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A Mother’s Work:  Antoinette Hemphill,  Mamabeasts

A Mother’s Work: Antoinette Hemphill, Mamabeasts

Some girls come into this world knowing exactly what they were meant to do with their lives.  From the moment my daughter could speak, she has been telling me she is going to be a teacher some day.  She is so sure of herself that I believe this will probably happen.  But for many of us, the path ahead is only made clear with time.  School years are spent in a variety of classes and subjects, then our jobs in the “real world” lead us here and there, all the while wondering what we want to be when we finally “grow up.”  Somewhere in the midst of all this, many of us start a family.  Adding babies to the mix is amazing, but also complicating. As we survey our increasingly full and multi-faceted lives, we are often overwhelmed by the sense that we can’t possibly “do it all,” and that we, like so many women before us, must choose between the twin priorities of work and family.

A Mother’s Work:  An Introduction

“A Mother’s Work” is a blog series challenging the traditional concept that women can’t prioritize both their careers and their children. Featuring female entrepreneurs who are also mothers, “A Mother’s Work” showcases women who are passionate about running their business while also raising a family, each with interesting and inspirational stories to tell about their continuing journeys through career and motherhood, and their own challenges and victories in the age-old quest to balance work and family.

Born of my own winding journey through years in the finance industry, starting a photography business on the side, and finally making the leap to follow my heart and launch a full-time career as a professional family photographer, all with children in tow,  “A Mother’s Work” is inspired by the countless women I have met along the way who are managing the same balancing act as me, and my effort to share stories of entrepreneurship, of motherhood, and of hard work, each of them unique in their details yet uplifting and energizing in the familiar passion for work and family.

A Mother’s Work is baby raising, but it is also risk taking, dream chasing, business owning and choice making.  And yes, it’s cliche to say it, but a Mother’s Work is never done.

I hope my readers will find inspiration in these stories of courage and determination and hard work.  For me, it was so scary making the leap to entrepreneurship because I had two kids ( and one of the way! ) and I wasn’t sure how I would manage it all. My hope is that “A Mother’s Work” encourages others to persevere in finding what they were put on the earth to do, and reminds them that, though it might look like a hot mess at times, we really can “do it all”.


A Mother’s Work:  Antoinette Hemphill | Owner, Mamabeasts

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Meet Antoinette Hemphill.  She is the founder of Mamabeasts — exercise classes and a fitness community for mothers. She has been inspiring Boston area Moms to ‘get it done with their little ones’ since 2011.  Antoinette is also a mother to three boys and is an inspiration to so many.  She suffered severe post part depression and anxiety after the birth of her third son and she credits exercise for contributing to her recovery and the success of Mamabeasts! Mamabeasts -Feature-Boston-Photogreapher-Cara-Soulia-Photography_0024.jpg Personally, I have been taking classes at Mamabeasts for a little over a year now and I can tell you first hand that it is ah-ma-zing.  I don’t need to pay for childcare while I exercise, the workouts are challenging, and the community is welcoming and kind (and it doesn’t hurt that the tank tops are super cute!)  But by far, one of the best things about Mamabeasts, is that the kids get to see their moms exercising, being awesome role models — demonstrating how important it is to take care of themselves!

The person who first introduced me to Mamabeasts told me that it ‘saved her life’ after the birth of her first son and I believe it!  I remember exactly how lonely and isolating it can be when you have your first baby and I only wish I had had Mamabeasts when my first son was born.  It is not enough to be motivated to work out, you need a tribe of people to cheer you on when you aren’t feeling motivated to work out.  And Antoinette has created just that.  Read on to find out more about Antoinette’s journey and find out how you can try out Mamabeasts for free!!

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  1. Tell me the inspiration behind Mama Beasts

Mama Beasts really came from wanting to create a community and workout during a season of life that I personally found incredibly confusing and difficult – motherhood. As a new mom, I had an experience with exercise where it truly saved me on an emotional level. It made me see a stronger and more capable version of myself at a time in life when I needed it. There are plenty of Mommy and Me classes out there, but I created Mama Beasts for the moms. You can take your babies and young children – and they benefit immensely. But I wanted moms to have an empowering and challenging workout that was something they looked forward to and gave them a spark for the rest of the day. It is an hour they give to themselves – but in a way that they can actually do it. I also wanted to create an environment that was equally challenging and supportive. The classes itself, the community, the eventual challenges and play-dates – I wanted it to be a celebration of motherhood, of women, and friendship – and an antidote to the struggles that often come along with this season. After I had my third son, I got to test out my creation first hand as I experienced a pretty severe postpartum depression and anxiety. Mama Beasts – both the workouts and sense of community – were a huge part of my recovery.

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  1.  What is your favorite part about being your own boss?

I think it’s the ability to be creative and the opportunity to constantly (more…)

Sweet Saachi & Family, Needham Family Photo Session

Sweet Saachi & Family, Needham Family Photo Session

Larz Anderson Park Fall Family Session Cara Soulia Photography

There’s something so beautiful about fall in New England, even when it’s rainy and dreary. It was such a delight to meet up with sweet little Saachi and her family at Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, Massachusetts for a family photo session filled with fall foliage, despite a rainy start.

Needham Fall Family Photography

It was drizzly the morning of our session, and I wasn’t sure if the family would want to go ahead with the photos. But, I knew there was some beautiful foliage at the location we chose. It was not your typical beautiful fall day in Brookline. I talked to mom on the phone and we decided to go for it! This family had just moved to Needham, MA from San Francisco so they were used to this kind of weather. They wanted to capture the magnificent New England foliage after moving here from the West Coast. I’m so happy they decided to brave the weather.

Larz Anderson Park Fall Family Session Cara Soulia Photography

When we met up, the rain was definitely on and off. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything too crazy, so we were able to have a successful session. Mom’s father came along and he was so sweet with baby Saachi. You can tell she has really stolen his heart.

Larz Anderson Park Fall Family Session Cara Soulia Photography Larz Anderson Park Fall Family Session Cara Soulia Photography

And who can blame him? Look at those eyes! Her beautiful, unique eyes were piercing. A sharp contrast to her darker hair. Mom and Dad also had darker hair and eyes, so I had to ask about them. Mom said that her sister has stunning, light eyes just like Saachi’s. They are just so mesmerizing and I loved how the bright colors of the leaves and the bright colors of her eyes came together.

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Family of SIX! | Needham Family Photo Session

Family of SIX! | Needham Family Photo Session

Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography

Last October, I met up with this family at the Arnold Arboretum in Roslindale, Massachusetts on an unseasonably warm afternoon!

Needham Family Photographer

This wonderful family of six lives in my town, and although I had never met them in person before our session, we have a number of mutual friends. After spending time with this family, I was struck by how comfortable I felt with them, and how down to earth they are — I can see why we have friends in common!  Their oldest daughter, Claire, was about to get braces before the session, and Mom wanted to have some photos taken before that big event!  And, of course, she wanted to capture the rest of the family, too, at this time in their lives.

I was so, so impressed with how well-behaved and easy-going the kids were. I know how hard it can be to keep children in line (with three of my own), so to watch everyone being so sweet, was awesome.  These parents are certainly doing something right!

Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography

An Arnold Arboretum Autumn Family Portrait Session

The children started out a bit shy, but by the end of the session, they warmed up and were running around and playing.  I’ve found that with young kids, it’s best to keep moving and treating the session like a playdate with a friend rather than a chore. I love the candid moments that come from playing—as opposed to me telling them to hold various poses for a long time — like this spontaneous sort of “follow the leader” image — I didn’t line them up, but they managed to get into a size/age lineup, with little Charlie leading the pack!

Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography

Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography Arnold Arboretum Family of Six Cara Soulia Photography (more…)

Fun with friends at the Arboretum

Fun with friends at the Arboretum

Last summer, I met up with this awesome crew at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts for a family photo session in one of my favorite local spots.

This photo session was particularly special to me because these beautiful people are good friends of our family! Mom has always said she’s a fan of my work, so her husband surprised her with a gift certificate on her birthday for a photo session. What a great birthday present!  Good job Dad!  Although, it’s not really surprising he would give such a thoughtful gift.  Mom & Dad are both sweet, caring and considerate — they’re the kind of people you are always so happy to see.

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