The last two and a half weeks have been quite the ride. We went from cancelling our March Break plans to self isolation within a 24 hour period and I finally feel like everything has stopped spinning long enough for me to catch my breath.

For 14 years I have been a stay-at-home parent and a work-from-home parent and none of those experiences prepared me for the last two and a half weeks. We are a family who spends a lot of time together but who is always on the go and this transition has been a hard one for all of us. We haven’t found our ‘new normal’ yet.

The realities of isolating mean more relaxed screen rules. Taken by my 7 year old

The novelty of school being closed wore off quickly and we’ve spent the past week trying to find a new routine and flow to our days. Although my studio and business are closed, there has been a lot of work behind the scenes to connect with my March and April clients and create Plans A, B, C and D for scheduled sessions. I have cried a lot: I miss my clients, I miss holding babies, and I miss playing with toddlers.

I am incredibly sad and overwhelmed and I am also grateful I have a safe, warm home to shelter my family. I am grateful we are all together. I am grateful my husband is able to work from home.

We have a routine, of sorts, that involves learning activities, play, creativity, quiet time, outside time, and social time (with each other or over FaceTime with friends). We have re-discovered old board games, new ways to craft, and are tackling a wickedly hard 1000 piece puzzle. We even used my backdrop paper for a giant birthday surprise for Brenda.

We are baking and cooking and watching Disney +. We are working our way through all the National Geographic shows because they appeal to nearly everyone in our family. We have started our garden in a temporary office greenhouse. One of our cats is determined to topple it and I’m wondering how long it’ll be before we have a floor covered in dirt.

If we haven’t already connected on Instagram I would love to stay in touch. I love seeing all my clients photos show up in my feed and on my stories. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day.

Capturing the Chaos

The stories about this chapter in our lives will be told and re-told to our grandchildren and their grandchildren. I struggled initially to pick up my camera but am trying to take photos everyday with both my camera and my phone because I want to remember this time, as hard as it is.

Not only are photos a wonderful way to document history but they can help us with our own memories and perspective. When we feel overwhelmed or sad, looking back over happy moments during our day, at the connections we had as a family, is a wonderful reminder that there are moments of beautiful happiness. I’m not discounting the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, but instead trying to find moments of gratitude amidst everything that is going on.

Here are some of my strategies for documenting your current reality:

  1. Embrace the chaos. Your house will not always be this messy and your kids will not always be wearing pjs 24/7. Its very likely that some of their favourite memories will be wearing whatever they want and playing with their toys all over the house
  2. Document your day hour by hour. One of my favourite photo projects is a ‘day in the life’. Set a timer on your phone and take a photo of whatever you’re doing, every hour on the hour.
  3. Take photos of your new routines. What are the activities that make up your day now that you are home with your family. Make sure to take photos as your day unfolds. Your kids will love to look back at how their life changed but also what stayed the same.
  4. Change your perspective. Photograph an activity or scene from as far back as you can, as close as you can, from below, from above, and then from any angle or perspective that helps tell the story of what is unfolding.
  5. Capture connection. Take photos of your kids talking with family and friends over FaceTime. Of your spouse working from home. Of everyone cuddled up on the couch watching a movie. Hand your phone or camera over to your partner or one of your older kids to make sure you’re also in the photos.