarlet, guesses the composer or movie.
There’s the activity in which she starts a story or a picture, and then I add to it, and then she adds to that, and so on.
There are the times she wants to take pictures the way I do, and instead of just handing her my camera, I start to explain about light and exposure. I don’t talk a lot about composition, because it’s much more fun to see what she will do, like she did in this below photo.
My husband Cassidy was an art and design major, and creativity is pretty much in every part of him. It’s in the foods he makes, the recipe creations he invites our kids to help with, and the castles he constructs out of cardboard boxes. It’s in his homemade Halloween costumes.
Sometimes, I think of him as more creative than I him, but it is more that he is confident where I am not. Together, we are a creative life force and even when we separate our skills, the kids are still getting the whole story. They are still getting two sides of the coin.
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Even when you think you can’t, you can. My mom always taught me that. It might just be that you’re not interested, and it’s time to try something else after giving it your best shot. You can always come back to it. These are the things I have learned and these are the things I teach. Even when I think I’m not doing it, I am. I am still learning creativity the way I was taught, and I’m still teaching it even when I think I’m not.
That is the gift we give our children, and the gift they take with them.
Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com
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