Michelle's March Madness
It's been so long since I've taken the time to get real with you all. The past two years have been a test of all sorts: career, parenting, marriage, friendships, life. That looks like the perfect outline for this blog post. Happy Early 39th Birthday to me (March baby). Let's get started.
Career. I opened the new studio location October 2019. I barely had time to update my google address when Covid struck a pandemic in March 2020. The government advised all non essential business to shut down. Well hello, that's me. Who needs to make rent money? Rationally knowing a slow down in business is required, but twiddling my thumbs is not the best option for me. It was fine, my kids were home so we did a whole lot of hanging out. Fast forward a little to 2021. It's honestly a big blur, but I reached an unhappiness with the struggle. I lost a piece of my love for the repetition of creating, not making enough money to pay myself, and not booking as many newborns. The new location did grow some pieces of my business, but it didn’t happen like I thought it would in my head. Did Covid cause me to not meet my goals, or was it something I was missing? Running a business is mentally exhausting. My funk followed me into 2022, but I tried exercises to get myself out of it. I did free photoshoots of stuff I wanted to do, I went to a workshop with a big name photographer, and I even looked at other career choices. Looking at other options makes you think. I’m a hobby day dreamer, so this was fun for me. When it comes down to it, I could not imagine myself not taking pictures. Regardless of what I’m doing I’m always observing. Always looking at stuff like a camera is in my hands. And I love to love on other families. I can do that with a camera in my hand or with a basket of veggies one day.
I’m living this song by Miranda Lambert, “Settling Down.” Which way am I going? It’s fun and exhausting to have so many loves in life. I could do this, or I could be this. I want to raise goats and plant a garden. I want to live in the city and be close to everything and everyone. Anyone else experience the want to do it all??
“Should I give up sunsets for marigold mornings?
Should I look for rainbows or wait for the rain?
Is happiness on the highway or it is parked in the driveway?
Should I lean on you, babe, or should you lean on me?
Am I looking for comfort?
Am I looking for an escape?
Am I looking for you?
Am I looking the other way?
I'm a wild child and a homing pigeon
Caravan and an empty kitchen
Bare feet on the tile with my head up in the clouds
One heart goin' both directions
One love and a couple of questions
Am I settlin' up or settlin' down?
Am I settlin' up or settlin' down?
I could plant a pretty garden, just send myself flowers
Be a jet-set Friday or a Sunday hometown girl
I could stay a little lonely or let you get to know me
Yeah, I could love a picket fence if it wrapped around the world”
Parenting. The constant and yet evolving journey of parenting can warm your heart and bring you to your knees all in one day. I feel like someone should have warned me 8 was going to be hard, so here’s my formal announcement, age 8 is not an easy age. Being a twin mom to two 8 year old girls is not any easy task. They are smart, they are helpful, they are helpless, they hold grudges, they will judge you. They know when something is wrong, they care deeply, they love big, they will test all the limits. Covid brought on the constant weight of the world on their shoulders. The fear others placed on them. Wearing a mask everywhere hiding all the smiles of reassurance. Delaying understanding academics, but working hard to overcome being behind. Even through the fears and news stories they remained to amaze me with their resilience. Right now I’m listening to The Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman, PhD. This book was written in the 90s and he predicted a lot of what I see in today’s culture, like helplessness and self-abortion. His book is to help us retrain our brain to not think like the pessimist inside us and ingrain a life of optimism. I find the book to be very helpful as we come out of a pandemic and 24/7 newsfeed of all the bad in this world. We can’t focus on the catastrophic thoughts, but focus on the good in our lives. Don’t dwell on the bad, but all the good things. It’s these mind sets that take practice, but with hard work I can learn this and pass it on to my girls, so when career and life funks hit, we can mentally overcome it! I’ll come back and give you all a book review when I finish it. I’m obsessed with psychology books right now.
Marriage. To be honest of all these things listed it’s probably been the easiest. I’m not saying we’re sporting the perfect marriage, but it works for us. That’s all that matters. There was a huge adjustment when husband went from traveling half the year to living with us full time and his mother-in-law for 8 months. We both gained some weight, had a few too many self-medicating cocktails, maybe some blood, sweat and tears. I think the blood and sweat came from all the yard work though. The hardest part of this stage in our marriage is parenting the twins and juggling a work life balance at home when we both work from home. We mostly see eye to eye on things, but when buttons are pushed and tempers escape things can always get heated. I mostly get super annoyed at the constant, never ending phone calls, texts and emails at all hours of the day. When you have a tunnel focused husband he forgets to forget his phone. There are way worse things in life. You have to live in the moment better, and don’t focus on the bad and past mistakes. I assure you no body is perfect. My other recent book, The Like Switch by Jack Schafer, PhD, says to not make everything about you. Don’t project what you feel about yourself as feelings other people are having about you. Those are lies your brain tells you. Our insecurities can sabotage so much. His book was a great reminder to just listen to what others are saying. Be present in the moment. Kind gestures and people will naturally like you because you made them feel good. I think we forget to do this for our spouse. We get so focused on everything going on we forget to let them know we think the world of them. That what they say matters. So go hug your spouse and tell them something you’re proud of them for, maybe they'll return the favor without you asking. ;)
Friendships. You know the sayings about everything has a season. I feel like friends are a lot like that. We get caught up on our lives raising babies and everyone is in your life for a reason for the season. Sometimes things happen and they no longer make time for you or you no longer make time for them. Other times it’s ok to love people from a distance if they don’t make you feel good about yourself when you’re around them. I was just chatting with a super close girlfriend and we were exchanging the same thoughts about texting people that never reach out, only if you reach out. Oh the one sided friendship. My brother accuses me of this as well. He always calls me, but since he always calls me I get in the habit of waiting on him to call me. I honestly don’t do this intentionally, but that’s how the relationship evolved. If you love the friend and they are good to have in your life don’t give up on them yet. Maybe they are really bad about texting. Be sure it make it awkward and tell your close friends you love them too.
Life. Seriously I don’t know what more to type today. HA that’s not true. My brain is always blabbing, but I think I’ll leave you with all the stuff from above and these pictures from our recent family beach trip. My husband had a work trip to Orlando, so the girls and I tagged along since it was Spring Break week. At the end of the week we went to Clearwater Beach. That was my first time there. I found Julie Stash Photography a few months ago and booked her to take our pictures. It’s through these photos I came home to a revived career moment. The reason why I love portraits. I want all my families to have the same wonderful photos I have of my children. I fell in love with newborn photography after I hired my newborn photographer, Jill Geisler. Jill later became a friend and mentor. She passed away to cancer a couple years ago, but her work lives on in so many houses, like mine. Those newborn photos are worth more to me than anything in my house. I have 3 wedding photos hanging, but I have pictures of my kids growing all over my house in all shapes and sizes. This is the why and the reason I can’t possibly put my camera away. I'll be referring back to this post or schedule more family photos the next time I think I need a career change. Take care friends. I hope you find something in my words that resonate with you.