As I sit here and take in what a crazy year it was, I find myself reflecting back on it. On the things I did, things I could have done better and how crazy it really got.
Last year, we had Mason (our son) in June. I had 5 weddings after he was born so this was my actual first full season with having a kid.
Life is different. Yes, “they” will all tell you how much life will change and that everything is different once you have kids. But in your head you always think that you will manage life pretty much the same.
I am here to add to “them” and tell you NO, no you will not. Life will not feel the same.
I had this perfect picture in my head that I would line up babysitters, pack the bag, give him a kiss and off I would go.
When in reality it looked like this…
My husband works out of town. He has switched jobs several times due to change of schedule, workload not being there, school..ect..ect. That is life. Well, he is my regular second shooter. So I planned on having him there for me this year too. When his schedule changed I thought, Okay, so his schedule isn’t lining up to have him shoot with me, not a problem I will find other second shooters. But if he isn’t here to shoot with me, the option of having him here to watch Mason while I shoot is gone too.
So finding help with childcare began. My family came through for me like no other. My husband’s schedule changed 3 times since November. So every time we would sit down together and make sure we all had all the dates covered and lined up, it would all change again. My Mom, Brother and Sister in law saved our butts this season. We definitely could not have done it without them.
My wedding season consisted of Emerald Lake, Banff, Canmore, Edmonton,Fox Creek, and of course Medicine Hat. I was all over the place this year.
I loved every minute of it but it was definitely taxing on our little family. Not to mention our additional trips to Edmonton to visit, work and check on the progress of our house.
Anyway…where was I? Oh yes, what our life actually was.
When you have a kid you don’t get to sit around until you have to shoot. You still have to make breakfast, clean up. Wipe noses and clean faces. You have to put toys away, take toys out. Get little people dressed, change diapers, and pack diaper bags. There is literally no down time. I was exhausted before I even started my day.
Life is just different.
I have said that several times since having Mason. Please do not take that I don’t love him or enjoy every minute with him, because I did not know love until I saw his face. But again, life is just different.
Ya know wedding hangovers? Well wedding photographers get those to. They are just a different type of hangover – it’s utter exhaustion. When you have a little person who wakes you up at 7am and wants to play all day, there just is no time to be hung over.
So wedding season aside, this was my first year shooting families as well. I used to specialize in Couples and Weddings until I had Mason (a blog on this is coming.)
With us building the house and moving I knew I was going to push the limits and try and book as much as possible. I had no idea what that meant in “family photography land”
Apparently people go crazy for fall photos haha. Ya, I just called you all crazy. But seriously, you are all crazy. From the middle of September to October 23rd I shot 44 sessions!!
That is 44 sessions in 43 days.
One day I shot 12 sessions and other days I would shoot 1 or 2. I had a few days off that Mason and I literally just stayed in and watched cartoons (yes my son watches cartoons, judge later haha)
This taught me to have priorities and to make lists. I went back to paper and a pen and made lists. Shoots, galleries, edits, blogs. I needed to keep track of where I was at. I had never talked to 40+ people all at once before.
I had so much fun. Seriously sooo much fun. I enjoyed meeting everyone that I did. I enjoyed spending time with all ages of kids and I really enjoyed fall and how much it meant to people.
But in the end, it took its tole on me and my family.
When my husband was home for 7 days I would spend our time out shooting and then locked up in my office editing away for days. I had to take advantage of his time being home because it was my “break” from my busy toddler. But that also meant I was missing out on family time and spending valuable time with my husband.
October 24th came, and I was done.
Every. Single. Part of me.
My mind was exhausted as well as my body. Again, I enjoy what I do to the tenth degree, but there is a point where you just need to say no. And this year, I missed that mark. I pushed myself so thin that I broke. So I have put my camera away for a few weeks (we will see if I can last) and am finishing everything up.
I don’t work during the winter, well I say that every year, but this year I may stick to it.
I appreciate how busy life got, but this year taught me that with a family life is different. There are more challenges. There needs to be days booked off that are not allowed to be changed. I need to be a better boss of myself and I need to make my family a priority as well.
As a parent, you guys get it. As a person, you get it. Sometimes it’s hard to forget we are people with families and loved ones and we need breaks.
I’m not sure what the whole point of this is. Maybe I’ll look back on it and remind myself to stick to my limit next year. But in any event, that’s been my season from my side of the lens.