Stress & Photography [Family Life Project]

I don’t take pictures when I’m stressed.

My creativity sort of turns off and the usual appeal photography holds for me turns into a deep drudgery and sense of obligation.

I guess I’m weird like that.

We recently returned from an adventurous family vacation to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.  It was exciting to see family we rarely get to spend time with. It was thrilling to see parts of the U.S. that I haven’t seen before.

And it was absolutely super stressful to travel with a 2 year old.

Wait.  Life in general is sort of super stressful with a 2 year old.

Someday, when I get this whole mothering and patience thing figured out I’m going to have a big party.

So…out of two weeks of travel, the bulk of my photos stem from one evening excursion.

The most peaceful moment of our trip for me was a blessed rainy evening in Townsend, TN.

Ironically, Buzzy and I had just left Ben to finish dinner by himself in a nice restaurant because we were causing a “scene”.

It was one of those thrilling moments in public when your child is obviously out of control and surely all the stable minded people at the other tables are praying for you to leave or guiltily enjoying the dramatic entertainment of someone on the brink of breakdown.

I tossed Buzzy over my shoulder like a sandbag–kicking and screaming–and we proudly walked outside in the pouring rain.

The rain drops poured down my face in perfect unison with my tears as I tried to clear my mind from the constant thoughts “LIFE IS SOO HARD. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE A MOM. I’M CARRYING TOO MUCH RESPONSIBILITY RIGHT NOW. IS THERE EVER A MOMENT OF REST?” that have been hounding me like thunder the past few months.


It was in this state of mind that we came upon this rickety suspension bridge.


Buzzy was all for running across and trying to keep his balance, completely enjoying his new freedom outside.

I let him run so I could try to find my sanity once again…(which is hard to find since it’s been missing for far too long.)

The walk across the bridge was unstable and frightening at times.  I daringly glanced across the edge to measure my fate if this old thing were to break, but instead of seeing my demise I began to sense the peace of my surroundings.

Cliche as it may seem, it made a great analogy to my life.  Right now the path is shaky.  I loose my footing daily.  And its raining.  But even on a shaky scary bridge, it’s still possible to pause, to feel peace, and to witness an incredible view.

I think too often I focus on the fear. I focus on the stress and all my shortcomings. I focus on all the uncertainty in my life right now, when really, I’m truly surrounded by beauty.  I’m surrounded by peace if I will open my heart and mind to it’s presence.  Life is not going to get any easier for me for a while.

The bridge I’m on may be shaky, BUT IT’S STILL A BRIDGE.

It’s leading me somewhere and allowing me to progress to even better destinations.



 Here’s to life looking up, if not in circumstance at least in attitude and perspective:)


























12 Responses

  1. Thank you for this. I know I am not the only mom who feels she has lost everything, including her sanity, in motherhood. It feels good to know there are other women in my shoes walking that bridge, one step at a time.

  2. Thank you for this Brooke! I love the images you took. I am so glad I found this today. Your words are such an inspiration and reminder that things will be calm in life once again. Ps – I hope you enjoyed North Carolina 🙂

  3. Brooke, you are amazing. I feel the same way – I feel like all of my excitement and creativity just shuts down when I’m stressed (which is the main reason I won’t shoot any weddings anymore – the stress is overwhelming!) and when traveling with our 18month old I am lucky if I get a shot with my cell phone camera, let alone the big one. I love the revelation that despite the shape of the bridge, it is still a bridge. For me, that is the crux of the post – thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Every mom including myself has been there! I needed to hear that story as I am packing for a trip with a 4 year old and a 19 month old. Beautiful pictures and family.

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and find your openness inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    Do you carry a tripod for those instantaneous self portraits?

    Just wanted to say, that I know exactly what you feel as a mother having your creativity turn off under stress. I’ve felt a lot of stress over the last 8 years! (I have four kids! – that is what we wanted, but it is not an easy road) I still look for opportunities for solitude…

    All the best to you as you continue finding your individual path in this life, juggling every day life as you go. I do believe each of us is given a unique journey to carve as we go that molds us and shapes us, hopefully always for the better! 🙂

  6. Beautifully stated Brooke! Life is always like a bridge. Sometimes they are steady and strong, easy to travel on and sometimes they are rickety. Keep traveling on that rickety bridge. There are many blessings as you cross! Believe me, you will miss even moments like this … kids grow up way too fast!!! Thank you for sharing <3

  7. You know that I’m crying right now, right? 🙂 Thanks for posting this. It’s such a wonderful reminder – and hey, your pictures turned out beautifully! And you may not have had that experience without the screaming, craziness, and tear-filled moment beforehand. So, way to endure the challenge!

  8. This is a beautiful post. I remember distinctly having thoughts exactly like yours when I was a mom of a very active, independent two-year-old. I would feel uncertain of my abilities as a mom. But as you so eloquently reminded us, there are bridges to cross to somewhere better and to stop and enjoy the view. By the way, that active, independent two year old is now a 16 year old and I really could not ask for a better young man for a son. He’s awesome! Hang in there!

  9. The patience part is hard to come by – I’ve got two active boys of my own – seven and eight now, and fifteen months apart. It’s more like you learn to embrace the craziness. LOL

    I grew up near Townsend, TN, in Sevierville, and I am homesick looking at those gorgeous photos you took. That church is too precious for words. I’m glad I found your website. 😀

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