last week  i was at my computer finishing the last of my editing for the busy fall photography season.  i have to admit during the month of november, with all of the shoots i had scheduled, it seemed like i was editing in every spare moment i had.    in addition to being a photographer, mother, and wife, i am also my children's teacher. we have now homeschooled our children for the past two years.   you can read about this decision more here, but it was by far one of the best God led decisions our family has ever made. as i sat at the table, my 8 year old daughter came up to me, and asked me to do something with her.  at this time, i cannot remember what that something was, but i told her i had a lot of work to finish and i would play later.   and then the words she said came out and i can still hear them loudly in my head.  to be honest, it's hard for me to even write about this but i need to.   this week i came across a blog called the hands free mama and i have been blessed to get to know the writer, Rachel through emails.   i have been so inspired by her honesty and open heart.  i feel as mothers we all need to be authentic. we need to share not only the joys on our journeys as mothers,  but share our lessons as well. today i am here to share the words my daughter said, which i can not let free from my head. you see, she told me "you never play with me. you are always on your computer"   wow.  those words stung in my ears like no other.

at that moment i felt sick to my stomach, sad, and angry with myself.  i am with my children all day, every day.  i bake with them, i craft with them, i do daily devotions with them, we school together...i really could go on an on.   i do not think  that i am a mother missing out on my children's childhood in any way.  and i do know that children can have a way of exaggerating the way they are feeling, but even so, the words hurt.  they really made me look at my priorities and commitments and reflect.  how often do i play on "their terms"?   how often, do i stop whatever it is i am doing and say sure let's go?  it's easy to play when i've planned the craft or activity to fit our daily schedule.  but it isn't always easy to stop something we are doing (which may very well  be important) to go play.  is it always easy to play in the backyard with the kids  (no, not be out there while they play, but really play with them)?  is it easy to stop what we are doing and play a board game when asked?  the list could go on.

we've been blessed that  i can stay home with our children.  my photography business started as a passion and a  way of giving back to others in my community.  i realized this year that i cannot keep up at the pace i was going and make everyone happy.  my home life was neglected during this crazy time of shooting other families and that is not acceptable to me as the mother of our home.   i have decided that in 2013 i will be doing much less work and not shooting  at all after September.   as much as i love to share this gift; being a mother, wife, and teacher are the priorities God has given me at this point in my life.  i don't want to neglect those duties, because i over-committed myself outside of our home.

i believe that as mothers we have to have our own loves and interests. we need to pursue something we love outside of motherhood.  i have always done this and feel it is very important.  i have no intention of giving up this passion, because i know that God gives each of us our talents and places these passions on our heart. i pray for His guidance in showing me what He has planned for me to do with this gift and how i can glorify Him through it.

as any mother that works from home can testify to, boundaries have to be set.    i let myself take on so much work, outside of our home, that boundaries got lost and the work overtook my home.  each day there has to be a "set time" when work is done.  in addition, time for house chores, cooking, etc. are planned each day, so that expectations are in place. this is easier said than done, but in 2013, my plan is to try my best to do better.  i say try, because i know i will always fall short of being perfect. i just don't want to miss any moment with my children because i let other priorities take precedence.

one afternoon this week  my daughter came and asked me to do origami with her.   and yes, a bathroom was calling my name to get cleaned.  my husband can testify to the fact that that bathroom was pretty awful.  but i set my bucket down and i went and did origami with my cherished 8 year old.  we had the best time laughing and talking and just being together.   i love my children so much and i just pray they will feel my never ending love for them deep in their hearts.