balancing series: Amanda

A warm welcome to my next guest Amanda of Little Labyrinth. I first came across Amanda's beautiful photography about seven or eight years ago and have been an avid fan every since (an aside, I hope one day I can commission her to capture my family). It really is a  breath of fresh air reading her blog, glimpsing her work, crafting, cooking, faith and everyday life as a family of eight in rural Australia...
All photos belong to Amanda Keeys

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your family
We are a family of eight living in the country music capitol of Australia. My husband is a primary school teacher, and we have six children ranging in ages from 13 years old down to our sweet baby who is (nearly) 10 months old. I classify myself as a stay at home mama, but I am also a professional photographer, a knitter, and a knitting designer.

2. What things in life inspire you most? 
I know it's so obvious to say my kids, but they really do. Whether it's something funny they say, some crazy idea they come up, a song they make up, they way they won't.stop.growing and I have to photograph it all so I don't ever forget...!   Apart from them..Light, the way it changes throughout the day, the way it filters through the curtains or the trees. Stories, especially fairytales. And many, many other photographers, artists and knitters I have the pleasure of knowing personally or following online.

3. How do you currently manage mothering, home and life together with working on personal and/or professional projects?
You know, so many people ask how I manage (because we have 6 kids I guess) to get everything done. The truth is, most days I don't even know! Sometimes things accidentally fall through the cracks while I try to take care of it all, and over the years we have had to let more and more "go" as far as free time or certain friendships or activities we may have once liked to do. I guess I have a bit of a routine as far as housework goes, developed over the years so I don't get bogged down in endless laundry and dirty dishes. It is so hard for me to put down in words how anything gets done though! It just does through necessity.

I try not to touch my computer / anything work related during the daylight hours (although I will check email on my phone... sneaky haha) and this helps keep me focused on the kids and working my way through laundry and other chores. The evenings are my time to pull out my knitting bag, while my husband goes through bedtime routines with the older kids, and I have Piper falling asleep in one of our wraps. I usually knit from around 8pm until  midnight, depending on how tired I am. If I've had a photo shoot or I want to look through photographs to pick out for my blog I'll do that right after the kids have gone to bed.

4. What do you like best about your current set-up?
Right now things are quite flexible as I only take on an extremely limited number of photography clients, and I can knit in the evenings after the kids are in bed. It's great to be able to stay at home with my littlies (the older four are all in school) and be able to put all of my energy into doing art projects together (or the less fun task of chores) and not have to worry that I'm neglecting my "work".

5. Are there things you'd like to do differently/better? 
Oh gosh, what wouldn't I like to do better?! I wish I was more organised in just about every way!

6. What is your favourite part of the day?
Absolutely in the late afternoon/early evening. I'm able to go for a long walk with Piper wrapped to me, sometimes with one or two of the older kids, and just think things through or even not think at all! I get to just breath and enjoy the fresh air and relative quiet for awhile, watch the way the light changes as the sun gets a little lower in the sky.

7. What advice, if any, would you give other mothers about finding a good balance?
Don't  be afraid to say no. Remember that you can't be everything to everyone all of the time and that is OK.