This Was MY Day | by Holly Awwad

 

Hi. My name is Holly and I am a proud, stay at home mom to three kids that are now at school ALL DAY. (Insert hysterical sobbing here.)

The first three weeks of our 19/20 school year are in the books. It’s a big year for my girls. My youngest started Kindergarten, my middle started Middle School, and my oldest started High School. These milestones are so exciting for everyone and make my Momma heart so proud. But I’m going to be honest… while I’m happy to be back into a routine now that school is in full swing, I’m feeling a bit lost. The newness of “Back to School” has officially worn off, and I’m left here in a quiet house missing may babies something FIERCE.

I know what you’re thinking… a quiet house sounds GLORIOUS. It WAS glorious... for the first week or so. And I can get things done like never before without being pulled in 10 different directions between the kids, the husband and the pets. And I can even pee by myself (well almost… there’s always a dog or cat that follows me into the bathroom. They must have learned this from the kids.) But after I enjoy my morning coffee and fiddle around on my computer for a bit, I’m finding myself looking around thinking “now what?” For someone who has dedicated my entire life to “Momming” for the last 6 years since my youngest was born (I worked full time prior to the birth of my youngest), I’m facing a bit of an identity crisis.

I could go back to work… but I volunteer at the school a couple times a week and my girls need me to chauffeur them around to play dates, club meetings and practices. Their schedules still require that my schedule remains flexible… at least for the time being. Thank GOODNESS they still need me for some things! But I’m still learning to deal with the new reality of how most of my day time hours will be structured going forward. Just as they are all dealing with their new schools and schedules, I’m learning to deal with the effects of them being at school all day.

As a way to work through all these mixed emotions, I decided to step back and really take a look at myself. I’ve been wrapped up in my girls’ lives for so long, following them around with my camera to document all their beauty and adorable moments. Now that they are gone all day, what’s left? I have started to lose a sense of who I am as a person. I need to practice a little self love and learn to appreciate myself and what I do for my family when no one else is around. I still have value and purpose… even if it often goes unnoticed. It’s kind of like the old riddle - “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Yes… yes it does!

An exercise I give to my students when learning to find inspiration in their everyday lives is to complete an “Hour-by-Hour” photo challenge. Choose a day, and take at least one image every waking hour during that day from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. It seems simple, but it‘s more challenging than it sounds when dealing with the mundane of everyday life. I’ve done this many times and it always challenges me to come up with new ways to find beauty and see things differently. Looking back, my Hour-by-Hour challenges have all revolved around my children and what they do with their day. Every single image. But I was there… hiding behind the camera because in those moments they were my sole focus.

I’ve decided to take this Hour-by-Hour Challenge and give it a bit of a new twist for me. Since it has always inspired me to find beauty that I may have overlooked in the past, I took this challenge in the hopes that this time around it would help me shed some light on the beauty and purpose within myself that I’ve ignored for so long. They’re gone 9-10 hours a day now… but I’m still here.

I took this challenge on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. These aren’t perfect. Some are kinda boring. But this was my day, both with and without them.

This challenge allowed me to appreciate my time both with and without my girls in a whole new way. It made me see that as our lives are evolving, my art is evolving right along with it. Embracing the changes in each phase of my life will help foster growth and inspiration in my work. Coming to this realization makes me stop mourning the loss of the way things used to be, and excited for what lies ahead. Bring it on!

6:34 am… I’ve been up almost an hour and getting the girls on the bus.  24mm, ISO 3200, f 1.4, 1/80s

6:34 am… I’ve been up almost an hour and getting the girls on the bus.
24mm, ISO 3200, f 1.4, 1/80s

7:51 am… Walking Charlotte to the bus. 24mm, ISO 400, f 2.2, 1/250s

7:51 am… Walking Charlotte to the bus.
24mm, ISO 400, f 2.2, 1/250s

8:21 am… Morning Coffee 24mm freelensed, ISO 400, 1/100s

8:21 am… Morning Coffee
24mm freelensed, ISO 400, 1/100s

9:38 am… HS Admin Duties 24mm, ISO 1600, f 2.2, 1/400s

9:38 am… HS Admin Duties
24mm, ISO 1600, f 2.2, 1/400s

10:54 am… Walking the dogs Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 1000, f 5.6, 1/400s

10:54 am… Walking the dogs
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 1000, f 5.6, 1/400s

11:50 am… Laundry 24mm, ISO 2500, f 2.8, 1/200s

11:50 am… Laundry
24mm, ISO 2500, f 2.8, 1/200s

12:31 pm… Pretty Mr. Pickles Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 1250, f 5.6, 1/160s

12:31 pm… Pretty Mr. Pickles
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 1250, f 5.6, 1/160s

1:27 pm… Way out of my comfort zone. Self Portraits. Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/125s

1:27 pm… Way out of my comfort zone. Self Portraits.
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/125s

1:30 pm… Way out of my comfort zone. Self Portraits. Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/125s

1:30 pm… Way out of my comfort zone. Self Portraits.
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/125s

1:31 pm… Way out of my comfort zone. Self Portraits. Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/125s

1:31 pm… Way out of my comfort zone. Self Portraits.
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/125s

2:54 pm… The big girls are home! Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 400, f 5.6, 1/1000s

2:54 pm… The big girls are home!
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 400, f 5.6, 1/1000s

3:52 pm… Another uncomfortable shot. Trying to get used to being in front of the camera for a change. Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/250s

3:52 pm… Another uncomfortable shot. Trying to get used to being in front of the camera for a change.
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 2500, f 5.6, 1/250s

4:25 pm… Running errands 24mm freelensed, ISO 200, 1/2500s

4:25 pm… Running errands
24mm freelensed, ISO 200, 1/2500s

6:07 - 6:38 pm… Missed the 5 o’clock hour but made up for it playing outside after dinner.
All shot with Lensbaby Twist 60

7:22 pm… Flowers by the driveway Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 1250, f 5.6, 1/125s

7:22 pm… Flowers by the driveway
Lensbaby Sweet 50, ISO 1250, f 5.6, 1/125s

8:35 pm… Kids off to bed 24mm, ISO 4000, f 1.4, 1/50s

8:35 pm… Kids off to bed
24mm, ISO 4000, f 1.4, 1/50s

9:24pm… Sweetly dreaming 24mm freelensed, ISO 2500, 1/320s

9:24pm… Sweetly dreaming
24mm freelensed, ISO 2500, 1/320s

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