Laundry Specialist, 2021, From the series, ‘Resume of a Stay at Home Mom,’ Courtesy of the Artist.
Hear from the Artist
My name is Carrie Usmar and the work I am exhibiting in the Newport Biennial is called Laundry Specialist.
As a stay at home mom of 4 kids I spend a lot of time doing laundry. The clothes often end up in a pile on our couch like you see in this image because folding clothes is my least favorite task and I tend to avoid the jobs I don’t like doing. Yet I’ve realized this is the place I find most calming when I am overwhelmed. The mundane task of folding piles of shirts and matching socks quiets my mind from the fear of not being enough or the anxiety of my lengthy to do list that never ends.
Over time I’ve learned that folding laundry is a gift. A calming place to breathe and reset before heading back to the chaos that awaits.
This photograph sparked an idea for a series of images I am currently working on called “The Resume of A Stay At Home Mom.” Being a stay at home mom has felt inadequate at times. I often find myself in conversations trying to avoid the What do you do? Question. I’ve pondered why do I feel like this? how do other stay at home moms feel, and what would I put on my resume to account for the large gap in job experience?
These questions inspired me to get a piece of paper and a pen and write down all the job titles I’ve fulfilled as a stay at home mom over the years. I came up with atleast 16 different jobs like chauffeur, chef/server and waste management specialist. Then I thought about all the skills acquired like delegating tasks, active listening, being a team player, perseverance and many more. I thought it could be interesting to capture images of the kids and I demonstrating these skills.
The most difficult aspect of the project has been learning the art of self portraiture and getting my 2 year old to cooperate. But some of the best pictures are the ones I wasn’t planning on where the kids and I are being ourselves and the camera is capturing it all.
This image Laundry Specialist was one of my first experiences in a long time using a remote and making a self portrait. I found the process of capturing the images frustrating and was originally not impressed by the outcome. But the image continued to replay in my mind and exploring the meaning of it and digging into my role of stay at home mom and all it entails has made me truly appreciate what I do and proudly share it in my Instagram bio.