With Mother’s Day just around the corner I thought it would be a good time to call and see Lucy, Ben and baby Mia. To see how their lives are progressing and changing and the effects of having a new personality in their beautiful, cosy home. This is a series of portraits which reflect and celebrate how working mothers in 2017 balance their busy lives. Lucy works part time in her family’s opticians business in Sherwood so has time to have Mother’s days with her growing baby Mia, as well as professional days at work. Thank you to Lucy for your time and frank and thoughtful answers. You’re doing a great job! x
Now that you have an established routine, do you think you have got a better work/life mix?
Yes the routine definitely helps me to make the most of my time both at work and at home. Without it it is easy to let being busy get on top of you. Having a routine takes the stress out of working out the logistics of drop offs, pick ups, making sure bags are sorted for childcare arrangements, and everything else, so that we can just relax and enjoy the time we do have as a family.
What do you think is the biggest unexpected change in your lives since having Mia?
I think the biggest change is just having to constantly plan! I’m not the most organised person and having a baby means I am constantly thinking 4 hours ahead to work out what I need in my bag, what I need for Mia and tying all the meals and naps with the daily plans. I do admit that more than once I’ve left the house without nappies so now have to do a full mental checklist when I walk out the front door!
Do you think your expectations, (based on media and your friends and family’s stories) and the reality are similar?
I do think the expectations I had when I was pregnant about having a baby match the realty, however even so it’s still a huge learning curve and I can only now appreciate the stories mums tell about sleepless nights, exploding nappies and the ridiculously overwhelming level of love you feel for the little cutie!
What aspects of being a working Mum do you find the most challenging?
I probably find the most challenging thing keeping up to speed with the goings on at work. It’s difficult going from working full time to part time, as much as I love it. I feel exceptionally lucky to have the option of working part time, but feel like I play catch up on my first day back in each week to find out what I’ve missed.
If you “knew then, what you know now” what would you do differently?
I honestly don’t think I would have done anything differently!…. not because we are perfect at it all but because it’s been a huge experience learning all the new tricks and treats of having a baby.
What would you say has been the biggest help when you have a difficult day?
After a difficult day the simplest things are the best! It’s so nice to get Mia bathed, into fresh pyjamas and snuggled down in bed so me and Ben can get our feet up on the sofa with a tasty dinner and something good on the tele!
As a predominantly child and family portrait photographer, I know most of my work of children is about capturing the fabulous, fun, unexpected and un-choreographed moments that show their personality and innocence. These are arguably the most precious moments, but it’s fair to say that not everything is like a studio photograph. Being a Mum is hard work!
This project is to show a glimpse of all the effects and changes that having a young family can have. It can be quite isolating when you leave work and have to find a new life rhythm, new friends and a new way of doing things. But this seems to be the way that modern life is going. More and more women are returning. It’s tough being a working mum:- but staying at home full time can be even more difficult, and brings a totally different set of challenges; so it’s fair to say that there’s no perfect scenario – or if there is, I haven’t met the mum who has found that magic balance.
I’ve met some wonderfully inspiring stay at home mums and working mums alike. There are no rule books ….that’s actually not true! There are hundreds – no, thousands of books out there, but I have yet to read the one that answers all the important questions. We just have to make it up as we go along and make the best of what we have. We do the best we can with what we have and hope that the kids turn out well, dinner gets served and of course the mortgage gets paid! Guilt seems to be the tune of choice for so many Mums for not being around when you think they need you, or that the work emails are not answered quickly or efficiently enough. For me it was about getting clients’ photos edited in time for their viewings or preparing their orders for the lab efficiently and in good time. This often meant working at night when I might not be at my best, (being sleep deprived) or when the children had naps or play dates as they got older. I wanted to offer the best service to my clients and feel worthy of referral work and continue to build, but at the same time I wanted to be the best Mum I could too! Balance!
Maintaining your own identity and your confidence that you are still the same capable woman you were before the children is one of the most common struggles that women have these days. So many Mums think of themselves as Mums first and when you ask them about themselves that is how they identify themselves as (their child’s name’s Mum). I remember it well!! But here’s the thing…by looking after yourself and having a great self image is not only a great role model for your children, but will help lift you up in the tough times. So look after yourself girls! Be the best self you can! Being a mum is a smorgasbord filled with huge highs and lows and I think we all need to give ourselves a break from time to time. Whether we’re working mums or not – the job description means 24-7, and whilst we may not be perfect we just have to keep pedalling!! Mother’s Day isn’t just about celebrating Mums on one day a year..Mother’s Day is every day and we have to congratulate ourselves for the great job we all do!!
If you’re interested in having your own Mother’s day photo session, please give me a ring or ping me a mail and we can chat about the options! Studio or home lifestyle shoots are both available. 07773938669