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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Grace

Morning Office Hours

I return most of my emails in the morning from my "morning office" aka "my bed." Before we get out of bed is when I do things like reply to messages on Instagram, check the weather for the week’s sessions (for the first time in a LONG time there is a week of good weather coming up thank goodness), follow up with the next shoots on my calendar, pay bills online, make my to-do list for the day (which is laughable lately), and update things like Quickbooks. I do this until Brooklynn wakes up, she's my early riser. Chloe is my mini-me for sure and as soon as Brooklynn and I are out of bed she takes over and sleeps another hour or so. Usually Brooklynn is up by 9:30am (which is how I manage those 4:30am editing sessions).

& yes - we co-sleep still.

Which I should honestly to a blog post on just because I get such mixed reactions when people learn that but for them and for me night time snuggles are the best way to end the day. I don't even go to sleep on the nights they aren't here because I don't know how to without them... and that's not an exaggeration. Ask my third shift nurse friends who chat with me online at 6am on those days.

Running my own business as a single mama is overwhelming at times and hard and I spend a good bit of time wondering if I forgot to do something or how I’ll have time to do something. The other day I had a mini panic moment for about three minutes because I couldn’t find files to edit for a clients wedding that was due in the next two weeks. Guess why? I had delivered her wedding the week before (early) and since I had stupidly tried to give up coffee that same week my brain blocked the entire week from memory. It was a dark time for sure. *currently still waiting for the twins to wake up so we can go grab coffee and pancakes* This morning I went through my Facebook business page inbox and followed up with any conversations that were left open ended, archived the ones that were done, and triple checked my calendar to make sure every date was on there (never hurts to keep checking, trust me. There's a reason I have a calendar on my phone, fridge, and desk). It’s engagement season soon and I’m gearing up. New packages (aesthetic wise, not content wise), an organized inbox, and two new calendars for 2019 are ready to go.

Some people find it annoying "everyone" gets engaged around the holidays. I don't. I love the holiday season and I love "love," so bring on the happy posts. I did this all (minus making the new packages and getting calendars that was last week) in bed with Chloe snuggled up against me on one side and Brooklynn holding my hair in her little hand on the other. She did this same thing as a baby to make sure I didn’t leave her side. It didn't take her long to figure out, even as a teensy 5lb baby doll, that if she fell asleep and I had to get up to do dishes, cook, shower - then I was going to. She also figured out that there wasn't a chance in the world I was waking her once I got her to seleep so she'd hold onto me, tight, and make sure I couldn't. It wasn't worth it - Brooklynn was a sca-ream-mer when she was tiny. She hated everything. So if she was finally asleep and moving would have woken her well... who needed food or showers anyways.

When she does it now I don’t care if my arm is asleep or I really need to edit, I stay in bed and find things to do for the business on my phone. Or I send memes to Taylor & Emily if we're being truthful. It’s my favorite kind of office time. Most mornings Brooklynn wakes up anxious about the day. The first thing she’ll ask is, “Do you have to work?” & what she means is, “Are you leaving me today?” So I spend most mornings assuring her that either she’s coming with me and not to worry or not to worry because she’ll have fun with Nick or dad but not until “later.” Today we’ve got nowhere to be. Which she’s going to be so happy about. You know what I’m happy about right now (especially with toddler snuggles happening and little fingers holding my messy hair) ? Of the 110+ hours I spend a week working weddings, shoots, emailing, marketing, responding to social media comments/messages on the business pages (some of you scoffed but some of you happen to be awake for various reasons at 4am when I’m up editing and you know I’m not exaggerating) they maybe spends 20 hours a week away from me... and that’s on the crazy weeks. If Nick is reading this he just rolled his eyes, because it drives him crazy that I think midnight is an "early bedtime." 2019 goals - actually go to bed the day I wake up. We shall see. Most weeks I’m only away from them for about ten hours. All week. Sometimes I miss having a job I could clock out of or direct an unhappy or complicated customer to (I'm not queso, I can't make everyone happy so it happens). But I will never willingly trade the stress that comes with this business at times for a job that would require me to wake them up mid-cuddle and take them to a babysitter/daycare. I am SO aware too many mamas have to do that when all they want to do is spend the day with their kiddos - so I do not take mornings like this with them for granted. I don't take it for granted that I can home school if I want (right now that's the plan). I don't take it for granted that I can do therapy with Brooklynn twice a week and plan my job around that versus vice versa. My job will always be worth the late nights and the craziness for days like this with them. I am thankful I did not have to miss work to take Brooklynn for her biopsy yesterday & that I could let her recoup today. I can't imagine the added stress of having to ask a boss to let me have work off last minute for an appointment my kid needs. & l have written 5829101 posts thanking my clients for letting me have moments like this with them and I will write 582010102875739191 more before I retire one day with carpal tunnel in my wrists from editing and a chiropractor who hates me for slouching at a desk for however many years I can keep doing this and with a happy, happy heart because my job let me snuggle the girls and take them places like Disney and Hawaii and Washington D.C. and the coast more than a teaching job would have allowed me to do had I chosen that path when the road forked right before I graduated from WCU.

I'll trade a bad back and wrists that hurt sometimes and sleep deprivation for all of the bright sides to this business and this life it has let me build. Today’s goal for all of you (especially my overwhelmed photographer friends in our crazy season and my fellow single moms)- think of one or two or ten ways your job, no matter what it is or how much you may hate it some days, has helped provide something you are thankful for. Write it down - no really, right now before you forget and fall back into the stress of your day and the routine. In the comments, on your own page, in the notes of your phone or on a post-it for just you. The next time you feel like quitting or you find yourself crying because it's been "that kind of day" - please read it and add to it.

I'm thankful my job lets me support them as a single mother. I'm thankful my job introduces me to people who make our lives better (like Krista, who made sure that Brooklynn got VIP treatment at Mission yesterday and told everyone about her anxiety and fear of needles. I wouldn't have even known her if she hadn't reached out about family photographs years ago. She wasn't even at work yesterday and she still made it the best appointment Brooklynn has ever had at that hospital).

I'm thankful my job takes us on adventures like to The Tidal Basin for senior photos and the beach for weddings.

I'm thankful I can bring the twins to work with me.

I'm thankful for so many more things... but I am going to add to this list on the days I need to think about it and get from crying over a package of Oreos back to the mood I'm in at this moment. ❤️❤️ PS- I may not be posting updates or blogging, but I am hammering out sessions and weddings like crazy. Yesterday I delivered another fall wedding early [the sunset photo below at Taylor Ranch, where the sunsets are always amazing] and today I plan to do the same for Sarah, my first Biltmore Estate Wedding (and hopefully not my last).

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