Many people who know me, will have heard my favourite pearl of wisdom …..”just because you have the best equipment, doesn’t make you the best photographer: – I have Jamie Oliver saucepans, but you won’t be rushing to my house for dinner!
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
Being a Mother can be many different things to every Mother……… it can be amazing, exhausting, challenging, magical, tearful, testing, isolating and wonderful all rolled into one………and sometimes, it’s all at once! As a mother of two gorgeous girls myself, I know that sometimes life can be one big juggling act. The balance between raising a family, running a home and working is a tricky one to get right, and I’m not sure any of us have got it completely right. We’re a ‘work in progress’, doing the best job we can.
My plan for this series, is to celebrate mothers in pictures; the beautiful, wearying, demanding, marvellous, messy, and at times overwhelming journey of ‘mummyhood’. (This project is ongoing). Lucy is my first Mum, kind enough to feature in my portrait & interview series celebrating mums in pictures.
Lucy is a dispensing optician at her family business A.C. Allan Opticians in Sherwood, and is Mother to Mia, age four months. She lives in Nottingham with her husband, Ben and their baby.
At the time of this shoot, Lucy is working part time.
Thank you for your honesty……… it was lovely getting a peek into your world.
What does it mean being a mother to you?
It is so difficult to define being a mum since I’m still so new to it but I suppose it’s about doing everything I can to make Mia happy, whether that is singing her favourite little songs over and over to try to make her laugh, cleaning up explosive nappies or making sure she always has a full tummy.
How did it feel going back to work?
From early on in my pregnancy I decided that I would be back at work quite soon after the baby arrived. I work with my dad at our family opticians and we would joke with our patients that he would have me back working the day after delivery! As much as we joked about this I knew I would want to go back to work quickly, to keep myself up to speed on the day to day running of the business and also to make sure that my poor old dad (haha) wouldn’t be worked off his feet. I have enjoyed getting back into it but it was hard to leave Mia at first and some days I would feel a bit teary eyed as I left in the morning, but coming home is always lovely and I look forward to seeing her all day.
Do you think you have a good work / home life balance?
I feel very lucky that I can be a mum and work part time. It means I have plenty of time with Mia and my husband Ben, enjoying our new little family. I can meet my friends for lunch and walks with the kids and still have part of the week at work keeping my professional skills polished. I have never been so busy in my life as I am now but I do enjoy it. After a busy day at work it’s lovely to get home to my little girl and have a well missed cuddle.
What do you think is the most challenging part of being a Mummy?
I find it challenging keeping up with how busy we have become as a little family. I have never been a person to plan very far ahead, but I find that now I’m a mum I rely massively on my calendar. Trying to organise and remember everything, from doctors appointments for baby’s first injections and cinema dates with my best friend (for a bit of time off), to keeping track of which days I work and which shift pattern my husband is on – my brain would be imploding if I didn’t have my trusty calendar. It’s nice to know I don’t have to worry that my baby brain will forget everything.
Do you feel a lot of external pressure to conform to the ideal supermum?
I suppose there is a bit of pressure, especially around the subject of me going back to work earlier than is ‘normal’. People commented that they were surprised that I was going back so soon but this is what works for us. Having good friends and family for support helps me to know I am doing everything the best I can and that there is no single right way to do things.
What are the best and worst things about being a Mum ?
The best thing about being a mum has to be seeing my gorgeous little girl change every day from a tiny little baby into a smiley happy girl. Every day brings new things to laugh at and enjoy and just when I think I couldn’t love her anymore she does something new which makes her even cuter.
I’m loving being a mum so no worst bits spring to mind really… except one occasion which consisted of explosive poo and manic carpet scrubbing which was dreadful but still funny.
Any other pearls you’d like to share?
I find on days where everything seems a bit manic and the tiredness kicks in, getting Mia all wrapped up in her fleecy blanket and cute little woolly hat, popping her into her pram and going out for a stroll makes us both feel happier.
When 46 summer holiday days stretch out before you, it can be a very long time to keep the kids occupied and out of trouble. Our english weather being as unpredictable as it is, can add another layer to the problem, and finding things for them to do can also be a real challenge ;- especially when you have a budget to keep to.
Last week we had a small flurry (not sure if there is a proper collective term for lots of newborns!) of new babies in the studio – makes you all soppy and sigh! Continue reading »
Margaret and John recently celebrated 50 years of marriage by bringing their four sons, their partners and their families to the very beautiful and peaceful Darwin Forest Park in The Peak District. The 5-Star holiday park is set in 47 acres of mixed woodland between Matlock and Bakewell in the Derbyshire Peak District, but has perfect access for family members coming down the motorway from up north, and others coming in from East Midlands Airport (from France) and one family from Heathrow (Dubai).
The resort has won a ‘VisitEngland’ Silver Award for Excellence this year, and is such a brilliant location for a lifestyle photo session. The trouble is, that there are so many lovely footpaths to follow and little forested areas to take photos, we were quite at a loss as to where to start. It was a gorgeous crisp and clear day, but very cold, and as John is quite frail, we decided to forgo the great outdoors and do a more formal indoor shoot. Weather permitting, we could take the children outside at the end for a bit of fun and do something that was more active and child friendly.
It was quite a challenge finding a clear space that was large enough to accommodate 23 people, as well as me and all the studio gear. In the end, the staff at the restaurant very generously made room for us in their dining room before lunch service, so we had to be quick in order to allow them to set up again after the session. It was a noisy and fun affair, but we still managed to photograph all the individual families as well as some alternative groupings (all the girls and all the boys, etc.)
If you have a wedding anniversary coming up and would like to arrange a family photo session either in the studio, or on location at your home or in another appropriate place , please phone or EMAIL to discuss date options or to make a booking.
All family bookings made between July 1st and 31st October 2016 can claim a complimentary session and a voucher for £50 towards any package or order over £250. (Mileage may be charged for locations over 15 miles from Nottingham city.)
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Keeping your family photos fun and interesting can be a challenge……
Are you one of those parents who only tends to get the camera out for the children’s birthday parties and family gatherings? If so, then you’re not alone! Continue reading »
Jo Way, Nottingham makeup artist, visited the studio in Edwalton last week to get her professional headshot done.
This month’s expert ‘in the spotlight,’ is Isi Dixon from Well Organised Marketing.