Inspiring Mom: Elizabeth Messina
Follow Elizabeth Messina on Instagram and you will get both a taste of her impeccable photography, and tiny peeks inside her daily family life. To the outsider, it looks like she’s easily balancing work + family, but it’s something Elizabeth confesses she’s always in search of. We so relate. When we started this Inspiring Moms series, she was one of the mamas we couldn’t wait to interview. We love how truthful she is, and how she and her husband have created little rituals to get through each day (with three kiddos). Two Inspiring Mom posts in one week? We know, we love it too!
Elizabeth Messina Photography
Where do you work?
Home & all over the world
What was the inspiration or impetus to start your business?
I think I have always been an artist. It wasn’t until my third year of college (where I was rather unhappy & lost) that I discovered photography was an option. The world has never looked the same since. I love discovering and capturing beauty. I am still sometimes amazed that I have made a career out of being an artist.
How does your business inspire your family, or your family inspire your business? How has it changed or evolved as your children have grown?
They are so inter-connected now, it is hard to put into words. My business was born out of my desire to be a good mother. When I first graduated art school, I had visions of traveling the world and shooting glorious fashion campaigns. Ironically when I started photographing weddings it was to be near home & my children, to work occasionally on weekends and be a good mamma all through the week. Truth be told I work & travel now more than I ever anticipated. My three children are truly the most incredible, wonderful part of my life. They are a melange of laughter & bickering, art projects & scrambled eggs, bedtime stories & skinned knees. Motherhood is the most glorious kind of love. It is luminous and fills me with so much joy. It is that love that fuels me as I navigate the unpredictable twists & turns of being self-employed. I also take some pride is showing my children that I am a dynamic, contributing part of our family. I want them to learn that a woman participating in the world is a good thing. I also find being a mother has opened me more to other peoples vulnerabilities and love stories, and that has truly enhanced my ability to create authentic and I hope meaningful images.
Do you find it challenging or refreshing to work for yourself, as a mom? And/or are there particular places or people that you rely on for support as a creative business owner and a mom?
I think life is challenging, no matter what you do or who your are. I am blessed to have a very close relationship with my sister, she has talked me off the edge many times. My parents are also a big part of my life & continue to give me unconditional love & support, that is invaluable in a world where sometimes it is hard to know your worth. At home I always know how much I matter. My husband is probably the person I depend on most in the world. He has a calm about him that if it wasn’t so wonderful would drive me absolutely insane. I can be my whole self with him, my messy, unsure, over emotional self & he takes all of it, all of me, in stride. He continues to make me believe that anything is possible, and more importantly that no matter what we are ok. I think if I could ask for one thing at this time in my life, it would be more sleep and an occasional spa day. A girl can dream…..
How do you figure out the balance of time with your children and time to work?
I don’t. I am and I confess probably always will be a woman in search of balance. It is elusive. The moment I feel like I might have it figured out, something inevitably comes along to rock the boat. It is perhaps the beautiful conundrum of the life of a working mother.
On a day to day basis, it’s the little things. I am really good at bedtime, I’m the best cuddlier in the house, hands down. I make my way to my children’s beds, we whisper and reminisce about our day. Sometimes I rub someones back, other times I read stories or maybe council on how to handle not so nice girl at school, its a special time when all the secrets of the day reveal themselves. It’s those little rituals that help us stay grounded & connected. In the mornings my husband is king, he’s up early and has everyone organized, where I am not really available for comment until I have had at least a couple of sips of coffee. Our roles evolved naturally. We never had a conversation like “you do breakfast & I’ll do bedtime”. It just happened over time and now there is an unspoken understanding that I cherish….I think all families should make their own rituals, there is no one way to do anything.
I am sometimes surprised by people who think it is somehow easy for me. It is not. I struggle and wonder if I am working too much or not enough. If I am a good mother? I try to be a good person, but sometimes I am overwhelmed and lost still. I am so grateful I found photography. It soothes my soul and my children are the most wonderful blessing I could ever imagine. I am sure I am doing lots wrong, but I put my whole heart into it, no matter what.
Her photography is sincerely some of the most breathtaking. Her work alone is enough to inspire us to become better creative mothers! Thank you so much for sharing Elizabeth.
Happiest of Mother’s Day to all of you mamas out there!
Speaking of Mother’s Day… Elizabeth’s recent book & New York Times Best Seller, The Silver Lining co-authored with dear friend Hollye Jacobs will be on Oprah on Mother’s Day! You can go here to see what channel it will air on in your city.