Portrait of a Mother | Kendra

I’m so excited to share the latest installment of my “Portrait of a Mother” series! Kendra Smoot and I were friends in early childhood. She moved away in elementary school and we lost touch over the years until she moved back to the Bay Area, now a mother of 3. While she’s a talented, sought-after prop stylist for commercial shoots and has an Instagram following over 50k, what impresses me most about Kendra is her down-to-earth mothering style. Before I came to her San Anselmo home, I asked her to share some of her favorite things about being a mama to Stella, Imogen, and Truman. Her responses guided what we shot together, although it unfolded quite organically. I arrived to find sticky fingers, breakfast remnants, unmade beds and happy, well-loved children. As Kendra greeted me, Imogen (“Mo”) climbed up her mom’s legs and flipped over–and this happened on repeat. Kendra continued chatting while flipping Mo simultaneously, effortlessly. Instantly I could sense that the whole vibe at “Casa Smoot” was laid-back, loose, and honest. I tagged along with bath time, haircuts, stories, songs, swings, and snuggles, all to a soundtrack of oldies and Kendra’s soothing voice. At this stage of life, she says,

“Despite my best efforts things are pretty messy and chaotic. We are all moving in different directions but connected in the same space.”

Kendra at home-29Mom and daughter look while mom holds baby boy

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Kendra’s reaction: “I know I’ll look at these images thousands of times in my lifetime, and they’ll be a capsule of this sweet moment. Every day raising three kids can feel a little chaotic and un-hinged, but these photos somehow distilled out the mess and just portray us having a lovely and meaningful time, which is exactly how I want to remember it.”

With each motherhood session I do, I’m becoming more and more convinced that I need to keep doing them. It’s one thing to do the things you do every day and hope that in the end they’ll mean something. But I have to wonder if you could see–literally–that that all the mom-ming you do is truly a beautiful and important thing, how would that affect your mindset? When you start to question the value of your role (like after this morning’s diaper blowout), or how you’re doing at it (when you just snapped at your daughter for not making her bed), you’d have a visual data point to show yourself that your children are happy in this little home you’ve made, that you really love them, and they truly love you back. What’s more, your kids will get to remember you as the fun, loving mama you are. If you’d like to see how your mom-skillz look through my lens, let’s make that happen. I’m going to flesh out the deets on how it will work, but for now, please email me!  [email protected]

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