The Importance of Flexibility | Houston Family Photographer
I was so excited about having a girl's night with one of my longest and dearest friends, Kelly. I pulled into her driveway to pick her up, but first she had to give me a tour of her beautiful brand new home that I had yet to see in person. We finished up the tour, decided on where we wanted to eat, and headed out the back door. As we were passing through the backyard, her sweet little boy decided it would be funny to include us in his play time. What happened next was more than what we bargained for. You see, he and his sister were playing with the water hose and kiddie pool together, and as we passed by, he decided to turn the hose on us. We ran as fast as we could to try and avoid the spray, and I like to think that my sweet valiant friend threw herself in the way of the water and took that figurative bullet for me. I doubt that was her plan, but in the end, I came away with a little water on my feet while her entire backside was completely drenched! There was frustration as she went back inside to change clothes and redo the back part of her hair. There was scolding of the child, big teary-eyed apologies to mommy, hugs and kisses, and then we were on the road... laughing... hysterically!
Flexibility is important.
No, I'm not talking about the flexibility of your muscles. Although, being a former licensed massage therapist, that's important as well. No, I'm referring to the moment when any and everything goes wrong as you're walking out of the door. How when you make plans for the evening, but your little one (or ones) decides to change those plans, causing you to have to stay home. Making you feel like a high school kid that was just grounded by their parents for something they didn't do. Only you're not in high school and it's not your parents. It's that tiny human that you call son or daughter, and who you are supposed to be in charge of, not the other way around. Ha!
I always swore I wouldn't be the parent that disappeared from my friend's lives once my kids were born. And after our daughter was born, we remained true to that commitment. We were late a lot, but we made it the majority of the time! We've done a decent job even after having our son, even though he was and is much more difficult. But there are times that we've had to say no or back out on plans due to various reasons involving the children. And you know what?
It's okay to say no and do what's best for your family. It's okay to back out on previous commitments if your child needs to finish his nap, or is sick, or if you just know that they're in one of their moods and they're not going to be very pleasant to be around. Which in turn causes you and everyone around you to be miserable. Our responsibility as married couples and as parents is to our spouse and to our children before anybody else.
Now, I'm not saying that you should always say no or always back out on your plans. Nobody likes a flaky friend. But what I am saying is that it's okay to give yourself a little bit of grace when it does happen, and not let guilt and frustration consume you. I've experienced that same emotion in my own personal life, and it can be quite the load to bear. Parenting is hard enough without having to shoulder that type of burden.
One of the biggest reasons why I made the switch from being a portrait family photographer to being a family documentary photographer is because I hated having to see families struggle and sometimes even fight to get everyone into the right spot and have everyone look and smile at the same time. The frustrations that would arise were just not the memories I wanted my clients associating with their family photos. The way I run my business now is so much more enjoyable not only for me but for the families that I work with and get to see truly, and happily, engaging with one another. Loving each other. Just like we as parents need to give ourselves grace to not feel the guilt and frustration when things don't go as planned, I felt the need to give my families grace as well. Why would I want to add to, or produce a stressful situation for any parent or child at any time?
Nobody needs the added stress!
So the next time your little one decides to spray you down with the water hose on your way out, or they're not feeling well, or their nap/bedtime doesn't align with the plans, just remind yourself that it's okay. Take a step back and focus on who and what is most important in your life. Your friends, if they're truly your friends, will be understanding and even supportive of your decision to do what's best for your family.
Your children need you.
They need you to read their cues. They need you to figure out what works for them and what doesn't. They can't do it for themselves. If it was up to my daughter, she would stay up all night long and run herself ragged. But momma knows! Momma knows when she's tired. And so does Daddy. My husband and I can see it in her eyes, and as we watch her get more amped up in an attempt to fight the exhaustion we know exactly what she needs. She and our son are our responsibility. Ours to care for. Ours to tell when to stop, breathe and go to sleep. If we don't do it, no one else will. We must remain flexible for the sake of our children. So...
Give yourself grace!
Embrace every moment,
Olive Shoot Photography
Houston Family Photographer
Family Documentary Photographer
Documenting your story
so that you can simply live it.