(Yes, you can listen to this blog post in audio by clicking above!)

One of my favorite questions to ask recently has been “what is your biggest challenge as a parent?

It’s the question I’m most passionate about asking and hearing the answer to, and it’s the question I most like helping to solve, using photography as a surprisingly powerful tool to do so.  

A big realization for me has been that Photosanity looks like a photography company, but is really secretly a parenting company.

I love that so much!

Everyone has unique parenting challenges, but one of the themes that has been coming up should be no surprise to anyone with young kids, and that’s the challenge of time and balance.

Certainly, it is one of my biggest challenges, trying to fit everything in that I want to do into a limited number of hours. It’s a year-round issue, but with the holidays upon us and the added burden of creating a magical and joy-filled experience for our kids, plus the stress of the election and still-unfolding outcomes, and it would be understandable if you’re looking forward to January 3rd with some longing. I have to admit that I am, just a tiny bit (January 3rd being the day my kids go back to school after the holidays, and everything goes back to normal!)

At this point, as women and as mothers especially, it’s easy to assume that feeling stressed out, anxious and overwhelmed is a given, and par for the course. You may feel skeptical about any proposed solutions.

I don’t have an easy answer, but I do have a suggestion, one that I have been thinking about and working on implementing in my own life lately: simplify.

Great, you might think. How on earth am I going to do that? It doesn’t sound possible, much less appealing.

Well, here is the key.

Don’t think of simplifying as having to give up on some of the things you want to do, or lowering your standards.

In order to simplify, make your goal to impress by doing less.

Yes, I knew this would appeal to the type A overachiever in you! You can actually achieve more by doing less.

The first step to doing this is to recognize that what you do matters (I spoke about this last week), and to remind yourself of the value that you do already provide in all areas of your life. It’s often because we feel so much of our work goes unacknowledged that we get into a cycle of feeling like the goal is to keep trying to do more. Our workaholic culture promotes this idea, whether in the workplace or the parenting sphere.

Stop. You don’t have to buy into this premise.

Flip that around and think about how you could impress by doing less, both at work and at home.

If that sounds impossible, consider that when you do less, you can put more focus and attention on what you are doing so it has a greater impact. Doing fewer things well is better than doing many things less well. Simplifying provides great value in and of itself and is a way of building as well as demonstrating vision, leadership, and confidence.

Take a look at everything you’re doing and ask yourself - how can I do less? How can I simplify this?

For example, do you really need to go to all five holiday events you’ve been invited to this weekend? Or is that just going to drive you and the kids crazy, and would you be better off picking two of them that you can go to and be less stressed about and more thoroughly enjoy?

Do you need to volunteer for every opportunity to be in your kids’ classroom at the moment, or could you pick just one and focus on being present and using it as a chance to connect?

Are you really going to do better work if you stay late at the office tonight, or will everyone be better off if you go home, get a good night’s sleep, and get to the office 30 minutes early to re-engage with your work more efficiently with fresh eyes tomorrow morning?

Achieving more by doing less IS more impressive - it's more sustainable, more efficient, more effective and, if you're looking at a business context, more profitable.

And what does photography have to do with this?

Well, as I said, photography can be an amazing tool for addressing parenting challenges such as this one. I’ll be back next week to explain how.