The Mommy-ographer…

This one is a special post for all the Mommy-ographers who read Go{4}Pro. So we’ve all admitted that it’s a little harder than we anticipated. There is a lot more to a photography business than just picking up a camera. Turns out that with that camera came workload… and a need for education… and blog stalking (you know we all do it) and ordering appointments (I hope)… and Marketing…. and Development….. and Blogging…. And Profit & Loss Statements  ….  and ….. and…. AND.

But Oh Heck! If I’m doing all of that who’s cleaning the bathroom? Who’s helping with homework? Who’s reading Stories and Volunteering in classrooms? Who’s cuddling with my husband? Who’s making dinner – heck who’s going to the grocery store so we have dinner? WHO?

This really isn’t just the photographers, this is for all the moms who have to work outside the home in so many different fields. The word Balance become a dirty awful word that might as well be 4 letters because that’s sure how it feels.

Well we’ve talked about this stuff a lot here, and I really love that I can say ‘we’ because I really do feel like it’s been a conversation and I so appreciate that! First I admitted how I was feeling, next I told you what I’m doing to try to find my balance and now I’d like to elaborate on that for you and try to share with you some ideas from this mommy-ographer’s point of view.

So I wanted to tell you a few things that make me really happy and help my family stay connected!

1. FHE. Family Home Evening. Every Monday night (always) is dedicated as our special family night. I seriously encourage everyone to try it out. It’s our night, the kids look forward to it and we all know that everyone will be home! We start ours with a prayer, next we sing some silly songs. After that we just enjoy each other, sometimes we play games, other times we have a little lesson. It can be about anything from learning our phone number and talking about stranger-danger to a family service project or a special scripture story. We end every FHE with a treat. Sometimes we go get ice-cream, other times we make treats at home… I love having this time to just enjoy my little family!

2. Date Nights. What would I ever do without date nights? I crave them and look forward to them in between each time! We’ve done some creative stuff to make sure they happen too! We of course do the normal hiring and paying a babysitter but we like to go out a lot so that get’s really expensive fast. So we created a date night swap. We and 3 other families committed to each take a different Friday night. So for example Taylor and I were the 2nd Friday of the month and on that Friday we had 8+ kids running all over our house for a few hours but the other 3 nights… You guessed it! Our cute little monsters were running around someone else’s house! [insert wickedly happy laugh here]

3. Volunteer Swap. I have a friend who is the editor of a magazine and a stay at home mom so she get’s busy the way I do! We create a schedule each month where we trade off. One day a week I add her kids to my day for several hours and one day a week she take mine on… Leaving each of us with a few solid work hours of peace and quiet to tackle the to-do list!

4. Dinner Plans under 30 minutes. I’m not very good at it but if I have a week’s menu it really helps. I also notice that for me if I purchase one weeks worth of food at a time and keep it in the fridge I do much better! As soon as it hits the freezer, I’m always in trouble because I never remember to pull it out until I’m hungry because it should be dinner time! So than all I have is an ice-block of meet, three kiddos acting like I forgot to feed them that day and a husband on his way home who’s probably really hungry because I forgot to pack his lunch. Hmmmm, when this happens it is not a hot mom moment. Now I really enjoy cooking so I like being creative and have found that when you have fresh ingredients it’s actually very easy to have a good dinner ready in 30 minutes or at least prepped in 10 and in the oven for an hour! I can have seared lamb with a mint pan sauce, caramelized brussels sprouts (oh don’t you dare knock them till you try mine – yes I heard what you were thinking) and sweet potato mash on the table in 30 minutes as long as it’s all fresh and ready to go – amazing food can be fast!

5. A Clean House. So I told you that I created a mini cleaning kit for each  bathroom and made sure anything I might need would be super easy to get to! I also started throwing a load of laundry in first thing in the morning (learned that from Alicia Caine) and that way I worry about one load a day – not a version of Mt Vesuvius. I’m also not ashamed to admit that I hired a high schooler to come and do the deep cleaning usually about once a week. If I had to give something up… I was happy to let the mop go!

6. Timers. I’ve started using my phone to remind me when it’s time to switch gears. It goes off when it’s time to pick up my daughter, when I should start thinking about making dinner and of course when I need to wake up in the morning. Timers can be wonderful time-waster eliminators!

7. Turn it off when it’s off! I’ve recently become obsessed with Dr. Laura. If you’ve never heard of her you should get her book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands – your man will thank you! (I get all my books on audio and put them on my iPhone, I listen to them when I’m driving in between ordering appointments and sessions.) Anyhow – recently she was talking to a caller and she said when you turn it off, turn it off! In other words… When you’re working. Great! Work. But when you walk away from your computer or your camera or whatever… WALK AWAY! Not just with your feet but with your mind. It’s okay to turn off photography sometimes! No one will think you less passionate, only more properly devoted.

So there you go… A few ideas dedicated especially to the mommy-ographers. Tell me what you think, questions you have. What else would you like to hear about?

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  1. Kelli says:

    Your insights are always refreshing! Keep doing what you are doing; I know you are inspiring a lot people.

  2. Cherie says:

    Do I dare ask for your brussel sprout recipe? I can’t remember ever eating one. Too many horror stories. (From my husband)
    Anyway, your idea on the timers made me think of something that my mom used to do with us as kids and I thought I would share. Maybe it will work for other people too. When we were supposed to be cleaning our room or doing other chores, she would set the timer for 10 minutes and we would see how much we could get done in 10 minutes. It actually worked really well and I still do it. We made it into a game and were able to more in a half hour than we would normally do in an hour. I know that if I set a timer for each bathroom in our house they get cleaned faster and just as well if not better than without it. And I don’t dread spending an hour cleaning bathrooms, I just take it 10 minutes at a time. And all 3 bathrooms usually only take me 30 minutes.

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Thats an awesome idea! I did it for my kids for a little while but sort of stopped. I’m going to try it for them and me starting today!

  3. Marissa says:

    This is such a great list! I’ve been 100% SAHM for the past 10 months and I worry about how I’m going to manage it all once I start booking clients and (fingers crossed) grow. This list is great to remind me that it can be done if you just put your expectations out there. Plus I wouldn’t mind giving up that deep cleaning too 😉

    The date night swap is a FANTASTIC idea!

  4. Shannon says:

    Thank you for your wonderful advice! It means so much to me to hear it from someone going through exactly what I am going through!!

  5. Very comforting to know I’m not the only one who can’t even get to the grocery store! Thanks for the honest insights~

  6. Adrienne says:

    THANK YOU for sharing these great ideas! These posts have really motivated me to get my life (and home) in order.

    One thing that has helped me with meal planning is E-mealz. I’m not a good meal planner nor am I creative with food so I signed up as soon as I heard about it! Each week I receive a meal plan made from the sales items at the grocery store of my choice. I also get a detailed shopping list too. It’s made things so much easier for me… one less thing for me to think about! Obviously you don’t have a problem with meal planning like I do but maybe this could help someone else. 🙂

  7. Krystal says:

    Leah, I think these are great ideas! Some of these things we have been doing or trying to do for years. Others we are still working on. My kids are ages 7-2 and we homeschool them. Whatever a persons opinion on homeschooling it can’t be mistaken as easy. Squeezing every min. out of my day to be able to do all that I do has become an ongoing pursuit. The one wide reaching thought that has been the biggest help has been to streamline my days and my home. For us that means those 30 min. meals. Some batch cooking for the freezer (it’s the best!). Keeping my home clean because a really dirty home takes far longer then cleaning often when it’s not too dirty. Getting tools and enough of them to clean everything right. Getting rid of anything in our home that we don’t need and for that matter, try to “need” less. Buying less clothing then the avarage American and making that clothing as mix and match as I can. Trust me this really does save time. Getting rid of TV in our lives. We own one and use it for movies but even those we don’t watch too much. Keeping our home organized. When it’s not I waste a TON on time. Organization and streamlining your life does not have to be hard to figure out but if someone is struggling with just look to someone who does know how to do it and ask a ton of questions. That is how I figured it out.=)

  8. hi leah,
    i am taking a moment away from complete craziness …. so busy right now with the holiday season , i think i may have scheduled more than i should have ….
    how about a post on how to properly schedule yourself during the busy season and learning how to say NO and well- you know what i mean….
    anyway – i have taken a little time to glance through the last few posts and oh my – i am feeling and thinking and doing all of these things you are talking about ..
    thanks for writing it all and making me feel not so alone !!!
    when i get another breather , i will write again to comment more …
    thanks for posting all that you do and keeping it real !!!!
    terri

  9. Carrie says:

    I love this! Why the heck have I not been doing the “keep it in the fridge” way?!!!! That would seriously change A LOT in my dinner prep time!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Krystal says:

    I have been really trying to work extra hard on turning it off when it’s off. I find that I don’t always know the next time I’ll get to work. When I schedule my work time then when I’m not working I CAN turn it off because I know I’ll actually have time later!
    Funny the games we have to play on our minds!

  11. Deanna says:

    These are all great ideas and I’m so glad I got to read them right at the beginning of my photography (maybe) career. And I’m definitely going to check out the E-mealz.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Beautifully said. Lots of great tips and reminders. Thanks Leah for the inspiration!

  13. Kate says:

    Do you sleep? How about hubby makes his own lunch? Sounds like your taking way too much on to begin with. I feel exhausted just reading this post and comments feeling inadequate as I certainly couldn’t “do it all” without my husband doing it with me. I don’t know how you do it.

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