South London Photographer: Stress, being a ‘working’ mum at home during half term and learning “Art”

So, here I am feeling panicked.  I am waiting on one final image choice to come through from a recent corporate client so I can edit and order it by midday, ensuring they have it in time for a launch.  If it doesn’t happen in time they won’t have their products and I’ll feel like I’ve failed!  My children are only semi-dressed and I am feeling guilty that they are not outside enjoying the sunshine I know will probably be gone by the time we leave the house once the deadline for the corporate job has passed and I get on with the job of being a mummy on half-term.  The stress the children induce is nothing compared to this…. Oh, I must sound like an idiot.  None of this stuff is really stressful compared to being a doctor or a fireman or something like that.  Calm, Sarah-Jane!  For goodness, sake.  So what if things beyond my control go awry?  I’m certainly doing my best surrounded by screaming children who are trying to kill each-other because they need to be outside rather than indoors,  have had too much screen time and somehow found sweets squirrelled away somewhere so are all filled up with sugar to boot!   The last two years have seen me gradually go from a full-time mum, to a mum studying and eventually to a mum working and also trying to fit in some study time too.  The kids are patient with me sometimes.  Other times they are quite understandably furious and accuse me of loving photography more than them, which makes me feel horrible but when they are yelling at me and not being 100% appreciative of all that I do for them I find it hard to disagree.  At least photography doesn’t yell at me, tell me I’m awful, a rubbish mum and forget that I spend a good deal of my time picking up after it, washing its clothes and cooking food I’d rather not be eating for it.  But only sometimes… most of the time I know they are the best things in my life and I’m extremely lucky to have them.  Life is them and often, let’s face it, my photography is all about them in one way or another, whether it’s taking photos of them or trying to build a small business so that I can support them as I’d like (with the help of Mr. X of course!)

One of the most important aspects of photography is the art side of it.  I want my commercial photography to be influenced in a huge way by the art side of things, much of which I’ve picked up through the studying I’ve been doing.  But online college isn’t the only place I learn.  I am connected to a bunch of really interesting people on Flickr too and one of them, Michael Szpakowski, is involved in art education himself. However, he has some concerns about ‘teaching art’ and the subjective nature of it. He has instigated an online discussion and I think some of the statements he posits are really worth thinking about and I know he will welcome any points of view from other people – so if you have something to say or feel strongly about anything he says, do join in the conversation.  You can find the document here.   To be honest, I think much of what he suggests is worth considering whatever you’re teaching.

For me, art education is really working for now – but I tend to do my own little thing and use the structure of the course as a guide.  Learning about art is tricky and filled with all sorts of ups and downs but I wouldn’t be without it, although I’m sure the children would love it if I gave up any work, study, anything that wasn’t to do with them in their eyes and just ran around wiping up after them forever.  Maybe I’m being unfair -perhaps they just want to me speak to them now and again…

So, the midday mark has arrived and guess what?  I got the images in just in time – with 3 minutes to spare. My computer stopped working and my wifi crashed.  But somehow I sorted it out in time although of course we’ll have to wait and see it everything arrives on time… Eeeeek!! Work, art, family – it’s a nightmare sometimes.  But of course, that’s all to do with me not being a little more Zen… Ah well, that’s me!  It all works itself out in the end. I’m certainly not the only mum with young children trying to do several things at once.  We all are one way or another.

Enjoy the rest of half term.  I’m off to have lunch with my boys and grab a large glass of white wine with it too.

Image (c)sarahjanefield 2015

Image used in an assignment for my studies where I’ am learning about the ‘art’ of photography. Can you learn ‘art’? People often question my desire to study and my children may be happier if I weren’t studying as well as trying to build a little business. Is what I’m doing a waste of time or is it worth delving into photography and my own abilities to explore, develop and grow into an artist? Get involved with the discussion by visiting the link in the body of this blog post.