When Mother's Day is Hard

If you know one thing about Portraits that Move, it is that we love to celebrate life's moments of all sizes.  Our love of celebration most most certainly includes holidays, and Mother's Day holds a special place in our hearts.

As much as we love celebrating our fellow moms, we understand all too well that Mother's Day can be a painful holiday for many.  Many of us have experienced a complicated journey to motherhood, or have found that our motherhood experiences are in sharp contrast with our expectations.  We know that Mother’s Day, more often than not, can be a reminder of our losses more than a celebration of our lives.

For these reasons and so many more, as Mother’s Day approaches, we are working hard to pause, to create space for feeling, working through, and sharing all of our emotions surrounding this holiday that ends up being much more than a Hallmark moment, whether or not we had planned for that.

Our message to you this week is simple.  As you prepare for Mother's Day weekend, we invite you to look to your children for lessons and to let them take the lead in celebrating the holiday.  It is inspiring – and so impressive – to see what children are able to do when we create space for them to be heard, to share their emotions, their enthusiasm, and their ideas.

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This weekend, remember to flex those muscles that motherhood hones so well: patience, gratitude, openness.  Acknowledge and honor your losses privately and with those you love.  Release your expectations for the perfect day (it doesn’t exist!).  Resist the temptation to compare your day, and the feelings you have about Mother’s Day, to your Instagram feed.  Remember to celebrate your family, your motherhood journey, and your experiences, however imperfect you may think they are.

Happy Mother's Day,

The Portraits that Move Team

Our Mother's Day Gift to You

Schedule a Portraits that Move Signature Portrait consultation by the end of the month (May 31, 2018) and get 25% off, with code #HAPPYMOMDAY

Let Kids Take the Lead: New Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day with Family and Friends

Make this Mother’s Day special by brainstorming with your kids about how to celebrate the day in new and more inclusive ways.  Talk to your kids about the women in your circle – your family, friends and neighbors, – and ask them how they want to connect with and celebrate the women who help to shape their lives.

As is so often the case when we take the extra time to have conversations like this with our children, the answers may surprise you.  The list could include grandmothers, neighbors, godparents or teachers. It is always a moment of discovery when you let your children lead conversations about what means the most to them. 

By engaging with your children in this way, you learn who is important to them and what they are observing about their family and community.  You also come to learn how your children are practicing empathy and gratitude as they grow and change.

5 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day through Storytelling and Sharing

Schedule Facetime or Skype calls with special women in your child's life

Seeing and hearing each other is a wonderful way for your children – and for you – to connect with the important people in your lives.  We are fortunate to have technology at our fingertips that allows us to do that.

 

Ask your children who they would like to connect with and schedule a time for a call the same way you would schedule an in-person meeting.  Make it an event, make it special, and most of all, let your children take the lead.  Far away friends and family will be delighted to connect one-on-one with your kids.  Your kids will feel proud to share and to celebrate these special women on Mother’s Day.

Share their Artwork

For younger children, look through art work and classroom projects and select some favorites to send to the family members on your list.  Encourage your children to share the story of why they love this piece of art, what inspired them to create it, and why they chose it for the recipient.

Sharing artwork and allowing children to talk about it helps to build their confidence, and reminds them that they have the power to bring happiness to the people they love on holidays like Mother’s Day and throughout the year.

Create Unique, Special Messages

For older children, ask them to create a unique, special message for each person on the list.  This could include writing, drawing, making jewelry or other small gifts.  This encourages your children to share their stories and their observations to help connect them with their loved one.  It gives them the chance to use their creativity and talents to let someone know that they care about them, and why.

Share a Mother's Day Video Message

Our clients love sharing Portrait Videos and Video Cards with their loved ones for Mother’s Day and other holidays.  Especially for families that do not get to see each other as much as they would like (which is all of us, really!) our videos help to give the gift of more time with the ones you love.

Plan a New Kind of Mother's Day Get Together

This year, let your children take the lead in planning a Mother’s Day get together for your whole tribe.  Include all the women your child loves.  For us moms, this new approach does mean sharing our day, but what a gift it is to know that we are able to also share the joy and love of our children – and the joy and love we have for those who care about our children and contribute to their happiness.

Mother's Day Special 

Book a Portrait between now and the end of May 2017 and save 20% when you mention the code MOM2017

One More Moment for Moms

One of the most common things we  hear from moms, and a feeling that is shared by the moms on the Portraits that Move team, is that we never seem to have enough time. 

Moms are so busy making moments, or trying to document them, that we lose the opportunity to enjoy them.  We lose the chance to live these moments with our children and our families.

This Mother's Day, speaking for all of us on the team, and I venture to say, for all moms, the one thing we want, is more time.  

We want five extra minutes in the morning to sit down and talk about the coming day - or even one extra minute to give our precious children a goodbye hug. 

We want more time to listen to their stories, more time to share our own, at the end of the day.

All day, every day, it seems like we are grabbing for that extra minute, one more second to breathe in the life that we are creating - to look at our children and really see them for the wonderful, unique people they are, for the gifts they are to us and to the world.

So, this Mother's Day, I invite you to take an extra moment.  Take five minutes to look and to listen to your children, to celebrate them and to celebrate you.  Put down the camera, shut off the phone, and savor five minutes of quiet observation, of reflection and stillness.  Take it all in, and allow yourself a moment to be grateful for your life, for our lives, as mothers.

Leave the Documenting to Portraits that Move

The Portraits that Move filmmakers understand that moments matter, and all of the moms who help make those moments possible matter.

In honor of Mother's Day, our gift to you is 20% off a Signature Portrait.

Book a Portrait from now until the end of May 2017 and get 20% off when you mention the code MOM2017.

It's the perfect Mother's Day gift - extra time with your children, preserved on film.

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms, grandmothers, special aunts, godmothers and everyone of you who loves and cares for children, we wish you a Happy Mother's Day filled with the joy, pride and love that you find in your children every day.

No matter how you celebrate this weekend, remember to choose joy and remember how loved and appreciated you are.  And how much everything you do matters. We are grateful for you and to be among you. 

Thank you, moms.  Happy Mother's Day! 

With HUGE love,

Susannah

How My Role as Film Producer Trained Me for Motherhood

I was 36 years old when I had my son. I always knew I wanted children, ideally, lots of them. I babysat at a young age, taught at camps and felt energetic and excited whenever I had the chance to be in the presence of children.

I spent my twenties and thirties building my career. I love my work and I always have. I am driven and passionate about being a filmmaker. I have been lucky enough to have worked on incredible projects, with talented, inspiring people.

By the time I was 36 I had been on the team of four narrative, theatrical films and I had produced documentaries for PBS, MSNBC, Ovation TV, Court TV, IFC and other networks. I had won a producing fellowship at Sundance, had produced countless corporate videos and commercials and had several big projects in development.

I was so invested in my work that I took on the production of a documentary, Close-Up Photographers at Work, 8 weeks before my son was due and it aired 4 days before his due date. I loved that project and thankfully, my son was patient.  He arrived two days late, so I had a couple days of downtime before he arrived. I think he and I were always in sync - even then.

newborn baby lessons motherhood and family documentary filmmaking

As all parents know, once my son was born, my world got turned upside-down. I fell madly, deeply in love with him and at the same time, I felt incredibly panicked about how out of control my life seemed.

I wanted to be with him all the time, yet I felt pulled back to my work. Ultimately, I found an amazing balance and it worked out beautifully for both of us.

And as both my son and I grew, I realized that being a producer is excellent training for becoming a parent. As a producer you need to do the following things, all of which prepare you for the challenges and responsibilities of parenting:

You plan everything   

A well thought out schedule is the backbone of any good production. As a parent, planning and structure are important. Children thrive when there is a rhythm and a familiarity to their lives.

You expect change and are able to roll with it when it happens

Things change in production all the time. People change their involvement with the project. Things get started and then halted. Even weather can change a shoot unexpectedly. 

It is the same with children; they have their own ideas, needs and intentions. And sometimes, as parents, we have to be ok with throwing our plans to the wind.

You encourage them to be their best selves

Producing is about collaboration. Once you have hired the best team possible, you have to do everything you can to support them in bringing all they are to the work they do.

The role of mother is exactly the same. You learn what your child needs, what makes them tick and how to encourage the most authentic manifestation of who they are.

You listen

Whether I am in conversation with a director, client, crew member or my son, I listen with my full attention.  I want them to be heard and to know their voices and opinions are important. 

Lilah tells us at she loves out her mom as we kick off our Mother's Day celebration.

It is in collecting thoughts and creating an environment of trust that the best films and the best parenting happens.

You trust that they will have the life meant for them

Films and children have their own paths. It is not my job to define what that path is, but to gently support and suggest things along the way. It is not up to me, entirely, when a film gets released or what my son’s interests are.

I can listen to what the film tells me and heed the cues my son gives me.

You create space with love

With films it is the director’s responsibility to dig deep and tell the truest story possible. With parenting, our responsibility is to accept and love our children exactly as they are. In both cases, it is critical that a platform is created for this acceptance and love. 

I work hard to do this every day with my son and with Portraits That Move.

Since having my son, I have made some of my best work, On Mediation, Kings Point, Boomtown and many more.  Now, with the work we do here at Portraits that Move, creating documentaries for families, I am so thankful to get to do this every day, to get to be a mother to my son and to have both of these worlds so intertwined, informed and strengthened by each other.