Thursday, September 3, 2009


I have been wrestling in my heart for the past month or so about two things.
Being a full time mom, and being a full time photographer.
Currently, I feel like I'm not doing a very good job at either.

My day is a constant battle of trying to get Barclay to be still, to be quiet, so I can actually do some work. I'm realizing that it's not healthy to have a still and quiet 7 month old! They need to interact and play and crawl and squeal.
My day is also full of apologizing to clients for being late on their pictures, or not responding to an email in a timely manner. I'm ending up making even more work for myself.

Today is the kind of day I'm just ready to throw in the towel and just be a full time Mommy. That way I could actually schedule, and have a routine. That way my days could be filled with playing with Barclay and enjoying the squeals and messes, instead of being constantly frustrated by them.

But...the occasional client comes along that is just perfect. They are easygoing, they let me do my thing, the images reflect both of us, there's no bumps, there's no gritting to make things work. They just do...
I've been blessed with a few of those clients lately and it makes me want to press onward! I want to capture pictures for people...without pressure, with out the business aspect, without the constantly going back and forth with schedules and going back and forth with what they don't like or like. I just want to take pictures. But that's unrealistic.

I'm so blessed that I can stay at home and work, but I have to admit, it is HARD WORK. There is never a break from either of them. I feel like I am filling every nook and every cranny with SOMETHING. As soon as I'm done editing, I have to nurse, and as soon as I'm done nursing, I have to make a phone call, as soon as I'm done with that, I have to play with Barclay...It's never ending. NEVER.

And the housework...don't even get me started. I've already shot down my pride, shot down my fears and decided that I HAVE to get some help in that department. It's just impossible.

I need to cut back on clients, and thankfully I'm at the point I can. I just wish I could tell which were going to be a pleasure to work with and who is going to be difficult. Should I have a questionnaire?

"Do you have unrealistic expectations?"
"Are my photos of how the day actually looked and went going to cause all your dreams to come crashing down?"
"Are you high maintanence?"

Well, then maybe you should go find someone else.

"Do you just love moments caught in a photo?"
"Do you want someone to naturally portray you?"
"Do you want artistic images that just scream you?"
"Are you willing to give up control and let me do my thing?"

Then we are a perfect match.

Something has got to change. I sit here, I've eaten a lot of chocolate, and some baby food for a snack. (Gross!) I've cried 3 times already. I'm frustrated. My house is disgusting! I've slept on the sheetless guest bed the past two nights. I have emails pouring in all the time of people I have let down. Barclay is wining in his crib because he refuses to nap. I'm not good at either of these things and I want to be the best at both.


  1. so here's my thoughts --- take em or leave em --

    maybe you can do both, but maybe you need to be more upfront and realistic with your client. You know what you've got to do, and how long it takes, and realistically, how long it will be. If it takes 3 hours to edit a session, but you have 18 couples ahead of them, tell them it will be about a month or two turn around time. (BTW I'm making up numbers and it's probably evident!) Maybe email 2 or 3 teasers to keep em satisfied.... if they really want you to do em, they'll wait for the product.

    Brent and I are starting to film weddings. On our first one, we told the couple up front and afterwards that it's gonna be a good 2 or 3 months before they get the product back. It just takes that long. Now, between you and me, when I sit down and edit, it will take about 5 or 6 hours if it all goes well. When will I have 5 or 6 hours to do it? Sometime in the next 2 months.
    If you're laying in the bed splurging on chocolate and crying, and feel like you aren't taking care of Barclay, maybe you've got too much on your plate at once (my guess is you know this). If you're backed up with stuff to edit/clients to satisfy, tell your new ones you are booked till you get caught up.

    A side thought; I never have time to clean my house - really, its power cleaned once every two weeks. I have to work HARD to keep up with the dishes (we have no dishwasher).

    Best thing to remember is how happy Barclay is when he does play with you. He's like a puppy (LOL). The more attention you give him, the happier he is but he will inevitably whine when you don't give him attention (no matter how much love you give him). They don't grow out of it but do learn to play alone... Alina has just started playing by herself and occupying Raziel... its really nice but has been a long time in the coming.

    I'm sure you're being harder on yourself than is fair :-)

  2. I would say that you can always come back to being a photographer, but you can never get these days back with your baby. At least cut back on how many people you take on, but it seems like that may be a hard thing for you to do. So I would just encourage you to take a break until your child(ren) are older and their care is not so time and energy intensive. I know it is helpful to have the extra income, but I know (having seen how thrifty you are!) that you can make it work. And as an added benefit, you get to see how God will provide for you in ways you never imagined! I had thought about taking on a cleaning job just one or two days a week and getting my mother-in-law babysit, but then after talking to my husband and mom, realized that I really just want to enjoy this time with my kids, and there will be plenty of time later to earn a little extra cash. I certainly can't buy everything I want, but we ALWAYS have what we need and more. Just last month when we had a hard month with lots of extra expenses, I got a check in the mail from my OB-GYN office for $300. No explanation that I could think of except that I must have overpaid at some point. (I didn't call to ask why! :)) Anyway, all that to say, just be a full-time mommy! It's a wonderful and amazing and high calling, but to do it well it takes all your time and energy and a lot of grace!

  3. Helen Joy, this made me tear up. I was looking at your blogs to see if you'd posted your narratives (no rush!!!) since they're always so sweet and personal, and then I felt really guilty after I read this... I hope we weren't too demanding for our wedding! I know my mom broke contract giving Ashley her camera and having her take pictures AND video, but I just didn't have the heart to fuss at her. (I'm positive she didn't remember, and I think she was really demanding of everyone on the wedding day. Plus, I didn't know until two weeks later.) I hope we haven't been a contribution to your stress!

    For what it's worth, I think you're amazing. I'm having a hard time just being a fulltime copy editor and a fulltime wife. I can't imagine adding a baby into the mix. You're doing an amazing job - you still have friends over and cook and do stuff for people. I don't even do that stuff, and I just have Michael! And you do so much on your own - Noah's been away a lot lately. Most of all, you need to forgive yourself when you get frustrated. Choosing between photography and fulltime mommy-ing is a decision no one can make except you and Noah, but you definitely need to allow yourself not to be perfect. Your clients know when they sign on that you are in very high demand as a photographer and that you're a very dedicated mommy.

    I know we're 2 1/2 hours away, but please let me know if there's anything I can do. If you need to call someone in the middle of the night, I'm just getting off work, so you wouldn't be waking me up!


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