A Note From the Trenches of Motherhood

Oh, hey there friends! Is everyone doing okay? Keeping your heads above water?

Sunday Morning Project

The last few weeks have been overwhelming and awesome. There are days when I am so, so grateful to have a flexible work life so I can be with my kids when they need me, and days when all I want to do is drop them off at daycare and run out the door. These few weeks at the end of summer are always challenging, as our summer babysitter heads back to college, but my kids don’t yet head back to school. This year was doubly challenging because we had gone on an amazing vacation, so the work had piled up while we were away, just in time for me to be a full time mama again. Yes, I realize these are ridiculous problems (oh no, too much work AND an amazing vacation…poor me!), but they are problematic nonetheless. I realized pretty early into this three week period, I would have to suck it up, and some things would have to fall through the cracks. Things like this blog.

Now, I can’t tell you how frustrating it is for me to not be able to find time to blog (please see note above about ridiculous problems). This very summer I taught a blogging workshop for creatives where I proclaimed bloggers MUST BE CONSISTENT! BLOG ON A REGULAR SCHEDULE! USE YOUR EDITORIAL CALENDAR! PLAN AHEAD!

Ahem.

While I still believe all of those things wholeheartedly, I also believe a person’s health and well-being are more important than a consistent blogging schedule. Also, when I’m stressed I get insane writer’s block. I’ve learned that trying to force it when I am blocked just doesn’t work, so this time around, I decided to let it go. I still had writing deadlines for some of my freelance jobs, plus photo sessions to edit and new projects to plan. My coveted screen time had to be reserved for those priorities, and so the blog sat quietly.

But that’s the thing I’ve learned about blogging in the past 11 years…no matter what, the blog is always there. In previous years it’s sat dormant for over a month before I could write, and it didn’t disappear. These days I’m lucky to have an amazing social media following, so I can still connect with my readers and followers, even if I don’t have the time or energy to devote to a full blog post. In fact, some of my favorite projects have been created during these types of dry spells. Just this morning I woke up inspired and decided to create a new photo series called the “Sunday Morning Project.” Will it be amazing? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just an idea that will fade. I don’t know. All I know is that my head is currently above water, and within the next week, both of my kids will be back in school. So for now, there’s just one thing to do….

…just keep swimming.

Glitter!

Elsewhere : A Roundup

You guys, it’s been fun around here lately! I’ve been so fortunate to have a ton of new opportunities head my way in the past few months, but often, I forget to share them with you once they are out in the wild. While this blog and my photography will always be my first loves, it’s pretty cool to be able to write for other outlets and share about things that might not be a good fit somewhere else. With that, here are a few things I’ve been working on…

parenting with an age gap
My first post on the Kansas City Moms Blog went up last week, and it’s all about parenting kids with an age gap.

Most of my friends and family had children within one or two years of each other, meaning when they have activities or plans, for the most part all of their children can participate and enjoy. Taking a 9-year-old to a preschool play date isn’t exactly her idea of a great time! And my son is constantly whining because his sister gets to have sleepovers with friends and more independence. When I try to explain that he is only four, and sleepovers don’t happen in our family until kindergarten, he usually just stomps off in a huff. I get it. Being little stinks sometimes. It can be extremely frustrating to parent children going through completely different life stages. On one hand you have a toddler temper tantrum, but on the other you have a tween rolling her eyes and crying over friend drama. It’s exhausting, and can feel like you’re constantly switching gears.

Read more about how we’re taking on these challenges on the Kansas City Moms Blog!

Glitter!
A few weeks ago I assisted for a Senior Elite Photo Session with Amanda Yount Photography! It was such a fun experience! There is a great write-up and video from the session on her blog.

This spring and summer in Kansas City has been one of the wettest in recent history. For almost a month it rained daily, with flooding becoming a real threat to the area. So we weren’t surprised when the rain clouds rolled in, but we prayed they would pass over without incident. We arrived at the baseball fields and the girls changed into some adorable Royals gear, but as we gathered in the bleachers, the wind picked up and the rain started to fall. We all ran to our cars, and decided as a group to try and wait out the storm. There was lots of texting between cars, and I’m so grateful for these girls, who were total rockstars. After about 30 minutes, the rain slowed and the clouds parted! The team wiped down the bleachers, and we were ready to go!

See more (along with the amazing images) on the Amanda Yount Photography blog!

Addiction.com Expert Blogger

I’m so proud to be a Recovery Expert Blogger over at Addiction.com! One of my favorite things is helping other people through telling my recovery story. I feel like everything I’ve gone through is worth sharing, especially if it helps even just one person. My first post was all about how I coped with being a summer mama while going through early recovery.

After that initial outing, I found other tools to help me through the hot summer months. The biggest and probably most important was learning how to ask for help. Before recovery, I was an A+ parent who refused any assistance. But as a mom in recovery, I had to learn how to ask for help when I was overwhelmed. And I quickly learned something amazing: People want to help! It makes others feel good when they help you! What a revelation! All that time I’d assumed that if I asked for help I would be seen as a burden. Turns out asking for help made me stronger than I’d ever been.

Read more over at Addiction.com!

An Updated Look for Crazy Bananas!

A few years ago this site went through a major redesign for the millionth time. It was the first time I had hired an outside designer to create a logo and design materials for me to use throughout the site and it felt like such a luxury to do so! I loved the clean look of the site and the splash of color and fun the logo brought to my brand. However, it’s been about three years since that redesign, and while I have updated the look of the website, the logo and my other branding was starting to look a little stale. So earlier this year I hired the amazing Sarah of Floc5 to freshen things up! I love what she did, taking a logo I absolutely loved and updating it without losing the original intent. Crazy Bananas Creative Studio is quite frankly an accidental endeavor…a product of a creative mind trapped inside the head of a non-artist. When I began this site 11 years ago, it was a way for me to let out all of the musings in my head through writing and then photography, but it certainly wasn’t a serious business. It was fun, silly, sometimes completely inappropriate and mostly novice. I really wanted to keep that spirit as I move forward, because when I take myself too seriously, I almost always lose my way.

Sarah did a wonderful job of creating a logo, which captures the original, wide-eyed optimism of an artist discovering her canvas, as well as incorporating a more slick element that helps elevate Crazy Bananas Creative Studio to the level where my business now operates. The past, the present and the future…all in one paint drop!

Crazy_Bananas_Logo

I will be working with Floc5 on some upcoming projects both for the site and for other clients, and I can’t wait to share more of her work with you all. It’s pretty fantastic!

Working Mama at Home in the Summer : An Update

We are almost halfway through the summer…can you believe it? Me either. In Kansas, we go back to school in mid-August, so July sort of feels like the beginning of the end. As a work-at-home mom for the first time, I was pretty terrified of summer. I’ve been super-lucky to have a packed work schedule, which I know is a huge blessing for a first time business owner, but to be honest, it’s been overwhelming. As I’m just starting out, I tend to say yes to every opportunity, because I’m not sure when another one will be coming my way. So far, my professional life feels very much like feast or famine. I am either so busy I don’t have time to sleep or eat or breathe….or I have absolutely nothing to do.

Tate on a Carnival Swing | Kansas Photographer

I’m so, so grateful we were able to find good childcare for the summer. I wouldn’t have survived this otherwise. In June alone I’ve had multiple photo sessions, my first art show opening, a trip to NYC for a photo shoot, I’ve assisted for other photographers on shoots and taught my first blogging workshop. We’ve also tried to make family time a priority, with a week long trip to western Kansas and a weekend at the lake. While all of these opportunities are AMAZING, I would have simply drowned without the help of our babysitter. She is flexible with my nutty schedule and the kids love her.

Grand Central at Night | NYC Photographer

Before I started this journey, I used to think work-at-home moms were the luckiest of all. They got to work AND be home with their kids. It was the best of both worlds! Right?! And while I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and I’m sure this schedule is the best for our family, there are still challenges. When Tate knocks at my office door, begging for me to come play with him. When Lucy says she’d rather I took them to the pool instead of the sitter so I could watch her do her new trick off the diving board. When the sitter leaves and I still find myself with a pile of work left uncompleted. When all I want to do is go to sleep, but there is a deadline looming and the house is finally quiet for the night. When I feel like instead of getting the “best of both worlds,” I’m getting the worst.

Kids at the Lake | Kansas Photographer

But if there is one thing I’ve learned during this journey, it’s don’t concentrate too much on the negatives, because the situation could be completely different tomorrow! Working for myself has given me the opportunity to try so many new things, I never know what is coming next. And that’s true with mothering as a work-at-home mom too. Some days feel perfect, and some days feel awful…but mostly what I feel is that blissful in between. Not quite perfection, but not the absolute worst either. Just purely okay. And for now, that’s enough.

Blogging for Creatives Recap : Kansas City Blogger Workshop

Last week I was thrilled (terrified, elated, etc.) to teach a workshop on blogging for creatives and small business owners for Hive Workshops. Hive Workshops, based in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City, hosts small business workshops to help creative entrepreneurs thrive. My class was all about how to use blogging as a medium to help connect with clients, enhance your messaging and grow your business.

Hive Workshops KC Blogger 008

Hive Workshops KC Blogger 003

It felt pretty incredible to share all of the knowledge and tips I’ve gathered over the last 11 years of blogging, and the creatives who attended the workshop were eager and open to learn. I am not much of a public speaker (and we all know I’m an introvert), but I actually, really, truly enjoyed this experience. I kept the class fairly interactive and covered topics that the creatives could then go and immediately use in their own businesses. We talked about storytelling, creating connection with clients, promotion, and social media. I also shared some of my favorite tricks and tips for making your business blog into a fun, simple tool for growth. One of the most important tips I shared was to be as authentic as possible. People know when they are being marketed to, so instead, actually try to cultivate a real connection. Be upfront about who you are, especially your mistakes and flaws. In my experience, when we share our weaknesses, it makes others feel more comfortable sharing their own stories. When the sharing becomes a conversation, that’s when the fun begins!

Hive Workshops KC Blogger

Hive Workshops KC Blogger

I felt the class went really well, and I’ve been thrilled with the response from the creatives who attended. One creative even gave me a sketch she made featuring one of my lessons. The reaction as a whole was so positive, I’m hoping to lead another workshop soon! When I decided to strike out on my own as a writer and photographer earlier this year, one of my goals was to add teaching to my resume. I love sharing my passion and knowledge with others, and I’m super grateful the team at Hive Workshops gave me the opportunity to do just that. After the workshop, I went out with a few friends to The Ship, a local dive where I learned the greatest benefit of working with photographers for a living…when you have a fantastic night and want to document it, they will professionally light and pose you in front of rad neon signs and make sure the moment is captured perfectly, using only their cell phones!

Hive Workshops KC Blogger

Hive Workshops KC Blogger

If you’re interested in having me teach a workshop for your group or organization, please contact me at megan@crazybananas.com for more information!

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