Mom Talk: Mothers Supporting Mothers in Creative Pursuits
Written by Jaime Lovejoy and Erin Hupp
Photography by Photographed by Adahlia Cole
Today’s Mom Talk essay is unique in the fact that it penned by not one but two mothers. Of course, it makes sense given the theme: the vital nature of collaboration between moms. Bay Area-based artists Jaime Lovejoy and Erin Hupp first met through their children’s elementary school and have since both gone on to pivot their careers in a more creative direction—Jaime in painting, Erin in ceramics. Below, they discuss why the concept of mother supporting mothers is so important, especially for when forging a new career path. If you’re in the San Francisco area, be sure to check out their Gallery Pop-Up through November 15th at 3903 24th Street.
“What do you do?” should not be a difficult question to answer. Certainly during our corporate careers we each had a straightforward answer. “I’m a lawyer” or “I work in marketing.” We found that when you step out of a mainstream career the answer becomes less clear. Women, us included, often battle imposter syndrome and over-explain their career to justify their creative endeavors. Why is this transition so difficult? As mothers we give so much of ourselves to our families, but we have to remind ourselves living for ourselves as well, and staying committed to our passions, IS good mothering. Leading by example is giving your children permission to do the same. And we are clearly not alone—many mothers go through this as the fog of the toddler years lifts. The support we can find in each other is invaluable.
For us, our artistic paths started in our twenties. But when faced with a crossroad, we pursued more traditional careers in order to be financially independent. Our art dreams were put on hold. Fast forward twenty years and between us there are two corporate careers, two marriages, and six kids. We had been going through the motions and routine, trying to keep it all together and then we came to a stage where we could finally take stock. (For Erin, it was when her kids entered elementary school, for Jaime, her 40th birthday was a turning point). Mothers, and women in general, tend to give it all. How can you find your true self within the framework of the service of motherhood? Who am I? How can I return to my authentic self? These were questions spinning in our minds and we discovered that other mothers around us were asking the same. It can be scary, leaving the security of an existing career for something that is more volatile. And we felt thankful that our previous careers afforded us this opportunity.
After we had shepherded our children through the toddler years, our forties became a time to reclaim ourselves, to focus on what engaged and motivated us creatively and professionally. For the both of us, it was the opposite of the mid-life crisis, but rather, a mid-life enlightenment. We left our traditional careers and poured ourselves into our art. We built home studios, calendared time for our art practice, and said no to some obligations which in turn allowed us to say yes to our art. We approached our art practice with the same diligence we had invested in our previous careers. Erin began creating hand-thrown plateware for Bay Area restaurants and Jaime created large-scale, abstract paintings. The more we worked on our art, the more alive we felt.
Returning to our art practice in a more meaningful way was a rebirth, a coming back to our true selves. But as with any birth, support through that process is vital. We are so grateful that we found that in each other. While we had known one another casually for years, it was during the pandemic that we reconnected, having regular calls to talk about our art goals. There were so many similarities in our paths we felt an immediate connection and relatability to one another’s experiences. Sharing those experiences, especially during a time of isolation from the pandemic, fostered support and confidence as we pursued more established art careers. We discussed business advice, contacts, strategies to build our practice and push our respective crafts in new directions. But the most meaningful part was knowing we had someone who understood our commitment to our art, the struggles and successes and overall awakening we felt when we were creating. We hung up those calls feeling energized, motivated, and inspired. The phone calls became therapy, accountability, and empowerment for both of us.
Whatever your path, whether it be writing a book, creating a clothing line, making music, or pursuing a creative endeavor—if you are feeling unsure about taking this step, know that you are not alone. It can seem overwhelming. Gather support from your community, from other mothers going through the same transition. Stay committed to your dream, lead by example for your children, and have the confidence in what you are building.
Now when someone asks one of us “What do you do?” we answer without hesitation: “I am an artist.”
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