Dear Mom: Tips from Tarah

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We sat down for a chat (yes, virtual) with friend and photographer, Tarah Sweeney who shares on life in quarantine, creativity and being a mom. 

What are the most helpful words of advice you've gotten as a mom that you think everyone should know?

The most helpful tips I've ever gotten for parenthood came from my grandma but is also a famous well known statement, don't sweat the small stuff and it's all small stuff. It's pretty accurate that things will find a way and settle...so many of the worries we have as parents are fear of unknown and we just need to find strength and confidence in ourselves as moms. We got this. They'll be ok if we love them hard...which leads me to the second piece to this...love matters most. I whole-hardheartedly believe love trumps most things in parenthood. Love them hard and they'll be ok. <3 


What are your biggest wins as a mom, what has been hardest as a mom?

I think one of my "wins" as a mom is really allowing my kids to follow what speaks to them. I don't always love it, but I nurture it. The hardest part of being a mom is emotions. I think before becoming a mom I could have believed kids were just kids and that was that. But kids have BIG emotions and the older they get, the bigger the emotions and that can be really hard to navigate. Thankfully these moments pass and we overcome. 

You home-school your kids, right?  What tips would you give to all of us parents trying to figure out this school thing at home right now?

I home-school my kids and it is the single greatest gift I could have hoped for. I was really worried and concerned about diving into homeschooling and I won't lie, the beginning was hard. We had rough days, lots of tears and yelling. But the more I release my own expectations and let them be more free with their minds, we started succeeding. We aren't supposed to make our home-school like a classroom, there's a reason it's different and we can rest in the difference. It doesn't have to be so structured and intense, wild is a good word to allow into your mind for homeschooling. 

 

How are you choosing to stay present and sane as a mom + photographer in quarantine right now? 

I am like most people right now, spending more time on my phone and computer due to the ever changing world we are in. But, I always make a conscious choice to put my phone away and leave it for a few hours every day...morning, afternoon and evening. It's really important to disconnect, not only for my kids to have my full attention, but for me to be present and reactive and even emotional with them. Staring at screens is a really easy way to never connect emotionally to your humans and its felt ten fold on days when I have a lot of work to do for my business. So I make it a very specific choice, to put it all away and go outside with my kids multiple times a day.

What creative ways, if any are you shooting during quarantine? Has your perspective through the lens changed?

Creativity ebbs and flows always but really intensely in quarantine. I tend to be an over sharer as a person and as a business - I'm very active on my Instagram.  But on days that I struggle with creativity, I will get my camera out and shoot just for me. Might sound simple, but it's not really, it means I can document with zero pressure to have it be perfect, or good enough.

I don't have to worry about lighting, or the mess, or the emotions...I just create for me and for nobody else to ever see and that actually does inspire me. I think it's so easy to create for others these days, which can suck the joy out of it and the motivation, but when I first started my photography journey, I shot for myself all day every day and wasn't sharing anywhere because I wasn't ready to...and those days are magic.

What do you think all the husbands need to know out there around Mother's Day this year?

Somebody asked me what I want for Mother's Day and I said, to be treated like a queen. I want breakfast in bed, my choice of lunch and foot massages from my husband all day and want it to end with a photo shoot of us all together...no complaints. I really do think mothers, aunts, grandma's, special women...need to be spoiled on Mother's Day. We are incredible humans, we are powerful and strong but we also need some love and words/acts of affirmation and while it should happen often, Mother's Day is when you and your family can shine by showing how important someone is to you! <3 

Learn more about Tarah by visiting her Instagram.

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