About Me

Photo credit: Jo Charron

I started writing this blog in January of 2010 as both a 365 day photo project and a place to discuss a question which had bothered me for a long time. The title was “What do you do? The question that makes stay-at-home moms squirm”.

While I was actively writing about this topic, I came to understand that “stay at home moms” were not the only ones who struggled with this question, that indeed its a source of discomfort for a lot of women, for people who do creative work, and those who choose paths which aren’t financially remunerative.

It was an ambitious project, and it almost ate me alive. After about 4 months, I stopped writing. The questions I wrestled with created lengthy posts of convoluted thinking and reasoning that often kept me writing deep into the night. Between creating a daily photograph that in some way I found relevant, and the writing, I had given myself a part-time job that I hadn’t made time for in my life. So… I quit. And then I wrestled with quitting on a commitment I’d made to myself.

Four years after beginning this project, the question I asked has got me by the tail again and I’ve decided to take another stab at making my peace with it.

The “About Me” that I wrote four years ago is below – edited to accurately reflect the passage of time:

I have 3 kids, ages 17, 21, and 23.  They will undoubtedly appear in this blog because my life has revolved around theirs for the last twenty-three years.  In the course of my “career”, I have wrestled with the idea of being a stay-at-home mom more than I have been at peace with it.  I have watched other women in my peer group do the same, more or less gracefully. On my own journey, I have sometimes tried to live two lives because I chose to stay home and raise my kids, and at the same time often found that this choice left me feeling like I had given up my identity, left me no room for dreams, and confined me to an existence lacking imagination.  To counter this perception, I built a creative life that has tried to survive alongside and in the small spaces carved out and stolen from the the 24/7 job of the stay at home mom.

Now that my children are basically young adults, with the youngest only a year away from high school graduation, its easier to give myself permission to do the creative work I love. I started a new blog (www.farmimaginings.com) about sustainable farming and food production which allows me to explore a topic creatively that I’ve cared deeply about for years.

Today, when someone asks me “What do you do?” I have an answer that includes about ten things and usually ends up with me mumbling something about wearing many hats. I still squirm. Why? Why do I not simply state that I’m a stay at home mom, that I’ve raised three great kids, and that I write, photograph, grow food, and do a lot of art projects? Isn’t that enough? Its a very rich life. And yet… there’s something I’m not saying because I’m still not comfortable answering the question.

So, four years later, I’m back. And I’m sneaking up on the question from a different angle this time, hoping it won’t see me coming, so I’ll have the advantage when I try to wrestle it to the ground.

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8 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I not only got married late, I didn’t have children. I’ve watched my sister and friends’ children growing up and I get misty eyed. You chose well Cami. No one at the end of their life says they wished they had spent more time at work. No, they wish they had spent more time with their family which is exactly what you’ve done. That’s wonderful! No regrets and now you’re documenting it. I wish I had such musings from Dad. He’s passed on now and all that’s left are pictures and treasured letters he wrote when I went away for school and work. You’re creating a great gift and legacy for your kids. I love the way you write too. I look forward to future entries.

  2. Dear Cami,

    I just felt compelled to leave a comment here, because the way you expressed yourself in this intro touched me with deep sincerity. I don’t know you – yet – but I am surely looking forward to the trip to Italy with IWTF and you on board… 🙂

    • Anna,
      Thanks for reading my blog. Such a surprise to find your comment this morning. I wondered what would happen if I posted that link on Facebook. Its very much an adventure that I still feel a little odd about to be writing all of this and posting it where anyone can see. Sometimes it feels a little like reality TV, but I’m really hoping to create an honest and authentic conversation about what is value and how do we determine that, both individually and culturally. I am still discovering what it is that I am actually writing about because its a little elusive and every comment made by someone else helps clarify the subject. I’m looking forward to meeting you too!

  3. Cami,

    I know the feeling – these things are relatively new to me as well, and sometimes they seem almost creepy to openly give yourself on subjects that are of real value to you… however, if done in wisdom and love, I believe it creates new value to others – and that is quest I am on, too 😀

  4. Cami — What a great experiment! I love the way you’ve carved out your agenda. The perfect set-up for a great story that will resonate with many a’ mother (and nonmother too). And based on your early blog entries, it is evident already that you will execute masterfully!

    I have a hunch that this enterprise will propel forward Cami-the-Creator in fabulous, maybe unexpected, ways. Eg 365 day Blog — book — film starring Meryl Streep!

    Final note, I really like the moon-light angle — with the nascent PHOTOGRAPHER/WRITER mom in ascendence (especially viz. the public persona), as the daily demands on the photographer/writer MOM diminish.
    And with this comment, and against an (imagined) backdrop of violins (think Fiddler on the Roof), I’m launching into the song “Sunrise, sunset.” This melody hums through my head constantly as I watch my own kids grow up, and now it pops into my head as I witness a moment of Cami’s up-growing! Moons and moms, and Suns and sons — it all feels very cosmic.

    I’m excited to watch Cami blossom!

    Your camadre,
    Liz

    • Hey Liz !
      Well I guess you’ve set the bar pretty high for me. How am I ever going to live up to that scenario! Thanks for the comment – and for all the images that accompany it – particularly the last bit about the sun and the moon and all. Funny that the last photograph I posted yesterday was the sunset…

  5. Advice to Myself

    Leave the dishes.
    Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
    and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
    Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
    Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
    Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
    Don’t even sew on a button.
    Let the wind have its way, then the earth
    that invades as dust and then the dead
    foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
    Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
    Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
    or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
    who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
    matches, at all.
    Except one word to another. Or a thought.
    Pursue the authentic-decide first
    what is authentic,
    then go after it with all your heart.
    Your heart, that place
    you don’t even think of cleaning out.
    That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
    Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
    or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
    again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
    or weep over anything at all that breaks.
    Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
    in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
    and talk to the dead
    who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
    patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
    Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
    except what destroys
    the insulation between yourself and your experience
    or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
    this ruse you call necessity.

    by Louise Erdrich

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