This is going to sound crazy, but I feel like I finally experienced what it was like to truly be a stay at home mom last week.... and I quit my desk job two years ago.
Even though I've been a photographer for a few years now, I feel like I really "got the hang of it" just after Michael was born (thanks to a ton of education and trusting clients!!). I would edit during naps and bedtime and went to sessions while Matt was on Daddy Duty. I took photos, posted them online, and BLP was slowly but steadily growing. When we found out we were pregnant with James, it was only continuing to pick up!
Right before James was born, I signed up for a year long photography business course. I figured I've made it this far just winging it, so imagine what BLP could turn into if there were actually strategy and purpose behind it (I am the first to admit, business is not my strong suit!)! The course started in January, when James was less than a month old, and I've already learned so much (like, that I actually need to blog, ha!)... but in this season of life, it has all started to become pretty overwhelming.
I have an infant and a toddler and just meeting their basic, daily needs is a full time job in and of itself. If I was lucky enough to get them down for a nap at the same time, I would rush through dishes and laundry, then head back to my computer to edit. If James woke up while Michael was sleeping or at preschool, I'd lay him on a blanket on the floor next to my desk and write a blog post. While Michael played in his sandbox, I was posting on instagram or watching my courses. The only time I was alone and not in front of a screen, I was in the car on the way to a session.
And I got burnt out.
I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water and was just waiting for things to get easier. For James to get older. For Michael to grow out of his clingy phase. To get caught up on laundry. To get the hang of having two kids. If I'm being totally honest, I was probably pretty miserable to be around because something was always difficult (sorry, mom-friends!!).
On Friday, April 12th, I woke up completely and utterly exhausted. And for the first time in forever, I decided to "just be a mom today". I washed the dishes. I played in the sandbox. I sat on the porch and drank a cup of coffee while the boys were napping. We went for a walk. I put new mulch down and watered my plants. I did so many things I'd been neglecting that made me so incredibly happy.
I've taken the boys for a walk almost every day since that Friday, and somehow it still blows my mind that we can go for a walk whenever we want - because I'm a stay at home mom. I can stand in the front yard and stare at my lilies that are finally blooming. I can take a day to binge watch Very Cavalleri and the Kardashians while Michael plays with his trucks. I can plant flowers. I can ACTUALLY put the laundry away. I can sit on the porch and babble with James. I can do so many things I have been neglecting for as long as I can remember.
Because I am a mom first and a photographer second. This simple realization has created so much joy and has allowed me to be so much more present.
Now don't go and freak out on me - I'm not quitting and BLP isn't going anywhere! But I probably won't be on Instagram every day. I'm not going to blog as much as I thought I would. My online courses will always be there so I don't have to watch them today. My business may not grow and transform as much as I wanted it to this year, but I have my whole life to work.
Time isn't going to slow down and my boys won't stop growing. I'm a little embarrassed it took me so long to realize this... but better late than never, right?! In the spirit of really embracing stay at home momhood, enjoy some photos of life since becoming a family of four. :)
Michael loved James the minute he first came home!!
We went to Mimi's house for Christmas when James was only ten days old!!
Mommy took a selfie in the mirror so she could actually be in a photo, ha!
NUGGET!!! He was so tiny!
One month old! Look at that belly!!
Mama's first big outing with both boys to the fire station!
James's two months old!
The day Michael picked out his own outfit, hahaha!
Three months! Ahhh!
I think we officially have a blue eyed baby!
The love this kid has for his daddy is unreal.
He got a sandbox!!
Mama still trying to get in pictures! :)
Four months and might as well go to kindergarten!!
Easter morning. Y'all. Michael's hair.
Hopefully soon you'll see a post with a family trip to the beach so we can finally use all these beach toys!
Brothers!! I cannot wait till they can start playing together!
Getting creative with his new chair :)