Light and Loveliness

Reflections of Emily Sue Allen

Family / Motherhood

Changes

It goes without saying that adding children to a family can bring about many changes. As more children have joined our family over time, I have learned that those changes cannot always be predicted or anticipated. I expect change, but I am always surprised by how change materializes in real life.

Some changes are in family dynamics. The children all have individual relationships with each other, and how they grow and change with time (and new additions) is fascinating. Everyone has a role to play in the family, and dynamics definitely change when a new baby arrives. It’s kind of like everyone’s personalities are tweaked just a bit to reach a renewed sense of equilibrium in the greater whole.

There are also changes in routines and schedules. Before baby’s arrival, I tried to think about what ‘normal’ might possibly look like with a newborn added to the crew. Our new normal looks nothing like what I thought it might. And in fact, more than just our schedules have changed…

http://solacearts.com

One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 22/52

My heart has long been torn between wanting to invest my creative energy into my photography business and wanting to do my best at this homemaking thing. Every time I have a baby, I step back from business for a few months to adjust and then leap back in, always trying to keep my foot in the door and convince myself I can do everything I want to do at the level of excellence I expect from myself. I want to be an excellent mom. I want to be an excellent photographer. I want to be an excellent writer, and cook, and _____. I just want to be excellent. Put forth my best effort and do my best work, no matter what I’m doing.

A few weeks back I started feeling that itch to shoot some family photo sessions and get my business engine going again (which involves a LOT more than just shooting sessions). I put out an offer for friends and started getting calls to schedule sessions, which was awesome, except that I realized all in one moment that I just can’t do everything that is required to actually have a forward-moving business. I want to. I would love to shoot sessions and create custom albums and wall prints and market my business and reply to client emails quickly. I want my clients to have a great experience working with me, and to have my personal attention and investment in their session.

I also want my children to know how important they are to me. I want to be able to give them the best of myself, to do everything I can to give them a great start in life.

One afternoon, my two year old was hanging on my arm while I was replying to emails for the aforementioned sessions, crying, begging to be held and asking me to read her a book. I tried re-directing her, offering a snack to get her to leave me alone. There was a moment that it all hit me…what it is I must sacrifice if I want to blaze my trail as a professional photographer in this season of my life. I realized just how often–as in, multiple times a day–I put off my children’s reasonable requests for my attention because I have other things (business things) I need to tend to.

To be clear, I do not think there is anything wrong with mothers pursuing dreams or having their own businesses. Moms of all types are heroes. It is just clear to me that right now, in my situation, my family really needs my full attention. The truth is, for years now I have felt guilty and uncomfortable with how my attention has been divided between home and business. In other seasons, I was able to figure out a reasonable balance to photographing a few events and a limited number of sessions a year, but it always felt stressful, and I had a hard time feeling like I could do anything well. I was just not ready at that time for big changes to the equation.

But now I am. So I have decided to close my photography business for the remainder of 2014, and possibly beyond. I’ll re-evaluate early next year to see where we’re at, but for now, I’m going to do this full-time undistracted mama thing. It was a tough choice but since making this decision, I feel more peace in my days, and of course my kids are overjoyed that we can read books all day long, head out to the park whenever we feel like it, and I’m not always spread as thin as can be (with the short temper to prove it).

I am still available to do family sessions here and there as they fit into my life, but only for charitable causes I want to support with 100% donations directly to the cause, or for friends who might be interested in trading services or goods. I imagine within a few months I will be going absolutely nuts if I’m not photographing anything, so I would hope that my friends will keep me in mind to photograph their families in exchange for some kind of trade.  I’ve already brainstormed a list of things that might be helpful/useful on our end for trade, but I’m really open to suggestions as well.

That is what is new around here! I welcome any questions about this transition and hope y’all will cheer me on as I head into a new season of surrender. Love to all.

2 Comments Changes

  1. jenn

    The work and balance of children is so hard. You, having 5, if I count correctly…it literally a hand full! I work part time only two mornings a week, but it is when the kids are in school. If I were you…with a little little…I’d stay home and savor those baby days too. Take photos of your own family for now! 🙂

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  2. Courtney

    Of course we’re cheering you on, Em!! YOU GO GIRL!! You need to do what you feel in your hear is best for you and your family. And that’s exactly what you’re doing! So, go out and have a great time enjoying your kids and investing in them…they’re only this young for such a short amount of time, as you know. And it’s the most important job a mom will ever have. LOVE YOU!

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