work at home mom

My life as a mom photographer

Oh gosh. Those words used to make me cringe, you guys. A "mom photographer." Those were... excuse me for my small-minded-ness... but in my mind, those were the ladies who discovered that they could learn how to use a camera to take good pictures of their kids, and maybe even make a dime or two on pictures of their friends, as well. But me? Oh, I wasn't a mom. I was a photographer helping to support our household before I ever became a mom. And for some reason that made me feel... more legit? I don't know. What I was doing was hard work and I was mildly insulted to think others thought they could "do it too." Ridiculousness. Pure naivety. Mamas who are also photographers: Please forgive me for judging you. I knew not what I was doing. And I will never do it again. Especially because now I know, (besides being a work-from-home-mom and a photographer), that being even just a mom really does put you into a whole different category of it's own. A beautiful category where every mama should have her own crown and vacation days and be treated like royalty. Except we all know that doesn't happen. :) 

I am currently sitting at my parent's house... by myself. Feeling the total opposite of royalty. I am honestly a little ashamed to tell you this. But, I'm an open book, so here it goes. I sent my daughter away for a week while I am on-call for a birth. A whole week. Away from me... just so I can be prepared to work at the drop of a hat. We all know I went to Haiti for a week earlier this year, but that seemed different. That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And Sunday was safe in her home, in her familiar space, with her dad. But this time it's so different.

I don't handle stress well. Like, literally, my body gets sick and I am in pain after a significant amount of stress. Okay, maybe not even a significant amount. Actually, it's embarrassing how little stress I really can handle. But that's not what matters. What matters is that I know myself, I know my limits, and I have learned to respect the boundaries my body puts before me. So. In this case, my parents were headed out of town for a week while I was planning to be on-call for two births on their side of the state. The original plan was awesome. Sunday and I would stay with my parent's while Tommy was at his annual, two-week army training. I could get up at 3am and simply walk out of the door for a birth, not having to worry about waking Sunday up and taking her to a babysitter in the middle of the night. Perfect! But then... my parent's were invited to my sister's house for a huge milestone in the life of her family. And they had to go! Of course they did! But then that left me with a commitment to two mamas expecting babies, and at my parent's house without childcare for Sunday. She doesn't know anyone here except my parents. And on-call babysitting isn't really... a thing. So I did the thing I thought was best for her comfort and for my over-sensitive stress level. I booked her a flight to go along with my parents. 

They left yesterday morning and I am so sad! My mama heart is HURTING! What kind of mom sends their baby away just so she can maybe, possibly, work? I love my clients... I love birth... I love, love this opportunity I have in my life to do what I do and make a living doing it. I do not break commitments to my clients. But that little thing called comparison... it's ruining me today. I know there are mamas on social media who are thinking "What kind of a MOM does that?! I could never... would never send my TWO YEAR OLD away for a week." It's true. They are there. I'd call out their names if there wasn't a sure-fire repercussion. But they are probably reading this blog post right now, so yeah. I'm talking to you. :) 

I'm a working mama. Yes, I run my own business and I call all the shots. But, I do have bosses, you know. They are called my clients. And I respect them and care about them, too. There are pros and cons to every job, no matter how much you love it. There are days when I dread sitting down at the computer and times I walk into a session with my stomach flip-flopping around. There are hard moments to this work... just like there are hard moments in motherhood. But they are worth it. They teach me and stretch me. And as I type this, my baby girl is safe in her surroundings right now... probably waking everyone else up way too early because of the time change. She's spending time with her cousins, waiting in line for the potty (for real, I'd show you that picture if it wasn't inappropriate for the internet), and having wrestling matches. She's happy... and mama's clients will be happy. These are the things we do for people we care about. And... okay... I am kind of getting a little mini vacation out of the whole thing, too. I guess that's a pro.

I know it's been a while since I've blogged. I have been weighing so many options in my heart these past few months. I shared with you guys last year that I felt a longing towards motherhood... a new feeling... one that I wanted to listen to. I'm still figuring things out as far as where this little business of mine is headed and what my plans are. And this blog? Some days I want to write... some days I don't. I haven't treated my blog as a business tool for a while... and you know what? That doesn't seemed to have affected my income. Imagine that! I'm grateful for the lessons I learn through being a business owner and being a mama. I hope to share more with you all in the future, but I'm taking blogging off of my to-do list for now. I'll write when I feel led to. And today, I felt led to.

And if you read all of this - whew. That was a doozy. Thank you. <3

Working Mama

Working Mama

The blog has been kind of quiet because I've been busy living life.

For the first two years or so of Sunday's life (I guess she's not quite two, yet) I have thoroughly enjoyed having my thing. My photography, my business, my (tiny) social life. In fact, for a while those were the things saving me from the overwhelming reality that I was suddenly a mom - and 100% responsible for another little human.

Letters to Sunday | 14 months (our longest letter yet)

Letters to Sunday

My precious little one,

Oh how lovely you are. I have started telling you this daily. "You are beautiful. You are smart. You are going to do amazing things." You understand almost everything we say now, why not tell you how amazing you are any chance we get? I hope you always know that you are loved, that you are worthy, and that God has a plan for your life.

You are so affectionate, sweet girl. I love it. We love it. You give kisses galore and stop whatever you are doing every few minutes to climb in someone's arms to top off your cup of affection. After a 3 second embrace you hop back up and return to your activity, often delivering a thank you kiss. Daddy sings a little diddy, "Daddy LOVES kisses from the bay-beee!" And your face just shines! So much sweet joy.

I know I've mentioned this before, but, thanks to you I finally have someone to call silly pet names and my list for you is never-ending: sugar bear, sweet baby, honey baby, smoofaloogaroo. Okay I just made that last one up but it's totally representative of all the ridiculous things that come out of my mouth when I am racking my brain for a new cutesy name to call you. You love it. You love affection: verbal, physical, emotional.

Letters to Sunday

You also still absolutely adore the great outdoors. You and your daddy both… you inspire me so much. You never complain if you're too cold, so Daddy takes you out hiking with him as often as he can. But we have to constantly check your temperature! One time you guys went hiking without me and somewhere along the way you lost a mitten. Daddy had no idea and apparently neither did you because you didn't attempt to communicate the problem with him. But your poor little hand! It knew! It was pink and purple for a little-too-long. Of course the human body is amazing and everything was okay after a little while. But even through all of that, not a peep of complaint from you!

Speaking of complaints. You're still teething. Oh, teething. It's basically this constant thing going on that I am always forgetting about. You are pretty good about handling the pain from teething, but your body typically tries to let me know what's happening. Runny nose, watery eyes… I honestly forget about the teething escapade quite a bit. That's where your nanny, Allison, steps in. She remembers all these little baby things and helps me remember to check your mouth. Low and behold you've got some molars coming in already and every now and then you stop and ask to nurse at the most random times. That's when I know for sure it's your teeth that are bothering you. Poor thing.

Yes, we are still breastfeeding. Girl… I think you would breastfeed until you are 10 years old if I let you. Daddy and I went on our first overnight trip away from you and we were gone for almost two full days. Of course the second you saw me come up the stairs you asked to nurse! Mommy = nursing. It has always been that way, I'm expecting it to not always BE that way. :) At this point we only share that quiet time at home before night-night (naps and bedtime). You seem to have gotten the hang of our new normal and I am grateful it unfolded how I always hoped it would. I hope to nurse you until you are at least two years old - the recommended amount of time - but I am glad we've narrowed this time down to just at home, in the quiet of our own space. (Although, I'll admit, those teeth and your relaxed latch make it slightly challenging for me to enjoy the thought of you nursing for another 10 months… but the cuddles are too sweet not to keep going for so long!)

You love your nanny Allison and her son, Aiden. When they come in the front door you squeal with delight and 99% of the time you would rather be in Allison's arms than Mama's (except that 1% of time when you would prefer to nurse). I can't tell you how comforting it is to know you feel safe in her arms. Aiden helps teach you to share and also to fight your own battles. He has also taught you this cute cry that you do when you are tired (I'll have to get it on video for you!) and other sweet baby things. I love the relatinship you have with both of them and I feel so safe leaving you in their company. They are moving in a few months and you probably won't cry about it as much as I will. I hope I will always be able to tell you of the sweet adventures you shared with them.

You are building a stronger relationship with the puppies. Hawkeye has always been so interested in you and kind of obnoxiously affectionate towards you while Traveller has always sweetly avoided you. However, it seems you appreciate Traveller playing hard-to-get and you are drawn to her more often than Hawkeye. It's pretty cool how she understand so well that you are our baby and she has to make smart decisions around you. Your daddy and I are greatly enjoying watching the relationships between the three of you develop over time. It's such a unique bond.

Food. I can't decide if it is a good or a bad thing that you have inspired me to stop and rethink our diets. Okay, it's a very good thing. At this time, though, I have been trying to learn a healthy balance in my personal relationship with food. This is proving to be a challenge for me and unfortunately you have been along for the ride. We waver between days full of nutrition-packed-meals and days of empty-nutrient meals (and an emotionally defeated mama). Treats are okay, every once in a while. The problem is that if I gave you a treat every time I wanted to, and so did your grandma, and your Thia, and your daddy… well… when would you ever eat well? I'll save the rest of my dieting diatribe for another post. In the meantime, I want to document some of your favorites. You absolutely love sweet potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and bananas. Lately you have passed on all meats, which confuses me because you used to love them. You drink milk and water and you do appreciate a sip of my freshly juiced fruits and veggies every now and then. If bread, chips, blueberries or bananas are in sight you will not eat anything else. And so begins our days of fit throwing and toddler-ness.

You are an expert communicator. Using grunts, squeals, pointing and sign language, we communicate fairly successfully. In addition, you do say Daddy, Mama, Bye, No, Yeah, All-Done, Night-Night and a handful of other requested words (as in, I say "Can you say _____??" And you do. :)) Of course we are consistently trying to teach politeness and good manners. This is probably our biggest challenge. But, you're a toddler and we have many years of required consistency before Daddy and I will likely see the fruits of that labor.

You experienced your first plane right at the start of 2013. Me, you, Grandmommie and Aunt Jacqulyn all flew to New Orleans together. The trip was quite a doozy, but you faired well on the plane thanks to a lot of nursing treats. :) Typically you are such a great little travel buddy. You enjoy riding in your carseat, and you really seem to do just fine when your routine is thrown off a bit. But, this trip proved to be too much after a week of being out of your own environment already (due to the holidays). Of course we learned a lot and I hope future trips only continue to improve from here on out. :)

Sunday… we love you so. We love the personality of yours that shines through more each day. We are always talking about "how much fun this age is." Each new day, new discovery, new lesson and bits of personality shining through… it all brings such fullness to our lives. You inspire us to be better people, have a happier marriage, and keep our focus on what's important in life. Thank you, baby.

We love you so.

Love, Mama

It's all about our perspective

Option 1: My child keeps getting herself into nooks and crannies and thinks she is stuck when she's not. It's kind of annoying.

Option 2: Sunday crawls into these places and cries out for help... and I get to rescue her. I am her every day hero!

Option 1: I am constantly picking up the toys in this living room. It gets SO OLD.

Option 2: I'm picking up toys all the time, but at least I am off my butt moving around and the task literally takes less than 2 minutes. It's good for me to move!

Option 1: I am so tired of cooking three meals a day and cleaing up the kitchen 3 times a day. It's like I live in here.

Option 2: For the first time in my life I am cooking a lot more meals than I am buying and I'm really excited because I am eating healthier than ever and saving so much money.

Having the right perspective is something I am constantly working on. There are days when I simply throw in the towel and pout all day. But then there are days when I can easily see the good in situations. I think a lot of times I blog because it forces me to find the good in a situation. I like keeping this blog as a place of encouragement and positivity, but I also don't want you all to think I don't have my bad days or tough moments. I do. Remember this day?

Okay, end of my public service announcement. :)

Happy weekend, friends! I'm off to my last wedding of the season and the kickoff weekend for Fall Family Portraits! I have a few slots left and I JUST updated the availability on the info page. Shoot me a message if you would like to book!