“One Evening” is a photo essay series that provides a sneak peek into the everyday lives of the Fairfield County Moms Blog contributors. The evening routine is photographed by Anna-Liisa Nixon Photography and words are written by each mom to tell the story behind the images. It’s a rare and intimate look into each family’s life, one evening at a time.
Weeknights in the Kelly House are pretty mundane…kids play, I break up fights while making dinner, we watch a TV show, and I put kids to bed one by one, starting with the youngest while the older people do their homework. My husband commutes to New York City for work, so weeknights are typically just me and the kids. (Full disclosure: I have a sitter one night a week so that I have fewer tiny people to drive around to extra curriculars, all tiny people are guaranteed a bath and I can escape for a barre class…so I’m not a total weeknight martyr to my children!).
For the most part, I’m a pretty hands off mom – I expect the people to entertain themselves while I make dinner and I expect them to do their homework without me over their shoulder. I probably make more work for myself than necessary by doing three separate bedtimes, but I sure do enjoy those fleeting one-on-one bedtime minutes with each child.
Anna-Liisa came on a particularly wild day for us. The kids were out of school for Rosh Hashanah and it was raining buckets, so we had been stuck inside all day…our one outing for the day had been to the library and there was some serious excess energy built up in these people. The 8 year old had gotten an ocean origami book at the library, but we didn’t have any origami paper in the house, so clearly that was going well for him.
Eventually, the kids went off destroying a room and I was left alone to think about the important things with my broccoli. Notice the crock pot on the counter…I could not survive this gig without my beloved crock pot.
Of course wrangling the people to come eat dinner is always an adventure…maybe if I pick up this hat, it will make a difference in the chaos…probably not. On weeknights, we eat dinner at the counter. The three tiny people have seats while I mostly eat standing up…this is something that I don’t care for and am trying to change. I occasionally pull a stool over for myself, but I end up back on my feet within minutes to take care of little wishes and demands. Naturally, there’s more sibling shenanigans than actual eating.
Bath night brings its own special brand of crazy. I had asked the tiny people ahead of time if they were comfortable with Anna-Liisa there during bath time…the 4 year old declared his availability for full frontal nudity right away. If only I had the body confidence of a toddler. But anyways, during bath time, I turned on some music and we tried to have a party over the minutia of washing tiny people and water splashing everywhere. Not pictured: I’m also doing laundry during bath time, because, Motherhood.
And then evening wind down in our jammies. For the sake of time with Anna-Liisa, we read a bedtime book together on the couch before she left. It differed from my usual routine of reading to each kid individually, and it felt pretty nice to cuddle all three on the couch for a change. We also had a free night from homework because of the holiday. We read our newly checked out library book called “Be Kind” and talked about how we can be kind to others at school and in our community. But we still have numerous other books all around us…sometimes I wish that I had a bookshelf in every single room for the number of books we have.
Have you read the recently popular article about the invisible workload of motherhood? I don’t feel like it’s killing me…but what I accomplish around here on a daily basis, what I take care of that no one sees, and what lengthy consideration goes into my every decision certainly all adds to my personal mental drain of mothering. Most of what I do is invisible to all but these three tiny people, and they aren’t lining up to give me a standing ovation. But I stay the course because raising human beings is real work and it’s important work. I hope that you can see a glimpse of yourself and your mommy minutia in my One Evening photos. I always say that this isn’t a glamorous job, but it surely is an amazing one.
Images for this project are captured by Anna-Liisa Nixon Photography. Anna-Liisa specializes in documentary family photography and loves capturing the real, silly, weird, and tender moments of childhood. She captures that blur of motherhood — the laughter and tears, the real moments and connections, and the unique rhythm of a family. To learn more, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
To see all posts in the “One Evening” photo essay series view here.