Just like the start to every other DITL I’ve shot for my family, I woke up not feeling up to the task. But this time I really couldn’t back out because I’m currently in the middle of teaching The Documentary Approach over at Click Photo School (formerly CM University) — and this week’s lesson? How to shoot a DITL for your family!
Lately I’ve been staying up too late and sleeping in too long and struggling to juggle teaching, working pretty darn close to full time and being world’s okay-est mom. (I can’t claim credit to that awesome title – I saw that on a bumper sticker and have had my eyes peeled for one every since). The free time I used to have before Cora was born has all but vanished. Isla is difficult – oh so difficult. Every single thing is a struggle from getting dressed to flossing teeth to eating food that isn’t named after a cartoon character. Cora is much more easy going but she’s still there, needing more than I have to give most of the time. And I love both of these girls so much — I worry that I’m too stressed and that they can feel it. I try to be present but I’m on my phone too much. I try to keep my patience but it’s hard. So, so hard. Our house isn’t what I want it to be. And I keep saying we’ll do this or that to fix it up and it never happens and instead of pretending it’s going to get better anytime soon I’m starting to resign myself to the idea that maybe this is just my life for the next 4 to 5 years.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Not by a long shot. We are all together most weekends and Brett drives to Starbucks every single morning and brings me coffee. And every morning he asks if I want it now or if he should put it in the fridge. And every morning I say “just let me have a sip and put it in the fridge… I’ll be up in a second”. An hour later I find my coffee and then go looking for signs of life. Now in all fairness Brett gets to go to bed in a luxurious king size where he will get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep while I struggle to keep Isla content on one side of me (she demands to be held which is precious but also my shoulder is constantly feeling out of socket) while nursing Cora to sleep on the other side. All while sleeping on a fold out bed because Isla thinks it’s the best thing ever that a couch can turn into a bed. It’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world – honestly. But I don’t think I’ve been fully asleep since early 2011.
This particular day was a pretty typical one for us on a weekend. Hanging around the house a bit, a trip to the park, dropped off the car for a good detail, up to the outlet mall and home after dark. Lots of good old boring stuff in the middle – my personal favorite. I noticed something was really different about this day in the life – Brett and I have to divide and conquer a lot. So not as much of us together, doing the same thing at the same time. I stay in the car while he runs into Publix with Isla. I follow in the blue car with kids while he drops off the Highlander at the car wash. He edits video for me while I keep the kids out of trouble.
Sometimes it’s hard to capture a frazzled life when you’re in the thick of it. But I hope these pictures bring back memories of what this stage was like in a really honest way. I hope I remember how much Isla loved her sister, how Cora looked like a drunk leprechaun trying to take her first few steps, how much those weekends around the house really recharged my spirit, and how even though we feel like we’re in survival mode most of the time, Brett and I are doing okay-er than ever.