Shelter In Place is NOT Summer Vacation

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Who else is feeling this intense pressure to completely re-organize their home, cook gourmet meals every night, learn mandarin, aid your kiddos with e-learning, and craft or bake with them every day at a Martha Stewart level – all while trying to run your business or work your job from home?


Each and every day I’m receiving emails or targeted FB/IG ads from various businesses – do this during quarantine, learn that, use this time to…and I’m over here thinking I’m doing something wrong because I can barely figure out how to get time for a shower and make dinner.

Yesterday was the first time, since the Shelter In Place order in Illinois started on March 21, that I really broke down. I cried on and off for most of the day. And friends, I’m not a crier. Why did I cry? Well, for any number of reasons to be honest. Namely, because I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that I wasn’t using this time as efficiently as my social media feed is making me feel I should. Overwhelmed because I had set unrealistic self-imposed deadlines for things I want to accomplish in my business. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of information coming at me regarding e-learning for my 5th grader and freshman. Overwhelmed by the new COVID-19 statistics. Overwhelmed by being asked what is for dinner – while I’m making breakfast.

As I was talking to my friend Priya about this, it occurred to me that there are others feeling exactly the way I am/was and that they/you might need a reminder that we are not in this alone.


I’ve been asked more than once what makes this different from summer vacation. The difference, for me, is that I know summer vacation is coming and I know when it will end. I don’t take on big changes/projects in the summer, just my normal photography sessions + editing. Also, in the summer, I can leave the kids home for a couple of hours and go to the library and work without interruptions or they can go to friends or grandparent’s houses. The difference is, that during “normal” breaks from school we aren’t also experiencing the uncertainties that this pandemic brings. We aren’t all on edge all. of. the. time.

Also, in the summer there is baseball, and barbecues and the kids have people to play with, and we can see our friends and we can go to the pool and sit in the sunshine. In the summer we aren’t trying to help teachers educate our children. In the summer we can hug our friends without fear. We don’t have to worry that causall interaction with a family member, friend or stranger is going to cause us or our family to possibly get ill. Potentially really really ill.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this

It is OK to not do it all. Let me repeat. It is OK to not do all of the things.

It’s OK to acknowledge you’re feeling overwhelmed and scared. Let yourself wallow and binge Netflix for a day. Let your family eat cereal for supper one night. If your kids are old enough, tell them to make their own lunch. If you’re self-employed, move that deadline back. You’re not going to fire yourself, right? (thanks to my friend Emily for this reminder) Unfollow or pause for 30 days that mom or business that is making you like you’re somehow “failing quarantine.” This is unchartered territory for us all. Never before has our WORLD experienced what we are going through now. Make this time what works for YOU and YOUR family. Give yourself grace. Cry for a day and then wake up the next day, put on your big girl panties and get sh*t done. Or don’t get it done. That’s totally up to you.

Stay Connected

A couple of weeks ago my friends Emily & Holly joined me in a group Facetime. Holly & I were making dinner while Emily was working. Holly entertained us with sporadic cooking instructions and tips. Emily and I got a kick out of it and some much-needed belly laughs. It was great – and I felt refreshed afterward. Our conversation was normal. It wasn’t focused on the Coronavirus, being unemployed or any number of our troubles. It was just girl time, the 3 amigos hanging out.

Thank goodness for the gift of technology right now! Can you imagine if this had happened 20, 30, even 40 or more years ago? We have the gift of being able to stay connected {virtually} to loved ones. Use it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out. Chances are your friend or family member is having similar feelings. If you’re feeling great – AWESOME! Check-in on a friend and see if they need encouragement. If you find yourself in a panic in the middle of the night, here are some exercises for staying grounded.

We’re all in this together my friends and we’ll get through it. We’ll come out stronger and with a new respect for our health care workers, a new appreciation for hugs, and a deeper faith in God’s ultimate plan.



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Born and raised right here in central Illinois – Cissna Park to be exact – I transplanted over 20 years ago to Fisher. I’m proud to say I’m now a Fisher Bunnie (yep, that’s our school mascot, you can’t make these things up). When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hanging out with my hubby and 2 kiddos, Payton and Mackenzie.

Photographs tell the story of our families. The good ones, the bad ones, and the ones that take our breath away – they’re all part of our perfectly imperfect stories, and each one is beautiful in its own unique way. I have been telling stories of families just like yours in the central Illinois/Champaign-Urbana area since 2012. Building lifelong relationships with my clients as their families grow, and telling their ever-changing story, is what makes my heart go pitter-patter. I would be honored to tell your family’s story..  To schedule your next session, please contact kDarling Photography by email or at 217.778.1325

For information on wedding photography, please visit our wedding website at

April 7, 2020