Update: This post was originally posted on 11th October 2020 but after changing my website this post had to be re-published due to technical issues.
Fitting any hobby around family life can be difficult especially when the kids are young, and you’ve got all the normal life stresses of work and bills.
For me fitting any hobby around my family is difficult as I am a working single mum of one (well two if you include my cat, Chase), plus I am essentially a career for my elderly grandmother who has vascular dementia although she lives almost an hour away from me. So, every day I’m on the phone to her and I go through to her at least once a week. Of course, I do not object to doing anything for my gran, but it does reduce my time with my camera.
If you are anything like me time with your camera is something that you savor and personally, I can never get enough of taking photos. If I was asked why I suppose it would be because I have finally found something that I am naturally good at. Of course, as I’ve touched on before I’ve had to learn the technical side and I’ve had frustrations, but it is still something that I am passionate about.
How I used to Manage
My ex-husband used to come to my home of an evening in the middle of the week to spend time with our daughter and he didn’t have an issue with me popping out of an evening to take photos as this allowed him some proper time alone with our daughter. However, due to a change in circumstances he stopped coming to mine of an evening and so ended my ability to pop out one evening a week with my camera and boy do I miss that time.
Now my time outside with my camera is usually limited to the weekends when my daughter is with her dad. I can sometimes get a bit of time with my camera when my daughter is with me as she loves taking photos as well. So often when we go out, I can take my camera and take photos, and my daughter loves ‘helping’. This time I often feel is like a double-edged sword, on the one hand I love spending time with my daughter more than anything and the fact we share the same love is fantastic.
On the other hand, I often use photography as my way to unwind and can never give it even half my normal amount of attention as I would when I am by myself. And of course, the fact that my daughter wants to take photos as well means I sometimes have to let her use my camera as her camera is not the best for battery life. As well as this, as she gets older (she's going to be 8 this December, where as the time gone?!) she is more likely to copy what I do to get photography. So, going right up to the edge of a body of water or clambering up a rocky edge is not something I can do when she's with me. Not because she isn't able to stand in a safe place for a couple of minutes but because she wants to do as I do but she hasn't got that ability to judge how safe or dangerous something is. Now yes children have to learn how to judge when something is dangerous or safe, but my daughter her has had issues with her motor skills & is currently being assessed for sensory issues. And this means I am a little bit more cautious than other parents.
All that being said however I love having my daughter with me and if I had to chose between taking photos with my daughter by my side or by myself every time, well it’s a no brainer I would chose to have her with me.
I suppose that’s the best way to fit any hobby round family life, especially if it involves going outdoors, is to involve the kids. Of course, it doesn’t need to be a hobby that involves going outside to get the kids involved. I have often taken photos inside and my daughter loves becoming a model for me.
Another way I fit photography around family life is if I am doing a photo project on still life then I can do this when my daughter is in bed for the night. Just like with the photograph below I just have to make sure that the lighting is correct, but that’s part of the challenge that I enjoy.
How do you fit photography or any hobby around your family? I’d love to hear your tips and pieces of advice.