Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A day in the life...

A day in the life of the Mom/Photographer is not easy, boring, or without some sort of drama.  To be fair, with 3 girls between the ages of 6 and 9, some days the drama tops out at full on Miley Cyrus (minus the bong...of course).  That being said, the term 'rewarding' does not begin to cover it.  I'm blessed with 4 amazing kids, a husband who works some long hours, a beautiful and very old home full of history (albeit too small for 6 of us and only MOSTLY renovated), a dog I love to love and a cat I love to hate.  I run my own business, I just finished a novel, and I secretly control the United Nations from my dirt floor cellar.  Ok, that last bit might be a slight fabrication.

The question was recently posed to me, how do I do it all.  So I thought, maybe it's time to show the world what a day in the life of a mom-tographer is really like.  

A Day in the Life of a Mom-tographer

I took my camera for a spin in my world.  Most days, it doesn't leave my side but 99% of the photos I shoot never make it to my site, my blog, well...my facebook...gets bombarded but even that doesn't get even half of what I shoot. Could I make a blog post about being a stay at home mom who runs a photo business something interesting?  Lets see!

I drag my ass out of bed around 7:30.  I know.  It doesn't sound that rough, but consider this:  I try to get time with my husband in the evening, this puts me to bed (and sleeping *wink wink*) around 11 most nights.  I sleep approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a time IF I'M LUCKY because my beautiful, wonderful, son whom I love...does not sleep well or even close to through the night.  The cursed alarm wakes me, I wake the kids, and hunt down my dear friend "extra strong brew" and my Canon lens mug...because I'm a photo geek.

Once the sand is cleared from my eyes, I grab my camera.  Despite the lack of hurricane chasing and traveling in my life these past few years; I still embrace my documentary training.  My camera is within arms reach 90% of the day.  This means there are some seriously ridiculous and stupid photos of crap no one wants to see.    My household might not be thrilling to everyone, but documenting my life with my family is important to me and provides me with constant challenges as an artist.  You try shooting within the 4 walls of your home every day for 2 years straight and tell me how interesting your photographs are!  Keeping it creative is a fun and constant battle...that I win.  Most of the time.

Set the camera down and get breakfast started!  It's amazing what color and light can do to create interesting images from things you see every day.  That's the basis of my 365 project this year which you can find at http://www.abbyelliottphoto.com/ under the tag "365-2011".

As I said, I have 4 kids.  As of now, they're all under the age of 10.  Spills...are a regular occurrence.  That doesn't mean that spills no longer cause me to bust into a string of tourettes inspired Fricks and Fudges...but it does mean that I have figured out how to get papertowels fast enough to stop the traveling river of *insert fluid here* that occurs after every spill thanks to our awesomely old and oh yeah have I mentioned...totally no longer level house.  *Breathe*  That being said, I can't even tell you how excited it was to have a spill this day!  Thanks for adding to the project my girls!

There's little time to sit when you're a mom.  Time to get lunches made and packed for the school age kids!  I love doing new things and getting the WTF is that look when I had it to them.  Inevitably...they like what I make.

Check the clock, time to get moving.  It's 8:20am, time to get coats/boots/bags you name it.  Time for school!  This is the time when meltdowns occur if there is going to be one.  3 school age kids+hurry time can be well, a test of everyone's patience and ability to moooooooooooove their arses (to say the least).  Most days it's easy peasy lemon squeezy...but there are those days that make you wish you'd stayed in bed!

After the ladies of the house are dropped off at the school, the Moose and I return.  1st things 1st, I get to check email while the little man empties the cabinets to construct towers of pots pans and drying racks in my kitchen.  My family always comes first but sometimes that means that my business stuff comes before play time, Mama's gotta make money to keep buying new toys and taking everyone fun places!

Email checked, a quick round through Facebook, the blog, and Twitter and I'm off to the races with getting the chores done.  Eww.  Chores.  This is the part I dislike.  Dishes specifically...do you recall my disdain for dishes and the dishwasher and people not doing things my OCD way?  If not, check here:  http://www.21stcenturydomesticgoddess.com/2010/03/abby-dishes.html  for a good laugh and a quick reminder of well...just check there.

I like to imagine myself climbing snow-covered mountains capturing spectacular images...but the closest thing to snow-covered mountains here are the drifts currently melting outside and the laundry detergent (as seen below).  Breathe deep, the fresh scent of mountain air...which smells nothing like "mountain fresh" detergent.

With 4 kids, a husband in a pseudo-construction industry, a 100 lb dog and a 25 lb cat...yes, he's f'in fat...there isn't a day that goes by without me running the vacuum around the house.  Moose LOVES the vacuum!  I mean LOVES it, to almost a disturbing level.  He will throw his toys to the side and sit in the vacuum's way.  I imagine it looks something like this coming at him...which suddenly makes me realize why he loves it!  Trippy!!

With the 1st round of chores under my belt, I get to sit down with my baby boy and spend some time playing.  In our house, if you're on the floor, you risk getting puppy kisses.  Don't worry, she only LOOKS like she's tasting him.
This day, it snowed but was far too cold for little man to play in it.  Instead, I brought the snow to him.  I know, Mom...but my floor isn't slate and my kiddie pool is in storage (my mom was/is the uber mom...she filled the whole kiddie pool in our kitchen for me!)

Lunchtime always brings messes.  So much for that floor I cleaned a couple hours ago!  Keep in mind, I've been shooting all day, random things...playing baby...the dog's huge nose...anything and everything.

Oh, did I mention, if things don't get spilled...they often will be spit...yeah...the life of a mom...

I do dishes constantly all day long, either by machine or by hand.  I HATE having a stack of dishes in the sink, dirty or clean stacks of clothes, filthy floors...you won't find that here.  I keep things ship shape.  Moose is coming off bottles now except for a few times a day (like when I want him to suck himself to sleep...we don't do binks) but I will always treasure the days of overtired gigglesnorts with my husband when I would freak out yelling "OMG!  ALL MY NIPPLES ARE DIRTY!"...he has such a sick mind!

Back to the computer to return emails, write articles, posts, and check in on my social networks.  Because ya know...my networks love me and miss me if I'm gone too long.  I once had someone report me missing because I didn't Facebook for 3 hours straight.  Kidding.  This is usually play-chef time for Moose.  I can't tell you how many times I've tripped over my own pots and pans on the floor.

Every mom's favorite time of the day...bath time!!  I love it in the kitchen because it serves multiple purposes, clean the baby, the cabinets, the counter and the floor all at once!  That and because he hates the big tub.  I don't know why.  He's a freak, but a cute adorable lovey freak that belongs to me :)

Off to my in home studio to get some photography work done.  Thankfully we have toys galore in this room to keep the Moose busy.  He usually ends up on the backdrop having his picture taken at some point.  

Did I just give the baby a bath?  Yes I did, so what better time for a diaper explosion that this??!  And we all know how I feel about diaper explosions!!

Back to the laundry room...as long as I've been taken away from my photo work, I might as well change loads.  Ha.  I said loads.  Right after a diaper explosion!  Funny!

By 1pm (if I haven't done a crock pot meal...which for the record, are the mother's savior) I get dinner going. After 5 years, I have quit caring if people don't want to eat veggies.  Get over it.  You're all healthy thanks to me being the eat your food Nazi.  I'm cool with it!  

Inevitably, while starting dinner, the dog and baby use the dog door as a play thing.  My kitchen is chaos.

Sweet sweet nap time!  This is my time to bust my hump and get my work stuff done.  Editing photos, shooting photos, networking, finishing posts that were started earlier in the day, and if I am lucky...time to blog on my oh so neglected writing page (yes, that means here).  All work and no play makes mom a dull girl.

You didn't think nap time would be that easy did you?  OH NO!  This is also my 2 1/2 hours of the day when I cram working out and showering into the mix.  There's no gym for me, mostly because going to the gym makes me want to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick.  All I need is my videos and bag and a few thousand excuses to not use them.  Really though, I'm doing well this year!  Down 16 lbs since Jan 1st!  WOOHOO!  Little thanks to the work out, but lots of thanks to Weight Watchers :)

If I take too long in the shower, I find an unhappy camper who's woken up to no mommy running to get him at the sound of him rustling in his crib.  This makes the mom in me sad, which means serious baby snuggle time.  

Luckily, he's easy to make happy again.  Coincidentally, so is the baby in the mirror!  

Time to get the girls from school.  It's a short 6 blocks from the house but it's not warm enough yet to walk.  Which is probably good because one of my munchkins has recently decided she likes school after a long few years of hating it, and is now the last kid out of the school almost every day!  This means the walk+wait+walk time would likely result in someone peeing their pants before we got home.  Trust me.  We've had close calls.

This also means time to refuel because the morning's 3 (ok, 4) cups of coffee have worn off.  My current choice is Sundrop-twice the caffeine of Mt. Dew...yeah.  Twice.  Jack me up baby, I need to get shit done!

If you haven't figured it out yet, I walk the OCD line very carefully.  I keep a clean house.  I try to be organized.  This means, you walk in the door from school...you hand sanitize.  This is not an option.

Homework.  My least favorite time of the day.  Let me just tell you, the 1st time I had to sit down as an adult and attempt 1st grade math homework, almost reduced me to tears.  I went to art school for a reason.  And can someone PLEASE tell me one time that you've had to use long division?  I can't...except helping my oldest with her homework this year.  Long division is stupid.  I mean really, long division is why God created evil geniuses who then could in turn create calculators!  Duh!  The teacher said, "What if you have to do long division and you don't have a calculator with you?"  Uhm ok well #1, I don't know what stone age brick of a cell phone you carry, but everything out now has calculators on them and I'm never without my phone.  #2, the real question is what the fuck would I be doing that would require long division to begin with?  Nothing.  NOTHING, I SAY!

After homework, it's time to pick up rooms.  No one wants to do it, but the rewards are art projects :)  This, also, is not something that is up for discussion.  It's your stuff, clean it up.  

Daddy makes his way home before dinner and the semi-chaotic house goes to full on wild screams of joy.  I doubt there would be more excitement if the  Jonas brothers walked through the door!  Daddy is the man!!

Dinner time!  One of the only times of the day that I get to sit down for more than 10 minutes straight.  That means YOU can get up and get the ketchup if you want to put it on your pasta, cuz it's gross, and mom's being lazy.

Also a time of day that I get to have a helper...and I'm very thankful for that (and him).

Dessert is always sweetest if you get to decorate it yourself!

I usually kick the family out to go watch some TV together and I whip out a last round of dishes real quickly.  I claim it's because it's faster to do dishes by myself, in reality, moms just crave a few minutes to themselves.

Bedtime for little ones...SAWEET!!!  Hugs, kisses and a story for my girlies.  Snuggles with my baby boy.

I get about 2 hours to chill after kids are in bed.  This time entails winding down, planning my next day, planning meals and grocery lists, planning writing projects and photo projects, planning rescue missions and hostile take downs of neighboring countries and those housing large stores of fossil fuels, talking to my husband and vegging with some Discovery Channel...admittedly I have a bit of a problem-er shall we say addiction to the new auction hunter shows!  Then it's off to bed time for parents, snuggles with my big boy *this would be my favorite time of day* (Photo from our wedding, thanks Kim!)

It's 11pm-ish.

On an average day I spend about 16 hours running non-stop.
On an average day I spend at least 2 hours hunting for the socks my son has taken off (just realized this today).
On an average day I run 1.7 loads of laundry...do the math bitches, it's accurate!
On an average day I was the equivalent of 2 loads of dishes.
On an average day I spend about 1 hour total of time doing things solely to make myself happy.
On an average day I photograph 200-300 photos for personal reasons...this is in addition to an average 100-200 shot for business.
I am fueled by caffeine, love for my family, and passion for my photography be it a paying job, a doc job, or shooting around my house.
Neither of my jobs (mom and photographer) are easy jobs and sometimes one, or both, can be thankless but it's what I love to do and I do it well.  Tomorrow, we start again.


Annie said...

Well Done!

powdergirl said...

Sounds like you're lovin' it!

Gorgeous picture at the bottom of the post, I like branches in silhouette : )