Did you cringe a little bit?? I used to roll my eyes and say…ya ya ya!!! I will get to it!! Plus my house IS clean!!
Before I went on a MAJOR spring cleaning binge..I wish someone would have just looked at me and said….Get your sh*t together 😉
Step 1: Donate/De-junk/De-stash Whatever you want to label it…. GET RID OF CRAP (make that one day I will have a yard sale pile disappear and take action…donate it or trash it!)
This step for me was overwhelming. I work full time. I am a mom full time (and then some!). Honestly the thought of spending DAYS doing what felt like THE WORST and most time consuming job ever was never a priority. It was always a “one day I will get to that” until it got SO bad that I wanted to just BURN MY WHOLE HOUSE DOWN and start fresh! Haha!
Step Two: Get rid of old papers, magazines, mail, bills that are just piling up and causing clutter.
This is usually much more manageable for me because I don’t have a typical “mud room” or desk in our kitchen. We have a small filing system at the back door and it makes our kitchen look SUPER cluttered if we don’t stay up on it. Now, my office is a different story! I LOVE bridal magazines, fashion magazines and I am always looking for new inspiration, so these tend to pile up! Then I have the magazines that I have been featured in….and I just can’t give those up!!
Step Three: Go through closets. Again get rid of clothes that no longer fit (either donate or in my case save for a little sister who is still having kids!).
This one was a huge step for me! If you have ever been to my house, you would consider me to be a “clean” person (which I am). BUT THEN, you open my closets and your jaw would hit the floor. I had one closet designated to just “I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THIS CRAP GOES”, like really…where does one stash 3 neck pillows to be used when flying?? (and that was just on the main level). It was a catch all. A little business, a little family stuff and a whole lot of CRAP. Then you see our closets for clothes and while it looks like they are bursting at the seems, they really just need to be organized (ok ok ok and purged). Then we had our “ART” closet upstairs where most of the kids crafts, and all things “fun” were stored. Along with pictures and other various “memory” type stuff. The list goes on….my throw it in the closet and if the doors can close attitude HAD to change!
I asked friends, I searched on Pinterest to get ideas for organization….and still nothing changed. There is SO much great content out there! But the biggest thing for me was SCHEDULING it and making it my number one priority. It started as I was just going to do my pantry….because honestly I kept buying things I already HAD but couldn’t see! So I wanted to do it to save money….and then I spent all that “savings” at the Container Store. It was organizing ecstasy! And I was HOOKED! So then I started following professional organizers, and while I wish I could have just hired one to do my house from top to bottom (Organize with Tracy on Instagram is QUEEN!!!) I knew I couldn’t afford to bring in the big guns…but I had to start somewhere. So I had Sabrina with Organized by Lamb come over and show me the ropes. She tackled my pantry, coat closet and fridge. She was worth every single penny. And then some. She TOTALLY lit a fire under my you know what….and while I wish I could say I went out the next day and conquered the rest of my house….it was a slow burning fire. A type that you think…”I should put that out” but don’t and then it all of a sudden has 12ft. flames. Anywho….I would say we made quite the team. She was in every way a teacher and I took what she taught me and I hope I made her proud!
So here are my before and afters….and a few “during” when I thought to myself “WHAT THE HECK DID I GET MYSELF INTO???”
THE KITCHEN PANTRY
COAT CLOSET –BEFORE–
The Downstairs “CATCH ALL” –BEFORE–
–WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DROWN IN CRAP–
BOY’S ROOM –BEFORE–
BOY’S ROOM –AFTER–
MASTER CLOSET –BEFORE–
MASTER CLOSET –AFTER–
Are you exhausted? I am downright POOPED!!! This was by FAR the biggest project I have ever done on our home…but MAN did I feel like a BOSS after!!! Now it’s your turn!!!
It doesn’t exist. I’m serious. As a working mom myself, I am constantly told, “You need to make sure you are balancing work and your kids“. Well the cat is out of the bag…this is a mythical, made up expectation!
Can we try to stay centered and equally divide our time, focus, and energy between work life and home life? YES! But give yourself some grace…it won’t always happen and THAT’S OK!
As working moms (especially if you work from home), we seem to always have so much—too much—on our plate. We need to “do” all of the things that come with the territory of staying at home: clean up the house, get kids off to school, pack lunches, make dinner, do laundry, grocery shop, chauffeur kids to and from sports, lessons, activities, play dates, homework, bath time, bed time. Are you just as exhausted reading this list as I am writing it out?! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Then, we add into the mix the fact that you actually have a job or career to attend to on top of all of our other duties/expectations. You run your own business, you’re an assistant, you work remotely for your company, etc. You have a full-time job to do!
For me, that looks something like this:
Shoot (Weddings, Portraits, Engagements, you name it….)
Social Media Everything
Never ever are there enough hours in the day to get everything on my to-do list done! Never do I have a day that is fully dedicated to just “work”. So, I have to get creative! I absolutely LOVE my job but I absolutely LOVE my children and role as a mother and wife.
So how do we “DO IT ALL”??
Haha! That’s cute. WE DON’T.
Truth be told, some days I feel like I’m drowning…and then someone hands me a kid that needs his poopy diaper changed and the dinner I had cooking just caught on fire in the kitchen!
Other days (these are the ones I LIVE for!), I feel accomplished, balanced, centered, and on top of my “mom” game and “business owner” game! I’ve got dinner in the Crockpot ready for later that day, I took my kid to Occupational Therapy while the older two were at school, I edited an engagement session and had it uploading to my client during naptime, and was able to remember to switch over the laundry so it didn’t sit in the washer overnight (gross but so true)! It’s little wins like this, that make certain days feel like HUGE accomplishments!
Now, enough about me…how can I help YOU?
I want to share what I have learned over the last 8 years of being a working mom and the last 4 of being a Stay at Home, working mom that have helped me find days of “Balance”.
I have a schedule for every person in my google calendar. Each person gets their own color. Each “business item” gets its own color. For instance, Brady is GREEN, Charlee is PINK, Blaine is ORANGE. This is so I will know right away when I look at my monthly or weekly calendar who has what going on each day. I personally have YELLOW, the business has BLUE and even social media (like blogging content and Instagram) has its own color as well! I am super visual and it helps me see what days are full and what days I might have a little more freedom.
There are days that I deem “Mom” days. These are days that I spend with my kids. They don’t go to a babysitter, they stay home and we play, go to a park, the pool, grocery shop, make Costco runs, go out to lunch for fun- you name it, we do it! Some days are less glamorous and are filled with house cleaning, chores, laundry, reading books or getting some screen time in, but “mom” days sometimes feel busier and crazier than my “work” days!
That feeling you get when you not only conquer the laundry, but the BUCKET full of socks to be matched!!
Then, there are “work” days. These are the days I send my 3 year old to a babysitter (consider this outsourcing…which we will get to later!). I learned early on that I cannot be both, an attentive mom and a working mom. So, I gave myself working days. These are the days that I try to crank out as much work as if I was working 5 days a week at a normal 8-5 corporate job. I put on a podcast or Netflix and I GO TO WORK! It doesn’t always work out as planned, and I never get as much time to work on my business as I would like….but I do the best I can with the hours I do have.
While I NEED to know my schedule ahead of time, I also make to-do lists, both personally and professionally. These lists are basically a brain dump of everything I can think of that needs to be done or taken care of! I look at the list every night before I go to bed to prepare myself for what I need to accomplish the next day and to also see how it will all line up with what’s on the schedule.
Did I say monsters? I meant blessings! 🙂 This one is new (ish) to my routine. I haven’t always been a morning person. If you knew me in college, you know I LOVE my sleep. While my roommates were up by an acceptable and appropriate time on the weekends, I would say my days started around noon! I love to stay up late and sleep in! But this doesn’t work in the adult, working, mom world. ADULTING IS HARD! I used to stay up late and get as much work done after the kids went to bed, and then sleep in until they woke me up. But this was not good for anyone! I was tired, cranky and rarely felt like I was doing anything for ME. Now, I wake up early, hit the gym and get my sweat on! Which leads me to my next point…
For me, this means starting my day at the gym. My alarm goes off at 5:20. I push snooze. It goes off again at 5:30 and I finally get myself out of bed. It may be hard at first, but I noticed a HUGE change in how I felt, how I mothered my children and what I was able to accomplish without worrying WHEN I would be able to get to the gym. I get my endorphins in and I am a better person because of it. But, that means I have to force myself into bed earlier. It’s HARD. I still have plenty of work to be done once the kids go to bed, and then there is that guy I call my husband I want to spend time with as well. But I just have to remind myself that it’s okay to not get everything done on my “to do” list and that’s just the nature of the beast!
I’ll be honest, I am not the best at this. There are days, weeks, months where I am ON TOP OF IT, and then my husband reminds me of the time where I was so busy and had completely lost focus of anything that remotely resembled a wife and mother. There was no food in the house, and while I was at yet another engagement shoot, he had to get creative for dinner and ate “Dinosaur Chicken Nugget Tacos”. A delicacy for sure! But not one of my finer moments.
Luckily, where I live there is this awesome healthy meal service called Citrus Pear and it has CHANGED THE FREAKING GAME!! In 2 hours, I was able to meal prep 20 meals (10 recipes, doubled) with no shopping, no set up and no clean up!! Yes you read that right! I showed up at 7 PM with for girl time with some of my favorite friends from my neighborhood. While we laughed, chatted and drank Diet Coke together, I meal prepped 20 meals for the month of March and left at 9 PM with a cooler full of delicious meals to pop in the Instapot or Crockpot!
If you don’t live in Utah or Idaho, have no fear! There are plenty of healthy meal delivery services that are AMAZING! Check out: Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, Freshly, Home Chef, or Purple Carrot. There are so many out there!
The point is, you need to PLAN! If there is no plan, plan to fail!
I mentioned this earlier, but it’s 100% worth of its own section. I schedule “MOM” days! It feeds my soul, reaffirms my “WHY” (no big shocker, but my kids are a huge driving force to my why!), and honestly sometimes we all just need some quality time together. Go to a park, take them to a fun lunch (my kids think a trip to Chick-Fil-A is living their best life!), or watch a movie together. My personal favorite is snuggling and taking a nap with my kiddos!
I also do my best to make sure I have one-on-one time with each of my three kiddos. This is WAY easier said than done- especially because my 3 year old needs more attention than most and my 8 year old is pretty dang self sufficient and LOVES and worships the water his dad walks on! I am still always looking for ways to show my 8 year old how much I love him and how to score some “brownie” points in his book as well, but I know he will always look up to his dad as his “HERO”. Luckily for me, my 6 year old loves anything I do…so I’m set there!!
OK and last but DEFINITELY not least…
Consider this to be anything that you can take off your plate as a working mom.
Once a month, I have a house cleaner (sometimes once every 3 weeks if I’m feeling like I can’t keep up). She is heaven-sent and I would donate plasma for extra money just to pay for her services if I had to!
Curbside grocery pick up…this was a game changer, too! No more wandering the aisles with littles pulling things into the cart we definitely don’t need!
Childcare…this might not seem like something that you would consider as an outsource, but I do! Having someone you trust help watch your children so you can do other things you have on your plate is HUGE! We have used the same sitter since my oldest was 9 months old. Each kid has been watched by her…and at this point she is family.
And last but not least: I hired a virtual assistant. She was everything I knew I needed and then some. Honestly, as an entrepreneur I need at least 3 of me to get everything in order and crossed off my list. Add in the fact that I have 3 kids, one of them with special needs, and I just can’t do everything I need to in order to make my business thrive. So, I swallowed my pride, made room in my budget and outsourced! SHE IS AMAZING! A LIFESAVER! And truly not only steps in where I fall short, but has helped me stay on track and keep myself focused on what matters most! Elle, you’re the REAL MVP!
I hope you found one, if not all of these tips helpful! The most important thing to remember is that you cannot do it all, and you can’t do it all alone- and that’s okay. It doesn’t make you any less of an awesome momma! Working Moms UNITE!
And if you need a friend, someone that just “gets you”, I will be here for you cheering you on every step of the way!!
It’s been a long time coming and I am finally HERE to say: 2019 IS MY YEAR! The year I stop dreaming, planning, scheming, hoping, wishing, brainstorming and START DOING! This is my action year…so sit down, and hold on tight peeps, because we are doing’ the damn thang!
First things first, I will be blogging, I will be sending out a monthly newsletter (so if you haven’t signed up…DO IT HERE!!), I will be entering the world of educating (and if you want to be the first to know about this…seriously sign up for the newsletter!), I will be allowing myself to be vulnerable and transparent. I will be sharing more than just pretty sessions and gorgeous weddings. We are getting real, raw and nothing is off limits!
I wanted to start off the new year with unveiling my BRAND NEW PROMO VIDEO!! The last one was super outdated (I mean Charlee was a baby and Blaine was missing completely!). While I still LOVED it (which is why I didn’t update it for the longest time) my business has evolved, I have evolved and it was time to “Upgrade ME”.
So ladies and gentlemen….here it is! Also…FYI KALE FITCH is a GENIUS and I always LOVE everything he creates! So grateful for his hard work.
Now just a little sneak peek of some behind the scenes of what we shot!
I love my sessions to be fun, genuine, unique and I want each and every client or family to leave feeling like they made a new BFF! When you see your images I want you to remember how you felt in that moment, I want you to feel the love that you have for either your family or your spouse, I want you to leave knowing we captured just a small glimpse into the legacy you are creating and I want you to leave knowing that we NAILED it! Regardless if that means, we captured your toddler in full on meltdown mode (because let’s be honest that’s bound to happen because it’s real life and toddlers are unpredictable!) OR we capture the moment your man whispers what his favorite body part of yours is into your ear in his sexiest voice and it makes you blush! Don’t worry, sit back, relax and know that whatever we capture will be real, authentic and a whole lot of fun!!
You guys!!! My babies are getting so big! I can’t even stand it! I honestly don’t feel like I’m getting any older until I look at my kids and see how fast time is passing me by. Summer always brings with it busy days filled with activities for the kids (or really all of us) like swimming lessons, sports, vacations, family, birthdays and on, and on. I loved taking a little time out to capture my loves right now, as they are. It was so nice to take a minute just us. I want to keep them little like this forever but know I can’t. In the meantime, I’ll look through these photos and reminisce about the summer nights we have left and how I want to hold my littles tight for as long as I possibly can. I am so lucky to have such and amazing partner to go through this crazy life with and want to wish that big guy in the center of our world the happiest birthday today! Mikey we love you to the moon and back. You are the glue that holds us all together and the kids just adore you. I am so grateful for you, your love and the way you always put family first!
XOXOXO – Brooke
When you first start having kids you can’t imagine ever forgetting what each one of them looks like in that moment. You patiently await the next milestone of crawling, walking, talking, starting school and on and on without ever thinking you’d want to make time stand still. This is where the importance of capturing those little faces comes in.
You’re too busy thinking you will NEVER forget those individual quirks that are currently providing endless hours of family entertainment to ever think you’d forget this moment in time. Long after the kids have moved out, you will want these memories captured to look back on and remember…the sticky faces, the loving smiles, the 1,000,000 “moms” that were said EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. You get the idea. It’s your life, however messy it is, and you won’t want to forget it.
It’s a fact that the busier you get the faster time flies by and before you know it, that parenting phase begins when you become more of a chauffeur and chef, than an attentive mom relishing in every tiny little moment and detail. Then it happens, you realize your babies are growing up too fast and suddenly you want nothing more than to make time stand still. Your kids are your whole world, your everything, and when you look back on your life these are the moments you are going to remember. The good and the bad.
The crying, the cleaning up of the same messes and toy over and over again, and the never-ending noise that comes with endless snuggles and begging for one more story and kiss before bed. It’s a beautiful mess but it’s YOURS and you don’t want to forget anything about it! Guess what?! I have a solution for you. Family portraits are the answer to freezing time!
Don’t forget about those rare moments when you experience a glimpse of that peace and quiet that was so present before sticky little fingers, endless fruit snacks, and a favortie Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode on repeat creating constant background noise in your life. Just the two of you remembering why you fell in love.
You know you’re going to miss these days. If you are ready to make time stand still with your family contact me today for more information on family portrait sessions.
Happy Friday! Ok, this one’s a bit different, but I think it’s fun so bear with me…
My birthday is on Saturday. I will be 33. Yay? I’m not sure how I feel about that BUT I decided if I have to get old, I might as well embrace it by blogging about the 33 things on my bucket list! I have a bucket list for 2017 as well as life in general and these are a mixture of both!
If any of you have done any of these, give me a shout with any advice…I would LOVE to get planning!
27. Play at Coney Island (plus eat a hot dog on the boardwalk!)
28. Attend a Tony Robbins Seminar
29. Perform a kind deed anonymously
30. Learn a new language
31. Learn to Ski
32. Photograph a Birth
33. Pack my bags and set off for a random location with no itinerary
It’s no secret that I BEGGED for our third baby. Pleaded. Prayed. Begged and then seduced my husband during a moment of weakness 😉 And because I have been INCREDIBLY blessed to get pregnant when I have wanted (or my timing and Heavenly Father’s timing has lined up perfectly every.single.time….I’m not sure which one it is yet!) it only took ONE moment of weakness and BAM we were in business! I knew the moment I was one day late that I was pregnant (because my body is like clockwork) and I was TERRIFIED! Why was I so scared? This was something I had wanted for so long but here I was scared as all get out! Everyone has said how hard the jump from 2-3 kids was and that my whole world was about to get rocked! Well they were RIGHT but for all the wrong reasons! The jump from 2 kids to 3 has been manageable ( for me at least…Michael might feel differently if you asked him!) but was I was not prepared for was all the anxiety I would have leading up to having the baby. I was SICK, SICK, SICK and honestly quite shocked I need puked on anyone at any of my sessions or weddings. Like it was BAD! But I was sure that something would go wrong. I was sure of it. We had been so beyond blessed to have 2 healthy pregnancies and 2 healthy babies that I felt like I was “due” for something hard. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak but for now, I still have both shoes on 🙂
Fast forward to due date, and here I was with a TEAM to document this little miracle baby of mine and I couldn’t WAIT to see what surprise we would get. I was sure it was a girl! I had my girl name all planned out and didn’t really worry until we got to the hospital that we didn’t really have a definite boy name yet and were still even up in the air about the 2 we had picked out so far. Well, either way I was SO ready to meet our baby (and our caboose!).
Because this would be our final baby (I still can’t believe I am saying that!) I knew I wanted the works in that delivery room…Pictures AND video AND video when the kids would meet their baby brother or sister too! Enter Kale Fitch and my mom! They did an AMAZING job documenting the entire experience and I honestly cried TEARS ON TEARS when I saw Kale’s masterpiece. It’s perfect. It was such an amazing day and one I am so grateful that I can live over and over through his creative genius!
I am sharing the video here because I honestly think it’s beautiful and birth is beautiful. No need to worry there are no shots of anything that should be kept private! Kale, my mom AND Michael all were the very best cheerleaders that made sure to cheer me on from over my shoulders and let the doctor (who is amazing and has delivered all 3 of my babies!) do the catching!