2022 Focus Word | Balance

December 31, 2021

Phew! What a year 2021 has been! Devoted was my focus word and let me tell you, that’s exactly what I was. I might even say maybe a little too devoted. This year was spent making up for all the time we missed in 2020. I had so many weddings this year which is amazing! In between those, my time was spent with my family on short weekend getaways to make new memories. While it was an incredible year full of fun, laughter, and adventure, I am exhausted. In addition to being a wedding photographer, I work a 9-5 job, and I am a single parent to three children. My life literally has no chill. It has been since April 10th that I have had a completely free weekend with no plans or expectations. Clearly, I need to learn how to say ‘no.’ With all that said, my focus word for 2022 is balance.

Family Balance

In 2022, I am going to be mindful of not overextending myself. One of my goals for 2021 was to spend more quality time with my children. In my family, we always value experiences over things and they’re old enough now that they remember the experience. As a parent, I adore watching them see the world with wonder and amazement. We were fortunate enough to have quite a few getaways this year. I took the kids to Ludington and they got to swim in Lake Michigan for the first time. Although, if you ask them, they much preferred the hotel pool, since it was warmer and didn’t have waves. They got to experience camping for the first time. I rented a cabin locally and they LOVED getting to sleep in their sleeping bags on a bunk bed. The s’mores and exploring for bugs were a big hit too! Lastly, we have family that live out of state, and I was able to surprise my oldest with a weekend at their house. She was ecstatic for her first plane ride, and she did amazing. Proud momma moment when so many passengers around us commented that they didn’t even know a child was nearby. Granted she is 5 years old, so I fully expect good behavior at that age, however it is still nice to hear.

OKC sign in Oklahoma City

Jet Lag

All the traveling was incredible! We had SO many fun moments this year and I am grateful for every single one. On the other hand, being the sole person to make sure we had everything we needed was draining. Going forward, I am going to limit the number of trips to one or two major ones each year. So far, I have one planned to visit Hocking Hills this summer. We’re renting a super cute AirBNB cabin nearby the state park. It’ll be a fun week of hiking and exploring, then relaxing around a bonfire eating s’mores. Lastly, I would love to be able to spend the holidays next year somewhere warm. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make that happen though. Flying with three children alone sounds like a fairly daunting task, but we’ll see.

Balance a Healthy Lifestyle

One of the things I learned in 2021 is that my knees are not working like they should. One of my goalS in 2021 was to devote more time to myself and a healthy lifestyle. However in true mom fashion, I put myself last. Instead, I spent the year in pain. I twisted my knee at the end of July during our camping trip. That resulted in me being on crutches for most of August. My doctor then referred me to an orthopedic specialist. An MRI revealed that my kneecaps are not in the correct position, and I have no cartilage left. Unfortunately, it’s past the point of repairing, I need a knee replacement. He recommended I continue doing physical therapy and work on being healthier. Let me just say, living in constant pain is no joke. It’s taxing both physically and mentally. I am looking forward to the day I can finally have surgery, after wedding season of course!

Balancing Act | Photography

This year I juggled more schedules than I thought I could or probably should have. At times I felt like I really was part of a circus. Therefore for 2022, I have made a set availability schedule. This will allow me to serve my couples best, as well as be present with my family and take care of my mental health. This year I worked very hard to put better processes in place, making the back end of your experience streamlined. Turnaround times for galleries have been shortened and the time it takes to design an album has been minimized. I have a few more upgrades in the works for the new year. They will continue to help me with that work/life balance too. I can’t wait to see what next year brings!

Michigan wedding photographer Natalie Mae Photography 2021 clients balance
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