Indian born photographer
Welcome. This week my guest is Shweta Bist, a photographer currently based in New York City, USA, and a mother of 2 girls.
Shweta was born in New Dehli in India. Both her parents were artistic but put it aside to work. Shweta painted a lot, drew, sang, was in the theatre, acted and danced. Art was an outlet for her even as a child, spending time doing oil canvasses . Art was a way for her to find solace and process things that weren't going right for her as a teenager.
In 2007 Shweta moved to Dubai with her husband and lived there until 2013 when she moved to New York with her young family. It was during this time of being a new mother that her interest and enjoyment from photography came to light.
As her experiences with photography developed, Shweta found that the pictures became more art-like, and began to reflect her inner thoughts and feelings, more so than doing work for others.
While drawing attention to her maternal identity and the intimate relationship she shares with her daughters, Shweta stages conceptual photographs to draw attention to the emotional labour of mothering, highlighting maternal love and the reciprocity of mothering between mother and child. Her endeavour is to create images that urge the viewer to contemplate the complexities of the maternal experience in its ambivalent entirety, and to contribute to a narrative about the lives of women and their children, told from their perspectives.
**This episode contains discussions around anxiety and depression**
The COVID Family Portrait ©️2021 Shweta Bist
Motherhouse ©️2021 Shweta Bist
Caught in Single Use - from the Plastic Series ©️2021 Shweta Bist
Shwetas article in The Lockdown Mothers
Connect with Shweta
Connect with the podcast
Music heard today is from Australian new age trio Alemjo, and is used with permission.
When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.
Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast
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Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.
My guest today is Shweta Bist. Shweta is a photographer, currently based in New York City in the United States, and a mother of two girls. Shweta was born in New Delhi in India. Both her parents were tested, but put it aside to work. Shredder painted a lot drew sang and was in the theater. She acted and danced. Art was an outlet for her even as a child spending time doing oil canvases. Art was a way for her to find solace and to process things that weren't going right for her as a teenager.
In 2007, Shweta moved to Dubai with her husband and live there until 2013 when she moved to New York City with a young family. It was during this time of being a new mother that her interest and enjoyment from photography came to light as her experiences with photography developed. She later found that the pictures became more art like and began to reflect her inner thoughts and feelings more so than doing work for others. While drawing attention to her maternal identity, and the intimate relationships she shares with her daughters Schwitters stages conceptual photographs to draw attention to the emotional labor of mothering, highlighting maternal love, and the reciprocity of mothering between mother and child. Her endeavor is to create images that urge the viewer to contemplate the complexities of the maternal experience in its ambivalent entirety and to contribute to a narrative about the lives of women and their children told from their perspective.
So whereabouts are you from originally? So I'm from? I'm from New Delhi. I'm from India. And yeah, I was born in in New Delhi. And I lived there for for most of my life really? Up until now. Yeah. Yeah, I left after I got married two years after I got married to my husband. We first moved to Dubai, from Delhi. And then after that, we moved to New York. From Dubai. Yeah, in 2013. So yeah, right. And I left home in 2007. So it's been a while yeah.
A company that managed were basically a manufacturer of garments and protective wear for corporate clothing and industrial clothing. And I only had time on the weekends, and I loved taking the camera everywhere I went. And gradually over a period of time, I'd developed much love for it. And you know, when you have children, you know how moms are, and we're always taking pictures of our kids. And that happened with when my first one was born. And even then I didn't think I do this for a living. But, you know, we moved to New York, and after the second one was born, about eight weeks after she was born, we moved here, and I was home with the kids, and, you know, of course, snapping away. And I think somewhere after a year, I kind of thought, you know, I love this, I should, I shouldn't do this for a living. So, but I never really, you know, you know, when the kids were little it was I didn't, it was hard for me to kind of pull myself out of where I had gotten, you know, as a stay at home mom. And I was really very focused on building a life for them and a community for us, because we didn't know many people when we moved here. And so when the little one started going to kindergarten, that's when I, that's when I went back to school a little bit, I went, I took evening lessons at the School of Visual Arts. And, and I started taking pictures for small sums of money, you know, just working freelance, like, family photographs, shooting events, performances. And, but, but I wanted to do something else is what I realized, while doing all this, I was thinking I needed to make art. And because I had so much to talk about, I felt you know, about what I had experienced about being a mother. And it just became important for me to reach out to other women, perhaps, who are going through what I was, in a sense.
And for me, it became became mostly therapy. And what I do is I staged conceptual photographs that are that talk about my experience of mothering and my experience as a woman and a mother. Really, basically, that's what it is. And so my work basically evolved over a period of time where it came from a place of necessity, to process what I was going through. And also because I was interested in making art, rather than just doing freelance paid paid work, yeah. Yeah, something like meaningful and then something, I guess that would satisfy what what you needed to get out of it. Like you said, you needed to make art you needed to, you know, communicate to others and share your thoughts, I suppose. Yes, yes. And I think, Well, I think of myself as a thinker, and an image maker, I, I've always thought a lot.
Since I was little, my mother was like, You think too much and everybody was mad? Almost You think too much. I'm like, in the beginning, I used to think that something's wrong with me. But, you know, now I've come to a point that I'm like, I'm so old. No, I don't think this is going away. This condition is not going away, I should do something about it. So um, so you know, I, I harness all of that now, you know, because you must, I guess some of us such as thinkers, and it's important for me to make pictures to visualize my interiority. I think that's, that's what I'm doing really. And taking pictures is it's meditative for me. I use it as therapy. Like one might experience flow when you swim, or you run and some people meditate. For me, this is meditation.
And in that moment, I connect with the world in this uncanny way. That I'm so aware of the present, you know, in that one moment where the future doesn't exist, and the past doesn't exist, either, really, in a sense, because everything I've known up until that point, is already influencing how I'm thinking and feeling in that moment. And so therefore, it's just that one moment for me at that point and what I do with it, so I just find photography, a very meditative exercise, and I engage in it to shut everything else down.
The noise, if that makes any sense? Yeah, no, it does. And I think in the beginning, when I, when I started, it was take pictures of what was in front of me waiting for a circumstance to emerge, you know, the wait, wow can be endless. And, but I think now what I do is because I want to use this as a tool to convey how I feel, and I think, so I construct images, instead of waiting for the image to happen, I, I construct them.
So you use your daughter's a lot in your work, it's a wonderful connection between your art and your children. And I guess it's sort of makes sense because of what you're trying to convey. Can you share a little bit more about that? Yes.
I think that when I started taking pictures of the girls in the setups in the state in the the stage photographs with the children, it was at the start of the COVID pandemic. And, you know, we were home and the kids were wanting to be busy. And I thought, well, instead of the iPad, why don't we just why don't we take pictures together. And they were quite excited about the idea. And, you know, they still like doing it with me, although now kind of waning from it, you know, the excitement is dying down. But how it started was that basically, and, and over the course of taking pictures with them, what I realized was that when I was sitting with the work, after that, post, the fact I realized that I've been living through them, in a sense, reliving my past, and reliving my childhood, you know, as we do as mothers, I write Allison, like, when you're raising your kids, and you're thinking back, like, how was I when I was how I was, you know, how was I raised and I think all of those questions are raised. And, and I think slowly, I was kind of trying to express that through my work with them.
And for me, it became essential than to, to, for them to, for me to give to allow them to have a different experience than what I did in the sense not that I had that my parents had anything to do with the poor experience, but just the fact that I had when I was a little girl, I was in Delhi and you know, life is hard there for girls and I think a lot of people are aware of that. And I wanted them to grow up feeling strong about who they were as, as who they are as girls and you know, and I think therefore, for me now it seems that we take pictures together and I take pictures with them for a sense to role model how you know, that they should feel empowered and feeling in being girls and also to because I talk about motherhood and I talk about how how I feel I think it's essential for them to see that it's okay to talk about the hardships of of being a mother and not pretending that all the time that it's all fun and games and that I'm happy all the time. I think it's the role modeling aspect for me is important because I want to raise empowered girls.
So when you were growing up in India, you sort of touched on the way that the guilt life for girls is hard. But you've also talked about being a deep thinker, that and your need to express and to I guess work through things you know, you've talked about your your art being a therapy. Did you have any sort of outlet or any sort of creative things that you were doing as you grew up? Or was that not even an option because you were a girl growing up in India.
You know, I was very creative actually, when I was young, I actually think most kids are but especially in my house, I think because my father and my mother both were quite creative themselves. But I think they didn't have the opportunities, you know, they had to make a living and, and also for girls, and anyone in general, I think pursuing a career in art is not something that is considered as a career choice. In India at that time, it wasn't I think, now there's one liberal arts school in, in north India, the first one of its kind. So, um, but I did have a lot of artistic pursuits when I was younger I was I painted a lot. I also sang I was, I was in theater. And, you know, I used to act and I had to Hindustani classical voice lessons. So I had a very my extracurriculars, were all creative. There was I really didn't, I was no sports, nothing. It was all creative work. So I loved it. And I think that, even then, for me, art was an outlet I used to make, I remember these massive oil paintings, which I hated eventually, and I would paint all over them. Again, like my canvases. I call my mother the other day, I said, Do you still have any of my canvases, she's like, which ones. But because I was so such a perfectionist, I would paint and then I was like, Oh, this is rotten. And then I would go paint over them again.
But I remember feeling like an oddball. Always because I was such a thinker. And remember, I said, I was told I was thinking too much. So I would spend time by myself a lot. And I would paint and I would listen to music and, and draw, and I think I would just spend time with myself a lot. Yeah, so it was it was a way for me to find solace. And, and process things that weren't going right with me as as a teenager or as a as a young girl. Yeah, yeah.
Coming back to your photography, I'm really fascinated by some of the work that you've done, I've been having a look on your Instagram account. And I just want to go through a few of the, I guess the titles in and the projects that you've done. There's one that you did, called the COVID family portrait, which I thought was really, really cool. Tell us about that?
Well, you know, I mean, do I, what happened to all the mothers during COVID, it was just, and when I say mothers, I don't want to limit it to just women who are taking care of like, I opening it up to anybody who cares for other people, you know, and I just feel like we were all exhausted. And I remember in the beginning, it was, it seemed like a we're on a holiday.It didn't last too long. And very quickly, I realized that this is not looking good, because we had groceries coming into the house. And I remember there was a scare about it spreading from surface since and my husband and I were like washing bags of stuff. And it was just really so really so frightening. And so there was a lot of work and we all know that and I was exhausted, but then I was so angry too. And in the middle, we started we started the project, I think in some in the summer, the one with the girls, and and then I was like wait a second, but I feel so angry. And I didn't I don't think I got to express that frustration until later. When I was like okay, I think I should make a picture about this. And, um, and so but I had to wait to be less upset, I think because in the moment, it would have been I wanted to I wanted it to be just something whimsical because I guess when I make work I also think about it Being somewhat beautiful for me like it has to it has to communicate something essential. But it also, for me, I feel like I needed to be beautiful. I mean, and whatever my concept of beauty is, is what I'm obviously going out here. And so it took me a while to mull this one over. It's like, how should I shoot this one? And I love pink. And it was springtime, when I shot that one. So, you know, then it became a no brainer, fatigued, mom, kids on their devices and father on the phone all day. So that was that. Yeah, so that was a, you know, an interesting one. And I think a lot of people related to it. It resonated with a lot of families. Yeah, so interesting. Shooting that one with everybody. They were laughing my whole family, they were like, are we really doing this? I said, Yeah, isn't this the truth, though? Then the kids looked at me. And they had a nice laugh. And my husband's like, I do not, do not circulate this. If my colleagues see this stuff. I'm like, relax. It's only the truth. You're not You're not showing anything? That's not, you know, real.
Yeah, but just on on that, when you said about how you're really angry, and then you sort of waited before you did the shoot? Did you have any sort of idea in your head? How that might have looked if you had a shot at when you were angry?
I think the reason, there's two reasons why I think I don't, I don't make work when I'm extremely. When I'm when I'm in that emotion. I think the one reason is that my thinking brain doesn't work quite well. It's a very basic and a very standard, like a really technical reason is that when I'm really emotional, I'm not able to focus very well, if that makes any sense. I wouldn't be able to make it fun for the family is the second reason because I think when I'm taking pictures with the kids, I need them to know that even though that this is something that is difficult, difficult emotion or a difficult message, that we're going to do it in a way that's light and acceptable for the children, because I don't want them walking away feeling that they did something that was upsetting to them. Yeah.
And I'm actually overall quite conscious about that when I work with them, because I want them to have good feelings. And I'd be agreeable about the work we make together the work they make with me.
Because they're old enough to have that conversation with me. You know, it's not like they're there. You know, when we started, they were I think they were seven and 10. So, so they were old enough to understand what was going on. And so it's always been important to me that they that they're okay with what I'm sorry, that's such a long winded reply to me, no, this is perfect. This is where I'm trying to go with it. I think that you don't just use your children as a prop, you don't just put them there and say, look like this, you're actually explaining to them what the message you're trying to convey so they can understand their part of what you're creating, I suppose. Yes, yes, absolutely. when they were younger, of course, and I was taking pictures of them playing on the beach or doing something like that. It was different, you know, and but I've always been quite conscious about their agency, you know, I want them to have that agency. And I think it's because when I was young, I didn't and I feel also that if I want them to be people who express themselves and ask for what they want, then they then I have to, I have to start giving them that authority in their lives. Yeah, that's so important, isn't it? Yeah.
Well, this was, you know, Well, initially, this was a part of community where, you know, my daughters and I made over the pandemic, massive, it was a very big series. And then I think later, I thought about the little bits that we did talking about plastic pollution with a an eye that I did, specifically, specifically, just with the little one. And I saw I pulled it out as another set. But, um, in that we, the little one was had assignment from school, she was very interested in the pollution of our oceans. And she became very upset when she watched the video on the, you know, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Yes, yeah. And she couldn't believe it. She was she was beside herself. She is also she's between my two children. I think she's also quite, she feels a lot more she's kind of like, she's kind of, you know, how can I describe, she feels the pain of everybody that lives. And so when she read that, and she learned about all the, the sea animals than the sea life that was being harmed, she was upset. And I think it gave me an opportunity to go in there and, and talk about that a little bit more. And we talked about things like using straws. And using plastic bags, and plastic water bottles. And I said, Listen, you know, I think that we, we can agree that we should refuse the straw when you go to the restaurants and they seem to agree. Yeah. So I think I just use that as a moment for them to educate them and to, to solidify what they learned and, and specifically with a little one, she and I thought let's make pictures with it. Because that's what, that's what I do.
Let's make pictures. No brainer. So So I think with the series, we were just trying to communicate how you know, this how a sea creature or a sea animal or a turtle or a you know, a pelican might feel or a seagull might feel when they ingest plastic or and how enlightening the suffocation of the planet to the suffocation of this little girl, my daughter who's in who's in the series. So kind of drawing attention to that subject. And having my daughter who is seven to present the subject to kind of to convey the the the need for people to consider this being you know, a significant issue that our world faces today. Yeah yeah.
Yes. Yes, it is. It's absolutely that because I'm I mean, I'm you know, in my case, I don't you know, might be different for but I think mostly it is. It was like that. My mother didn't we didn't ever talk about it. My mother never talked to me about how it was. And I remember I had my my first my daughter and I came back home. Obviously I thought now I know how to feed my child. Because the nurse showed me how to do this. I can do this. And I came home and that night I remember I was sitting on the edge of the bed Then I was sobbing because I had no idea how to breastfeed my child. And I was like, Oh, I have no milk, I have no milk. And I remember sobbing, because I thought, I'm not lactating. And,
she looked at me, she says, You have, she just comforted me, and she just sent me back home, give me a big hug and said, you fine, everything's fine. Go back home. But I guess what I was trying to say was that that was the first time I ever felt guilt. I was like, I'm a horrible mother. I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to have milk, which is like, so stupid. Why would I know how to have milk? Why would I? Why would I know this stuff? Like, yeah, oh, no, no, I'm supposed to know it. Because like, this is natural. No, it's not. I don't, you know, so I. Yeah, I think that I'm not even. .. In fact, I'm gonna say this. I don't, I don't think that I ever thought about who I was before I realized didn't know who I was. You know, I mean, it was. And I think the loss happened over a period of time. I remember I quit work when the older daughter was born when our oldest daughter was born. Because I didn't have adequate maternity leave. And I couldn't imagine leaving her in like 40 days and going back to work. So my husband could support us. And I said, Okay, you know, I'm just going to this was in Dubai, and I said, Okay, I'm just gonna stay home. And I was really excited to be a mother, actually, I was really looking forward to it. I always wanted to be a mom. And so this was very exciting time for me. But, you know, over a period of time into the birth of the second girl, I, I started realizing how much I was losing control over elements of my life.
Does that make any sense? But my, my little girl was about one and a half, I think it was 2014 some time. And I started to realize that I was so fragmented. I didn't know who I was. Like, who am I, I was always so invested in everyone else's life. And I think we were out to a friend's house. And we were, you know, talking and my friends and my husband, they were engaged in this very riveting conversation about something current, which I was not current with. And I was trying to follow through desperately, the conversation and my kids came over. And as always, you know how they come to you when they my older daughter, and she started, you know, I need to go to the bathroom, I need to go to the bathroom. And so I took her. And when I came back, I was totally lost. And I realized that, in that one moment, it hit me when I realized and probably, you know, you'd wonder why. But I think I'd been feeling it for a while feeling like, I don't fit in feeling like I don't understand what's going on. And I think in that one moment, I was like, Alright, that's it. I need to do something about this. Yeah, I can't, I can't live like a normal like, I don't who am I? I need to find myself again. I think that's what happened. Yeah. And you weren't going to perhaps let the fact that you were a Mum, stop you from that, like in that that actual physical act of your child needing you and removing you from a conversation was sort of an analogy of you've been removed from the world because you are a mother. And if I don't put words in your mouth, but that's how I guess I'm hearing. It's like, that's a really powerful thing to connect and go. Ah, not not liking this. This is going to change. Yeah, yes, yes, absolutely. I think you phrase that very well. And I think I think what happened was that
it was a crisis. Really, when I think back at that time, I didn't think I really had to. Even now, like every day that passes, I, I see it better. I yeah, I see I see myself better now than I did then. And I was lost, and I was very unhappy. And only I knew that. And I was I felt guilty that I had everything that I needed. I had a I had healthy children, you know how it is like you have a you have a happy family in a sense and and saying why do I still feel so empty? And and you know, I said, I'm a thinker. So what do I like what's going on? My children are flourishing and I was diminishing that It was something wrong there. And I think I had to acknowledge that. And, and, and I knew, and I knew that it was because I, since I was about 16, I had been working part time. And I think that being dependent, and being and being on, and, you know, kind of losing myself was very hard for me to. And yeah, so I decided that I'm going to take pictures for a living, but I had to wait a bit, I had to wait for the little one to, you know, get to a point where I can kind of pull myself out, it takes time, once you decide, but then by the time you get to it, you know, that you made that decision. And that's, that's the most important step, I think. Because without that, you nothing else come. So, you know, you've got an in your head that this is where I'm going to be this is what's going to happen, and you can make it happen slowly, you know, over a period of time. And, you know, physical barriers, you know, you still have to actually, you know, you've got a child here, you you can't just go off if you sort yourself out while I go do this, you know, physically, you know, limitations that life gives you, but you made it happen. You did it. And that's just tremendous. Just love that. Yeah, yeah, I think that it's, I think I think eventually in life, as you said, it's just essential that we all try, you know, trying is all that is needed. And I think no matter how hard it is to balance your professional life or whatever, your whatever, something for yourself with being a mother, because that's not just who we are. We're so much more than that. And I think that it's very important, even if we have to, even if it takes time, like you said, no matter how long it takes, and we may not get there. But I think as I'm saying this, you know, it might sound crazy, and I mean it get there like, but I think the trying is what is most essential. Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah that's.
I find it so fascinating that there can be such liberated women that have been raised by women that maybe weren't like that. It's like, you must have got a sense of it from something, you know what I mean? Like, where did that come from? And yeah, yeah, and I just find it. So think that it's very interesting. And I think and I think about that, because I kind of all my role models were women who, who have, you know, mothered in a patriarchal world. And I also mother like that for for many years. I guess the time that I realized I needed to make a change, quite frankly, was when I when I got introduced to I don't know if you know about her birth name is Andrea O'Reilly. She's, she's written. She teaches motherhood studies. In Canada in I think it's York University. Don't quote me on it. But um, she she's written a book about theory and practice of Metro centric feminism. And probably taking this totally off tangent. Oh, no, but I guess what I was trying to say was that I think that when, you know, when I was making work about mothering and motherhood, I became introduced, I got introduced to a whole bunch of, of my other artists who, you know, who I met, just because I, you know, spoke at a conference, I think in 2021. Oh, yeah. Last year. Yeah. And and I gradually learned about these. I mean, I was making look about put the mother first you know, like, let's talk about what it really looks like without knowing that. There are so many people out there who do the same thing. Of course, you there are others. photographers as well, who've done it, who you know whose work I was aware of. But that is a movement now and that more and more we're talking about this, and how important this identity is, and how important it is to kind of live the life that you want your children to have. And I think reading reading the books that have read now, and reading the, you know, opinions of, I think there have been some psychologists who have talked about this, that you have to model the behavior that you expect, and it's not enough to, like I was telling my kids all the time, should never compromise, you should never do this, you know, but it's all just talk unless you actually live it. So I think then it became really important for me to have a life and a career and pursue something that I love to do, notwithstanding my circumstances, and, you know, trying really hard to make way for myself and speak my mind. And yeah, so I guess that's how, I guess we all we all. And also, I think it's when I stepped away from where I was the environment in which I was, which was, you know, India, or, you know, the family that I was surrounded by, that I could actually see it objectively from a distance. And I think that kind of then helps, then it helped me kind of put things into perspective being the distance helped. And yeah, yeah, that from a different angle from a long way away, yes yeah.
Alison : I had a sort of similar situation to some degree, when, when my first son was born, and I'd worked full time since I was, I left school, and I actually got a job before I left school. So I basically just went into work, and I'd worked full time till I was 20. He's 29 When I had my first child, so that's a long time. And I was very independent, I was raised. You know, I had a lot of strong, independent women around me that always said, make sure you have your own money, you know, this, that and the other. Even my husband and I, to this day, we still do our own washing, you know, we don't I don't iron his clothes, because I don't know how to because he can do it better than me. You know, we're very, we've got a weird setup, but, but when I actually had my child, and I was sitting at home on the floor one day playing with him. And I had this realization that this is my life now. Like, there is nothing else for me to go and do. I was thinking I've got to what do I need to do? I had this sense in me like, What have I got to do? There was like, you don't have to do this is you now this is this is your life. Now I just sort of sat there and just thought, Oh, God, like I had this. It just made me feel so almost defeated. Like, I'm not independent anymore. You know, I've got this little person to look after who I loved, you know, obviously, but I just thought, oh, wow, this is me now. And I felt really defeated. It was just a really feeling like, Yeah, this is you now like, yeah, and that's horrible to say it out loud. But yeah. And so then I had to make myself find things that would be a part of my life now that would make me feel uplifted and give me the feelings that I had, you know, being an independent woman and going to work. How else could I get those feelings that I wanted to feel? And like and same thing over time? You know, over time?
Shweta: Yeah. I mean, I think it's really important to talk about that. And I'm so glad that you mentioned that. And I don't think that it's horrible at all. Like I just I feel like it's so real. Because you're someone right and then overnight, you're not that person anymore. Yeah, it's pretty. It's huge. And it isn't like it's just so why doesn't anybody talk like, why don't we talk about this? It's such a significant thing the mental Oh, no transition. It's so significant. And there's no conversation about it. And I remember like talking to my mom, like, why wouldn't you ever tell me? And she said, Well, there's no, there was nothing to tell you. I'm like 50% of the population go through it. She looked at me. I said, that does not make it any less significant. Hmm. You know, that's the thing that I don't I'm like, Just because people just add weight that 50% is women. If it was men. My elbow hurts. I'm like, just you know. I thought kids out, buddy. You don't get to talk about your elbow. Yeah. Yeah. Like CSC is like, if those 50% were men, it would be a diff. This would be a different. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we would be having like, classes for these things. Like, many are about to pop babies out. Come and roll yourself. Yeah. You. This is how you're going to feel lessons. Yes, yeah. Oh, boy. Oh, you're spot on that you spot on? And I think, yeah, like, you're a little bit crazy there. Oh, no, oh, my god, grab this opportunity to make fun do it.
You know, and it just sounds like I'm not a man hater. I love him. You know, it's, it's just that it's just that I feel that it's high time we just, we were, you know, talking about these things and not, and moms and I want to mention this, this. I was reading a book, I think it's this Andrea Riley's book where she takes a little excerpt from Susan Maushart. yeah, who talks about the mask of motherhood, basically, Mask of Motherhood. And it's basically is not just a mask, it's not just a facade of what, you know, a facade that which we hide behind, you know, telling ourselves that everything is perfect, and everything is beautiful. And not only are people around us responsible for that, but it's also us that we have to take ownership for, for putting on that mask for letting it propagate. So I think that it's essential for us to be more honest about how we feel and, and talk about it. And, and it's okay, because we love our kids. You know, it's, we love them. We I mean, if if, if there was a bison coming at us, we would we would be the ones under the bus, not the kids like we would give our lives for our kids. But the ambivalence, you know, there is ambivalence, and it's important to talk about that. And it's human to talk about that. Yeah, yeah. I think the way I sort of make sense of it, like you were saying before, it's meant to come naturally, you know, you're meant to know how to breastfeed you meant to know how to feel you're meant to know what to do. And because I think there's that, that what's the word, expectation that you're meant to know what to do? So everybody just goes up? She's got a baby now, she'll be fine. Because she isn't, she'll know what to do. You know, it's just, that's what I think sets everything up for, for all this, these feelings. Because then when we don't know what to do, you know, we get that guilt we get, we feel like we failed.
Alison: You know, I felt like, like I had trouble breastfeeding my first child. Turns out, it's because he was so sleepy. He just wouldn't wake up to be fed. He was ridiculous. And then all of a sudden that six weeks he woke up and we were fine. But in that time, when it was a struggle, I felt like an absolute failure because like, I'm the Mum, I'm the one who's meant to feed this child. And why isn't it happening? It must be my fault. You know? It couldn't be anybody else's fault. It was my fault. You know, this is what we put on ourselves because we're conditioned to think that we were meant to know what to do and it's all natural and normal. And, you know, we've got to Change
You're listening to the art of being a mum with my mom, Alison Newman
Shweta: I don't know if I'm raising you up to this, but I thought this was a great time to talk about mom guilt. Oh, yes. I just, you know, and I could write a book on this. Because also, like, it's such an awful emotion guilt in itself is such an awful emotion. And, and I'm saying this, you know, off the heels of what you just said, guilt is a socially enforced emotion. And it's, we're raised to experience guilt as a marker that will guide us towards more socially acceptable behaviors. Yeah, all humans feel it. But but because those who mother feel responsible for a huge variety of things. Right, it opens up more avenues for us to experience guilt in our lives as carers. Yeah, absolutely. It's like just so much more that we do and taking care of other people's lives. And, but, but the truth is that the practice of of mothering responds to circumstances in which we raise our children. You know, like, if you're a mother in India, you're different than a mother in the US. Or if you're a mother in the UK, you might be different than somebody who's raising their children in a tribe in Africa, like, or Japan like, I think that motherhood is a socially constructed. Institution. It's a patriarch, I mean, I think it's Adrienne Rich, who, who distinguishes the institution of motherhood, from the practice of mothering. And the fact that mothering is in response to circumstance and to the needs of the place where you're raising your child. And it is, and the institution of motherhood is influenced by the expectations loaded onto us by society, by cultural representations of what mothers should look like, like, oh, you know, you should know how to breastfeed really? No, I don't. Or you know, like, things like that, and, or, like, you know, mothers are supposed to, I don't know, making this up, stay home with the kids not go to work. And but in places where neoliberalism is all the rage, mothers are supposed to go to work and take care of their kids and take care of their husbands and have beautiful, shiny homes, and do all of it all, like, How can you even possibly do it all and feel like and feel like a success? Like something's got to give, you know, like, you're going to understand the problem with this is that no matter how you look at it, because of all of these expectations that we're trying to live up to, we will never feel like successes. You know, it's like we're in a sense, we're set up to fail. Yes, we think, yeah, no, I agree with that. It's interesting. You're talking about?
It just reminded me of it. I had a guest on probably, I think it was episode three or four. Her name is Rachel power. And she's written. You know her! I loved that. It did. Oh, yeah, please. Yeah. Yeah. I love that one. Yeah. And she was her book, The divided heart art and motherhood for anyone that's interested. It really goes deep into this. And she the way she described the, you know, the feminists have had sort of led the way for us and told us that we could have it all we could have a job, we could do this, we could do that. Yeah. But then the moment you become a mother, you know, what happens that all of it just disappears. And then you're left questioning yourself, like, I thought I could, I thought I could do this, but now society is going actually no, you can't like, you know, it's really challenging to lose, we lose all the gains of feminism when we become mothers. And, and, and, you know, Andrea O'Rilley talks about this in her book, and she talks about how mothers need their own feminism. We need our own because we have different needs. You know, yeah, women have mothers and mothers have their needs and mothers and mothers including anyone, em slash mothers, mothers, you know, like anybody mother and other who's taking care of, you know, because now there's different ways of being of being a mother and doing the job of mothering. Yeah, but I think, you know, absolutely. Spot on there. You know, that there is no gain when it comes to us and we need we need a feminism of our own innocence. Hmm. So Andrea O'Reilly I'm going to look her up because she sounds like someone that I want to talk to. Goddess. Goddess in the flesh. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think oh my god, it would be quite smashing. If you'd If you can, if you can have her because I mean, I, I just I think there's so much of what I read that opened me up when I read her books. And I think it's it's what I've drawn from what I've drawn from it really is that we have to really be open to talking about this and asking for what we need. And I don't know how far you can go to exert political influence, because at the moment, you know, as far as where I live in America in in, you know, the US, we don't even have universal maternity leave. It's it's absolutely bizarre to me that look, this country does not have. Yeah, it's yeah, it's really, I mean, I remember being here and coming here and thinking, I really honestly think if I was somewhere else, my experience would have been different. And what I realized over here was that women mothers were doing so much, so much, so much. And overwhelmed. And the ones who were home with the kids like me, when I was a stay at home mother for a very long time, I still think I am one, I don't think that's ever going to, you know, my kids are my central focus. But, uh, you know, I, you know, when I went, and those women were so isolated. And yes, you might come out and meet other moms in your coffee chat groups and things like that. But it's, there was no real, like exchange of conversation where you could say that, what do we really need? And how can we get there? I think one cannot really get too far. If, you know, the, you know, you don't have much support. Apparently, we have no political consequence. You know, so yeah.
Alison: And honestly, I'm, I'm, I'm not gonna sound like I'm bagging America, do it. I don't know, Australia is an amazing place. When I compare it to other places in the world, you know, we have universal health care. We have paid maternity leave system, we've got paid paternity leave system. And then you think America is supposed to be the best place in the world, the greatest country on Earth, and you think you can't even go to the hospital and get fixed up without paying a bill of 20 $30,000? And I just don't understand, I just think how can you not be up with the times of the world of what people deserve and expect and worthy of, you know, like, how hard is it? You know, we we've got this Medicare system over here where everybody, you know, that earns over a certain amount of money, a portion of their tax goes to Medicare. And it's simple. I mean, and it's not simple, but you know what I mean, it sounds very simple and traightforward. And I know this, there's still issues with our health care system, nothing's perfect, and nothing can ever be perfect. There's always things that can be improved. But I think, God, the amount of times I've taken my children to the hospital in the middle of the night, because they've had a bit of a croupy cough, or they're in pain, and I'm not sure why. If I had a barrier of money, in a way, I would never have done that stuff. And you just think, How can a society a modern society functioning that way? Where money Is the the thing that stops you from taking care of yourself?
Shweta: Yes, I think it's definitely something of concern. And of course, they're riding on the backs of so many women who, who, who basically raised the next generation without any support, in a sense. And it's essential, what recently what is bugging me is that we do not have good mental health insurance. And there's an there's, there's a different pandemic now. Yeah. Yeah. And it's, and it's, and it's really upsetting that I go to the doctor's like, oh, I need a therapist. There isn't any good therapist that your insurance covers. I don't first of all, I don't even know, good, bad. But I just feel like if I start the process with someone, I should trust that person. And I'm not going to go, oh, after three sessions, you're no good. I'm gonna go. Like it's very hard. I think for people who like for someone who like when I go into depression, or when I have anxiety I have, I've always managed anxiety for many years. And for me to actually pick up the phone and say, I'm not going to call a therapist and make an appointment takes a lot of effort. And when you don't have faith in the system, it just gets so much harder. And then I'm sorry But he who can probably even afford to pay? You know, a few, a few sessions, and I think about all of the millions of people who can't. And it's when healthcare becomes a thing of privilege, it's frightening. Yeah, it is, isn't it? It really is. Yeah, it is. I think it's quite, it's quite saddening, and I think the fact that even if there have been many ways to have physical health care, I think, I think what's really very important is men's mental health care. And which I think we're really far behind on. It's frustrating. Yeah. Yeah. Look, honestly from observing from across the world. It's just it makes no sense. It really makes no sense. I think if you are going to be a capitalist, sorry, sorry. No, go on. Go on. I was just going to continue going. Oh, it makes no sense. Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.
No, I can totally understand how it looks from far away. And I mean, I honestly, like I just feel like because we are such a capitalist country, like, the most. Something has to suffer.We're about making money. Yeah, exactly. No, yeah. matriarchal systems of business, where you're, you're basically respected for how much? How much money can you make. And so therefore, in a place like this, where you're somebody who's paying attention, just raising your children, and raising them to be good human beings, and with values and, and all of this, none of that has value? Yeah. You tell the mother that she's noble, yet, you know, you create a circumstance in which she cannot feel fulfilled, because what you really value is money, and money making. Yes. So I think that that's very demoralizing for so many people who, who care for other lives and compromise on, you know, livelihoods. Absolutely. And then you add to that the fact that there's so many makers, you know, that make art or, you know, music or any sort of thing, and because they're not making a living from it, then that is devalued, as well, because you're not making money. So it's less worth than someone who is making money from it. You know, that's a house, I think it's really hard to balance a Korean art and be somebody who's, who's caring to occur. Because just by the nature of art itself, right. Like, it's, it's difficult to know what you're doing and how it's going to be appreciated. And when you're making work, it's so personal, sometimes the work you make, and, and soI think that circumstances, make it so difficult for artists, mothers, and you know, so we need each other basically, you know, we need to lift each other up. And I think that's, yeah, yeah. That's the thing. We've got to feel like, we've got to sort of the change has to come with from within first, I think, because the outside have their own views, and they're the ones continuing to hold these views. But then if Yeah, all the mothers say No, that's wrong. And everyone, you know, revolts against that, if for one have a better word. Yeah. But yeah, I don't know why was saying that, you know, like, you know, that the fact that we actually turn a blind eye to others and things like that, and I remember, it's like, you can obviously see them at drop off cant you see their faces?
You know, I mean, sorry, I don't know where that came from. No, but I was just thinking about that. Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's quite obvious that they need that, you know, and I and I, and I feel sometimes like we live such isolated lives. And the whole idea of the nuclear family and living in you know, a capitalist country and a nuclear family is the fact that you're isolated in your experiences. And, you know, and so, I think that, that just aggravates an already difficult situation. Because I was like, always imagine and fantasize, oh, my gosh, if my mother lived across the door from me, how wonderful would that be? Yeah, I can't handle this get any more "throw". Catch mom catch!!
Oh, I love that. But that's true, though, isn't it? It's like in years gone by, you know, this the saying of, you know, it takes a village to raise a child. That was true. That was actually what would happen. You'd have people all around you all the time. And it's like we're forcing people apart seems to be no way the world is really a lot and I I'm glad we're talking about it. It's you know, yeah. He said what's the first steps to making changes? You know, yes, in deciding
Think it was to 2021, there was a conference that was held by the University of Bolton and in the UK. nd we talked and the conference was about the idea of the missing mother. That's what the conference title was. And how the mother has been missing in the representation of the representation of the mother has been missing in various disciplines and in art in particular. And the invitation was for, you know, academics and artists, to researchers to come and talk about to talk about the subject and share their work. And yeah, I so I, you know, talked about my experience and how, how, basically, our helped me pivot, in a sense, that's what I used it for. It was my lifeline, to be quite honest. Yeah. And, and it brought me back to life. And, yeah, so yeah, I, I also present people's I talk about, I talk about my experience, I can, you know, that was one conference, I talked. And just quite recently, there was a conference that was held by the Museum of motherhood in Florida. And I also presented a paper and my work at that conference. And basically, the idea is really to, you know, to talk about my experience to meet other, you know, individuals who, you know, have research to share, constantly learning about wonderful issues related to the lives of mothers and mothering and, and, you know, because the representations come from various fields, it's always enriching to learn about, and hear from such people. And I think, because it was always important for me to, I had decided I'm going to talk about this.
Because it was important to me, because I felt that I didn't find many people that would talk to me, and how I felt. So I think I, for me, it's not just enough to make, you know, work like photographs and, you know, stage photographs. I also like to present and talk and listen to other people who are doing research in these areas, huh? Oh, good on you. That's great. I'm gonna have to look some of these things up. You've given me so many things. I'm happy to share. Yeah, I'm gonna share some I can share some links with you and right. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, thank you, that would be wonderful.
I was, I was thinking about this when we talking about the guilt thing. And I thought that a lot of a lot of mothers who end up working, while they're kids a little will will say to me, you know, I, I'm a better mother when I go to work. And I always used to wonder about that. And I still do, and I just feel that I always, you know, you know, consider that you're a better mother if you go to work, but then why do we Why do we always have to make it about the kids? You know, why? Why not for you? Like, I think that because society has so much pressure on us for putting the kids first, you know, so everything that we do is for the kids, but I actually hope that we can come to a point where we can say I go to work or I do this because it makes me happy. You know, because I need it for myself. Exactly. And not and not say because, you know, I'm not saying that's the wrong thing to feel. I'm just I'm just hoping that we could claim we can claim that thing that we do for ourselves. Yeah. Yeah. It's an interesting perspective, isn't it? It's like, we have to be feel good for somebody else, you know, not just for ourselves, if that makes sense, right? Yeah. I yeah, I think that really it is what it is, is that I think, once your mother that that's the only identity that you perhaps feel very strongly about, but we're more than mothers and wives and, or partners and, and daughters, where we, you know, like, individuals? Yeah, no, I haven't heard any dads say that. I'm a better dad when I go to work. LOL
Now that the girls are older, I have more time to spend on my practice. But when they were younger, and until almost a year ago, I was doing a lot of housework and Mother work. You know, and I think during the pandemic, I developed a practice to journal every day, and make, you know, Things To Do list because without that, I'm just like, headless chicken all over the place. Um, so, you know, I make a list, and I and I, and the list has a lot of chores on it, it has, you know, freelance work stuff that I have to do on it, it has, you know, make creative, make room for admin work on it, you know, so it's a, it's an extensive list, but everyday doesn't have too much on it. Because I've realized that there's only so much time you have, right, and, but I follow the list, and I, and I put tick marks on the list, like a little child's like, yes, yes. Yes. That's right. Like, it's so satisfying, tick things off. And, and, you know, and then of course, I also write whatever I didn't write down on the list, also, that I ended up doing. Because sometimes once you feel like, oh my gosh, where did my day go? I just did like two out of five of my list. But what was I doing? So I think that earlier, I would feel defeated. But now I just write it all down. So, you know, I end up with some sense of accomplishment, like, alright, I was doing this. And I stopped being hard on myself, really, I think I, I have, you know, take it with a little grain of salt. Okay, I didn't get to doing this today. So I do tomorrow, you know, so I, I think that you also have to build in a little humor in your life. You know, you're like, Okay, I got rejected by this residency. Alright, on to the next one. And I just got, you know, got a rejection letter for an exhibition. And I was really bummed for about, like, I don't know, 16 hours. And then, of course, I have such a wonderful support group. And I reached out to my mentor, and, and I reached out to another mom, and she's like, you know, what, sometimes you just need people to remind you of the stuff that you already know. So it's so important to have like people in your life who will, you know, lift you up? And you know, just give you that little bit of a lift when you need it. Yeah, like, this one's not going. So let's go on to the next one now. So yeah, yeah. And I think the important thing that I, that I didn't do before that I do now is that I asked for what I need from my family and my kids. You know, like, it's not all about them.
Obviously, but you know, you're Yes, yes, you're setting them up for failure. I think if you just, you know, I'm the same if I'm in here, editing or recording or something, and someone will come in and say, Mom, can you do this? I'm like, actually, I can't do it right now. But same thing, you know, give me five or 10 minutes, and then I'll do it. You know, and it's like, yeah, that's reasonable. You know, that's a reasonable expectation for your child to to understand that. That is actually okay. You know? Yes, absolutely. You know, I think that in the beginning, I didn't, I didn't, I didn't do that at all. And I had, right, I was like, I and I, and I still know a few mothers who, who live like that. And, and, you know, it's hard, because then you it's said, what about me? Exactly. And I think that that question is very important. You know, what about me? What about what I want? And I think that you definitely cannot hope to achieve anything for yourself, if you don't set the boundaries. So that I think that's pretty. And it's good for them. I think that the children also will learn when they if they choose to become mothers, that, that it's okay to do that.
Yeah, I remember when I, when I was little, my mother would, my mother would be like, I'm drinking tea right now come back to me later, you know, so she was definitely not there. Because, you know, she also worked and, you know, she was not there for me all the time. But she was lovely mother, and she still is. And I think that.
But you know, I kind of got into the trap of saying, oh, whatever you want, guys, whatever you want. But I think the significance. Yeah, so just simple things, writing everything down. I journal every day. And I make lists. And I asked for what I want. And I also think that everybody's experience is different of mothering. And what they need is different. So I think the real need is to sit with oneself and ask oneself, what do I need? What do I really need? And go for it? You know, like, you matter? I think that you matter, and you're important. And you know, I'm just asking for what you need is important, because because a lot of times we don't ask because we're afraid of we're afraid of what might happen. You know, what the answer might be, but I think that it's we don't mothers don't really ask the things we just give and I think that's, it has to you, we have to ask for what we want. Yeah, I agree. I think I think we're also afraid of inconveniencing other people, because the mums job is supposed to be making everybody happy and making everything good and right for everyone. But then if we sort of upset the applecart so hang on a second. Yeah. So yeah, absolutely. Yeah. There's a lot to be said. Yeah. And I think, and I think the other thing is that there's no straight path to this. And we all have to pivot. I think because of what we do, and the nature of what we do is, and every moment presents itself differently, sometimes you don't know, like, suddenly my kid is going to fall from the swings, and I have to rush like, this has happened right? With you, too, I'm sure where you have to rush your kids to the doctor, like drop everything and go. And usually it's me because my husband has a corporate job, and I'm closer to the kids locationally You know, school is closer to, to our house than it has to his office besides, you know, he's in calls and, and, you know, like, it's my primary responsibility. So I have to drop everything and go. But, you know, in the beginning, I would be like, quite, you know, helicopter in a sense, I would be hovering around them making sure like going overextending myself and, and I still do those things, but I don't, but I but I have, you know, everything what i've what I figured is that everything will be all right. You know, eventually, you know, like, we, you know, like, we don't have to lose sleep over every second of the kid's life, like, you know, it will be alright, and I think that I have to be ready to pivot and to take everything, you know, lightly laugh off some serious things in life. And the kids also learned to do that with me. So now, they also learn to pivot so I think it's a it's a work in progress. You know, it's still hard but we make it work, and I'm good on you know, yeah.
So if you've got anything you're working on anything coming up that you want to share with the listeners to sort of look out for any, any sort of projects or work?
well, you know, these days I'm I'm working on a new series, I haven't started posting that on Instagram yet, I've suddenly feeling quite protective of the work that I'm making, you know, because everything is just so personal. And it comes from a place of deep feeling. And I you know, that with this particular work that I'm making with the girls. They'll walk up to me, and they'll be like, so what are we doing today? It's funny, they'll come to me. And you know, the way I've trained them, so Well, I feel like they'll come to me and say, so what are we shooting today? Because when I set the lights up and things, and then I'll say, and I'll tell them, then they say, then the next question is, so what is that supposed to mean? Like, do you really have to know every time? But that is absolutely I love it. It's amazing. And sometimes I'm like, can we just get through it? And then I'll tell you, No, Mama, how about you tell it tell us first? And then and then well, I'm like, Okay, fine. Stop being lazy. And like, so I tell them? And then and then my next question always is, are you okay doing this? And then they'll say yes. Or they say no. But usually they'll say yes. Because I'm, you know, I'm quite clever in the sense that I don't, I don't pursue subjects that I know will put them in a spot, you know, because I don't want because they will they.
I revere my kids. I mean, this might sound crazy, but I have this deep reverence for them. It's not just love, I, I really respect and look up to them for so many things. Like, they're just so wonderful. And they're so innocent, and they're just so loving and so inclusive. And so they're there, you know, when they're agreeable to do something, and when, when they're not, they will still look at me and think, Is mom gonna get hurt? Because I say no. So sometimes, they will say yes, and I don't want that. Because I don't want that. I don't want them doing that. So I'd be like, Are you sure? Anyway, so So these days, I'm making something, and I'm, they both are growing older, and my older daughter has started her periods, and the little one, you know, she, she's now nine. And she suddenly changed over the past year or so. And, you know, like, how we talk about kids having coming to the age of reason, you know, I was the kind of, I think it's kind of between seven and nine years old. And she, she knows her place in the world, and she knows, you know, if and when, you know, consequences, and of actions, and good and bad, and morality, and she's quite in that space right now, where she's thinking about all these things, and she's no longer a child. And, and I can see that they're becoming more independent.
And I've become obsessed with, with time, I feel I can feel my biological clock. And I'm so concerned with time, and it's impermanence, and how my daughters have my time in their hands, you know, and the fragility of this moment, and how little we think of now, you know, like this moment. And I become so conscious that they're letting go of me in so many ways. And so, so I'm thinking, I, I want to let go, but I also want to hold on to them. And, you know, I'm aging, and they're blossoming. So these things are happening all at once, and I'm thinking of all these things, and you know, they're maturing, I'm happy, but I'm also I'm also Chad melancholic, you know, at the loss of their childhood. And I'm relieved that I have more time, but I'm wistful for the tender moments that I've spent with them when they were little. So there's this we're in this liminal space, and I'm curious about it. And that's what I'm hoping to explore.
Hmm, yeah. Theres this song. One of my guests, wrote. Jen Lush she was in one of the episodes last year and she wrote this song and it started off with I want to put you in glass. And that was the way she wanted to stop her children from growing and it was just this. When I when I heard that I was like, oh, you know all the pulls on the heartstrings like oh my gosh, my babies are growing up, you know, and it's just you just want to stop like every, like, every time you look at them. They're growing. They're getting older, every moment that goes past they're getting older and you just think no, slow down.
No, no, it's Yeah. Yeah, it's, it is quite a difficult. Every, every every time as the ages is presents something different to us. And a different volley of emotions again, you know, like, I feel like it never ends. It's like, I need to breathe. Like, wait a second. Can I ever be happy? Like my kids are not finally growing up. I don't have to clean their bums. I don't have to stand in attendance. I don't have to say, now write this down. And like I'm like, oh my god, can I just do that again?
Lovely. I'm looking forward to seeing how that presents itself. That will be very exciting to see. Oh, yeah, I love that. Let's listen this has been a delightful discussion. I've it's been beautiful.
Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast that's a platform for mothers who are artists and creatives to share the joys and issues they've encountered, while continuing to make art. Regular themes we explore include the day to day juggle, how mothers work is influenced by the children, mum guilt, how mums give themselves time to create within the role of mothering, and the value that mothers and others place on their artistic selves. My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and a mom of two boys from regional South Australia. You can find links to my guests and topics we discussed in the show notes. Together with music played, how to get in touch, and a link to join our lively and supportive community on Instagram. The art of being a mum acknowledges the Bondic people as the traditional owners of the land, which his podcast is recorded on. Welcome to the podcast and thanks for joining me. It really is a pleasure to have you.
This episode contains discussion around anxiety and depression, and was recorded prior to the United States Supreme Court's overturning of Roe versus Wade. Music you'll hear today is from Australia New Age trio, LM J, which features myself my sister, Emma Anderson and her husband, John, and is used with permission. I hope you enjoy. Thank you so much for coming on today.
It's such a pleasure to be here. Thank you, Alison. Yeah, it's
lovely to meet you. Likewise, you at the moment you. You're in New York City. Is that right?
Yes. Yes. I live in I live in Manhattan. Wow.
So like right in the thick of it?
Yes. Yes, it can get busy here.
So you're a photographer, but not the sort of necessarily the style of photography that most people would think of when they think of a photographer. So can you share with us what your sort of style is and and perhaps why you do do things the way you do?
So well, I when I started taking pictures, it was before the children were born. And I remember I bought my first camera in actual camera in Dubai in 2008. And at that time, I worked for
Thanks. And the other one I want to ask that is, you did a plastic series?
I'm glad you brought up about that, what you're just saying about the identity, because that's something I really love to explore with moms on this show is how, how violently your life changes and how you see yourself changes. You know, and that analogy you said, Have you felt like you've been hit by a truck. You know, that's literally what it is, isn't it? If you just Yes, you just get belted.
I'm having tea right now, give me 10 minutes, come back to me in 10 minutes. Because, you know, they see us and they just come running into the room is like, I need this right now. And I look at them, and I'll say, you need to give me 10 minutes, and I will come to you. Or, you know, whatever you need to do you need me to do per posted on my computer. So they write what they need. And they stick it on my screen at the bottom of my on the bottom of my computer screen. And so that's like a reminder for me. Alright, so when I get done with my task, then I do what they need me to do. So I think that I've built up a system where the kids also know now that they just can't walk into the room and declare, I need grilled cheese right now. I'm like, sorry, you're not gonna get it. You need to wait. Yeah, you're just asking for things. Yeah,
I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting your boundaries with your children. I think throughout my work in childcare, I think parents have this idea that they have to be at the beck and call of their children. They have to keep the children happy. And you're actually an you know, you've you've you've got to set them up for for the real world to like, you know, when they get out in the world. The world isn't gonna stop for them when they want something, you know, I think it's actually responsible of a parent to SET set boundaries and expectations around where children fit into the world and not in a kind way.
Wipe your bums. But can you hold my hand? Exactly.
it's just like, it's it's it's a ride. We're on a roller coaster here. I guess. Yeah. I'm you know, it's just something all of us. I think as you know, like mothers, we go through this and it's, it would be interesting to see what response I get once I put the work out there. But right now I'm, I'm just quietly making it.
It's been fun. Yes, it has. Thank you. You have something good to say, you know, one with and oh, so nice to talk to you.
My lovely. I've just had such a lovely chat. I get so much out of everyone that I speak to I take different things from it's really it's such a wonderful thing, personally, that I love to do. I just love to talk to people and, you know, challenge ideas. And yeah, why? Why did we do this and all this. I just love it. So yeah, thank you for indulging.
What you do is wonderful. I think I think what you're doing is so significant. And it's so important. And so I'm so I'm so happy to be here and talk to you. Thank you so much for forgiving me for giving me your time. Oh, nice. Thank you.
Thank you. It's been lovely. Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us by the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mom