7 Quick Takes About Work/Life Balance, Edel, Tomatoes, and Knighthood.

Friday, July 11, 2014
(1) A couple weeks ago I read this interview that Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, did with The Business Insider. In it she discusses whether women can "have it all" in regards to the work/life balance. When asked, she says:

            "I don't think women can have it all. I just don't think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I'm not sure they will say that I've been a good mom. I'm not sure."

Reading this reminded me that I've never officially written anything (publicly) about why I took a break from my photography business. For the record, I have a lot of photographer friends who balance the work/home-life beautifully...I was just not one of them. I didn't have one single "aha" moment; rather, it was a year-long discernment process.

Business was going well and my work was exciting! At this point, I had been in business 6 years and had shot weddings in Mexico, Hawaii, Tahoe, and Napa and photographed many wonderful families. But at home, things were suffering. My husband and children were coming second to my work and our home was a disastrous mess most of the time (well, it's still pretty chaotic but now I have more time to work on it). I'd spend all day editing pictures, answering emails, running business related errands, and I began to notice myself becoming increasingly angry at my kids for interrupting, and the stress of "doing it all" was plain wearing me out. I didn't like who I was and I didn't like viewing my family as "getting in the way" of my productivity. Ryan would come home from work, and every night I'd go to our local coffee shop to work some more. My conscience was telling me something wasn't right with this picture, so I began to pray: "Lord, I love my job, but something isn't right here...what do you want from me, what should I do?" And He made it clear. 

I had this vision of my kids as adults, and their memories of our time together involved me attached to my computer, being angry at them. That was the last thing I wanted! I told Ryan before we were married that I wanted to stay home and raise our children, that I didn't want to work outside the home if we could make it work. We knew that would mean financial sacrifice, but it's what I felt called to do.  When I took a step back and looked at our life, it didn't look anything like I had hoped. We didn't eat dinner together, I was gone on the weekends (although Ryan did shoot quite a few weddings with me which was really fun!), and I was exhausted from staying up all night working and nursing a baby. I needed to get back to the basics! I told myself that once I could manage my responsibilities at home, then I could see about starting to work again. So I removed my website and blog from the internet, and it was official. I was no longer taking on any new work. 

We started eating dinner together and I began to research different ways of efficiently running a household. I think most people learn these basics, but I never did. Most importantly though, I became more intentional with my parenting and could devote more time to my relationship with my husband. It felt like a weight had been lifted and I enjoyed this newfound free time with my family. 

It's been nearly 3 years since I took down my websites and decided to step away from my business. Without a doubt, it was the right decision. I'm still researching efficient ways to run a household, and probably will be as long as we keep adding kids to our family, but I love it!  Can women "have it all"? I don't really know. I think something always has to give. I couldn't do it all, at least not at the same time, but I am ok with that. Raising children is a lot harder than I ever imagined, but for now, home is where I choose to be.

2.) Speaking of Vocation, look what just arrived in the mail! Our parish is planning on adding this new ministry in the fall, and I get a chance to go through it this summer with a group or moms! 

3.) And speaking of photography, I've taken most of my work offline but I still have a few weddings posted at my flickr account. Melissa and Chris' Sonoma wedding was one of my favorites and I have the highlights from their wedding posted here if you'd like to see (and a few below).

4.) My friend Amy and I are leaving for Austin in a couple weeks to go to the Edel Gathering! I'm really nervous and I think the introvert in me is starting to freak out a little. We don't really know anyone else going, and there are a lot of great bloggers/authors that we can't wait to meet! So if anyone who reads this right now is also going to the Edel gathering, hello!! I can't wait to meet! 

5.) I've been searching for a few weeks for a new book to read, sort of hoping that the right book would find me...and I think it did! I was originally planning on reading Sense and Sensibility (I've never actually read it!) but decided based on this post I read today, to read, My Antonia by Willa Cather. The last two books I read were so good and hopefully this one will be too. 

6.) A little update on our garden. First off, no one is more shocked than me that we've been able to keep something alive (other than our kids) for this long! Growing this garden has been so rewarding, I think I'm starting to see why so many people do it. We've had a few ripe tomatoes here and there (we're growing 3 varieties) but the vines are exploding with green ones and I think they'll turn ripe in the next couple of weeks! We also got our red pepper plant to come back to life  after I let some of the tomato vines grow over it for a few weeks. It just needed a little TLC and now it's doing great. And I think another one started to grow next to it? Not sure yet, but a new mysterious plant started growing...stay tuned! 

7.) And lastly, I never got around to posting about Riley's last day of school. Her and her classmates worked all year to practice virtue and to become Knights. At the end of the year they had a Knighthood ceremony where they celebrated all of their accomplishments. She was dubbed "Lady Riley, The Kind Hearted." Here she is with her teachers, Sr. Maria Kolbe and Sr. Maria Rosario. Love those Dominicans! 



  1. Another introvert here... headed to Edel!

    1. Hi Jill! Thanks for saying hi...looking forward to meeting :) I love small groups...big groups make me a little nervous but it should be fun!! I saw that you're in Southern California...we're up here in Sacramento!

  2. I have always loved your photography and miss seeing your work. So happy you have this little place that I can now visit. I took on way less work this year and now with a new one coming early next year, I know photography will be even harder. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Thanks for sharing your story about leaving your business, although it does make me a lil sad now that we live in Sacramento, but I understand. I too, am trying to be more intentional in my parenting so you are not alone :)


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