Do you see your family obligations as opportunities?

Ever since I was the height of a fire hydrant, I DREAMED of the day I would own a dog.

Dreamed of the day I would get to take my dog out.

Dreamed of the day I would run with her in the forests, on the beach.

Dreamed of the day I would teach her ALL.THE.TRICKS.

Oh how things changed once we got into the routine of things. It felt almost as if spending time with my dog was standing in my way, when I felt all this pressure to make things happen with my business. And yes – she really did need 4+ hours of exercise per day the first 5 years.

Have to.

“I have to take Nova out.”

That’s a sentence I’ve uttered in various iterations – often to myself, sometimes to others – for the past 6 years.

I have to take Nova out before I can start working for the day.

I have to tire Nova out if I’m going to get any work done.

I have to walk Nova, even though it’s a really warm day.

It’s really easy to get so wrapped up in being busy with work, that the time we spend with partners, kids – or pets – seems like an obligation. Like a “have to”.

As if doing things with or for them is a chore, rather than something we actually happily would do for them AND for ourselves, too.

Why do we see family activities as obligations?

The successes out there are easier to measure, easier to be praised for, easier to be acknowledged for. Pats on the back, shoutouts on social media, pay raises, windowed offices. Numbers and titles.

The successes in our homes are intangible. A happy partner who can’t wait to curl up on the couch when we get home. A kid who tells us about their crush at school. A pet who gets up to greet you when you get home. Your feeling of peace and gratitude as you walk over the threshold.

Relationships make us happy

Research says that the number one thing that we say brings us true happiness is our relationships with people close to us… but few of us work to actively maintain the important relationships in our lives.

Does your success come at the expense of not being fully present on your free time?

Is your love for others reflected in your attitude about the time you spend with them?

Will they be waiting once you’re finally done with that one last super important project… that never seems to be the last?

Get to.

Let’s ditch the mindset of obligation when it comes to the ones closest to us. Oftentimes these are activities that actually would bring us joy if we weren’t so concerned with keeping busy at work.

What if all your family obligations were the thing that actually gave you drive and energy to do your work?

Let’s view time spent with family as the opportunity it is, to connect with loved ones and ourselves, too.

In the past couple years Nova has slowed down a bit, and would be tired enough with less than an hour of fetching per day. But I choose to take her on long walks that include just a bit of fetch, because it means that I’m moving my body and spending a good chunk of time with her, connecting to her, myself, and my thoughts for about three hours per day.

Of course it’s sometimes nice to get a break from our daily routines. But when we really put things into perspective, it really is some dang good orchestrating by the Universe that we get to enjoy people and things we love.

Get to.

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Documentary newborn and family photographer serving San francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and surrounding areas