Monday, January 01, 2007

Mom to Mom: Élena Nazzaro

Happy New Year!!!! I'm pleased to introduce an artist/mama whom I greatly admire...

Mom: Élena Nazzaro
Of : Sophia (3.5 years old) and twins Peter and Angela (2.5 years old)
Where: NJ



1. In what ways has becoming a mother changed you?

That's such a tough question! In one way, I would say it's changed everything. But on the other hand, who I really am deep inside has never changed. I think I am way less selfish now, and have had a crash course on What Really Matters. Things I used to think were important seem so trivial to me now.

One thing that I never would have guessed is how having kids has completely changed how we eat -- after reading Super Baby Food, I started making my own baby food and figured that if all those artificial colors and flavors were unhealthy for kids, they couldn't be too good for the parents either! We started eating more organic food, less processed, more from scratch. After reading Food Revolution and learning what goes into producing the food we eat, we made even more changes. (For one thing, I will probably never eat another burger, and I won't let my kids eat one either.) They certainly know what chocolate tastes like, but they also love pumpkin muffins, tofu, and broccoli. Since I cook a lot more from scratch, they hang out with me in the kitchen and love to "help" -- I think being part of preparing the food goes a long way towards getting them excited about eating it.

2. What is one tip you would like to share about mothering?

Everyone is on the same team. Really. Mothers need to stop letting others dictate what being a good mother means. Not Martha Stewart, not that horrible nazi-esque What To Expect series of books, not the super-mom at the park or playgroup, not anyone you see on TV. This is seriously one of the most important things I've learned about being a mom. What works for me may very well not work at all for you. We've been blessed to have hours where one of us can be with the kids all the time, in our house. Not everyone is so lucky. I work, not only because I need to, but because I want to, and the fact that I have my family's and employer's support is wonderful. I try to cook as much from scratch and organically as possible. If you open a can of Beefaroni in front of me, I will say absolutely nothing about it, because obviously this works for you. That doesn't mean I won't try new things, or ever stop learning, because Lord knows these kids are growing and changing and hopefully, so am I. But can we please stop being so critical of each other, and maybe join forces to make this world a better place for our kids?

3. What is your creative outlet/medium?

I paint, sing, knit and crochet, design websites, doodle, cook, chalk, and make up all sorts of goofy things to do with small kids. I have no reservations whatsoever towards dancing and singing to whatever's on the radio - my kids are well-versed in Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, and the Sesame Street catalogue.

4. How do you find time for creativity?

How can I not find time? I learned after having severe post-partum depression with my preemie twins that I needed to create every day to stay healthy and sane. I coined the phrase "Art is more important than laundry" and will happily step over the pile of (clean) clothes to get to my paints. I'm fully present for my family, work hard for them, and enjoy sharing art with them, but once they're in bed, I don't waste my time with extra chores so the house can be spotless.

5. Why do you blog/journal?

An overwhelming need to share and record what I'm going through, or to get feedback on artwork. I try hard to journal on paper every morning and go for a walk (again, sanity).

6. Which blogs do you frequent?

Egotistical Productions - animation, illustration, and what my brother calls "the random drippings from his brain."

The Jersey Tomato - daily life in the garden state from one who knows.

In Medias Res - gorgeous photography as well as knitting, and a lovely design portfolio.

Dooce - required reading for every mama. She always makes me laugh.

Cute Overload - get your daily requirement of squealing, right here.

I am also addicted to looking up old Sesame Street and Muppet Show sketches on YouTube.

7. Who are some bloggers that you would like to meet?

I have actually met fellow mama-superstars Jill Althouse-Wood and Michelle Abeyta. We met online and though we don't live anywhere near each other, we have a tight support group and are always phoning/emailing/conference calling each other for support and ideas. We met face-to-face right after my twins were born. They totally and completely inspire me.

Jill is about to become a published author. Her website, 'Divine Mother, Mortal Me" is about her balance of creativity and motherhood. She not only writes, but designs, photographs, works in textiles, and is now starting a web-design business with her husband.

Michelle is a graphic designer, licensed illustrator, pet-portrait painter, and now, hopeful children's book author who owns her own gallery space in Georgia. She just launched "Rufus and Lucy", a site based on her book series, that is sending stuffed versions of the main characters all over the country on a grand U.S. tour.

I'd love to meet Claire (of Loobylu), Andrea (Superhero Designs!), Penelope (Illustration Friday super-genius) - they are also some of my favorite blogs for their uplifting spirit and ongoing creativity.

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posted by Wendy at 5:48 AM

6 Comments:

Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

"Mothers need to stop letting others dictate what being a good mother means." Amen- this goes especially for mother-in-laws!

10:54 PM  
Blogger LoriLaurieLauri said...

I just linked over to your blog from somewhere...now I can't even remember where...for the first time and, WOW! What a wonderful post!

This whole paragraph:

"Mothers need to stop letting others dictate what being a good mother means.... What works for me may very well not work at all for you....If you open a can of Beefaroni in front of me, I will say absolutely nothing about it, because obviously this works for you. That doesn't mean I won't try new things, or ever stop learning, because Lord knows these kids are growing and changing and hopefully, so am I. But can we please stop being so critical of each other, and maybe join forces to make this world a better place for our kids?" ...This is the best thing I have read in a long time! I am so sick and tired of everyone telling me what I should or should not be doing with/for my son...he has some special needs and I definitely have to be his advocate, especially in school...but they have NO IDEA what it's like to live with him, or even what is causing his awful behavior sometimes. But they always feel the need to butt in!

Anyway...not meaning to leave a novel here, but I am so glad to read this! I will definitely have to check out Elena's blog as well. I'm also wondering if you wouldn't mind me saying something about this on my blog and linking to over here.

Thank you both! Just what I needed to read.
Lauri
http://lorilaurielauri.blogspot.com

5:13 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Be my guest....link away, Lauri!

6:04 PM  
Anonymous meesh said...

i love elena's thoughts about mothers understanding we are on the same team. mothering is unique and complex. a universal guide for raising splendid well rounded humans does not exist.

as mothers we do the best we can. some days it looks sweet, everyone is washed, bellies are full of whole foods, we've made it to the park or read books together, maybe created a one of a kind painting to hang on the fridge.

other days deadlines must be met, there are no clean socks, the potty needs to be scrubbed, the boys have watched too much television and a box of cheese noodles and frozen fries is what's for dinner.

there are many definitions of what a good mother means. good mothers work, good mothers stay home, good mothers work at home... ultimately we are all on the journey to raise good kids.

11:45 PM  
Blogger pinkcoyote said...

i loved reading elena's interview! i completely resonate with the What Really Matters crash course and that she steps over laundry to take care of her creative needs. in our house, it is not always clean laundry we step over! it is always great to hear more moms talking about organic food. and i'm inspired to get to her blog and see if she has recipes as i am not as cheffy as i'd like to be.

1:58 AM  
Blogger herself said...

Elena, you were the first blog I ever found (before your daughter was born!) and you opened up that world to me. You look absolutely beautiful and so do the kids.

I'm so glad to read this interview and see how well you are feeling and doing.

Such good news!

10:32 PM  

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