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The Body Beautiful: Jo Lien

Background: Currently residing in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, after growing up in the Northwest, I was a PhD student of literature before I shifted gears and got into photography.

Has your perspective and point of view changed since becoming a mom? And if so, how? If I am being completely frank, I remember feeling afraid that having children would derail my academic career. I knew that it didn't have to work out that way — that a lot of people successfully balance both — but I also knew that family life would weigh heavily on me. I miss the academic track at times, but I absolutely do not regret having my children or making the choices that I have made. I feel blessed to have my family.

What do you find most rewarding about motherhood? The conversations, the questions, the observations, the evolution of thinking processes. I can't tell you how proud I was when my 7-year-old told my husband that we should put the television show "Nova" "on the calendar every week. And then five minutes later, he's laughing about burps and farts. To me, childhood is such a compelling juxtaposition of interests and drives!

What do you find the most challenging or surprising? The conversations, the questions, the observations, the evolution of thinking processes ... oh wait, didn't I say that already? I often find that the greatest rewards of parenthood are also the greatest challenges.

How do you store/organize/display/showcase your photographs? I try to keep up on an annual yearbook for my family, and a lot of my work is displayed on my website. I'm currently working to get my images on display in my house and to print more regularly so that my images exist off of my computer.

Any recommendations for moms trying to capture those beautiful moments? Be present and be patient. Something beautiful always happens — always.

Any situation (good or bad) where you wish you had your camera? I photograph my family daily, so I don't often run into these kinds of situations, but when I do, I take the opportunity to really be present in the experience instead of wishing that I had my camera.

What makes you feel beautiful as a mother? When my children tell me something that they like about me, or when they play with my hair, or even just cuddle up next to me.

What advice can you give other mothers who might not feel beautiful in their bodies? To remember the way they felt about their own mothers when they were small children, to think about why they felt those feelings and to try to see themselves through their own children's eyes.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything and why? Everyone always tells you to cherish your children's youth because it goes so fast. I try to do that, but honestly sometimes being a parent is miserable. And if I had to do it all over again, I'd allow myself to acknowlege those negative feelings as legitimate and not feel guilty that I wasn't enjoying my children enough. Sometimes I'm blissed out, and sometimes I'm just not, and that's OK.

Where you can find Jo:

Website: Jo Lien Photography



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