Hannah Joy Photography

1. Why did you become a stay-at-home dad? Is it something you have always wanted, or did it come about after having children?

It was the path of least resistance; never thought about staying home and taking care of children. I assume, like us, most parents make it up as they go along. I viewed it as a temporary part-time job; in the beginning, I still worked part-time early mornings and weekends.  As you get more involved with childcare you realize the job/challenges don’t get easier or fewer, just different. To this day I don’t see how two working parents manage it all and still have time to enjoy life.  My wife also travels a lot for her job so it was extremely difficult to manage an inflexible job and unpredictable childcare.  It was just the best solution to our problem.

 
2. What was your job/career before becoming a stay-at-home dad?
I have a BS in biomedical engineering but in my mid-twenties I switched gears and went into cooking.  I wanted to be a good cook, maybe own a restaurant with my wife (this was before kids).  It was hard and stressful work but creative, satisfying and social.  You meet a lot of fun characters in the food business.
 
 
3. What qualities and skills do you think are helpful for stay-at-home dads?
You need to know how to cook! In my mind, if you’re an at-home-parent, male or female, and don’t cook, you are slacking on 50% of your responsibility.  It’s really unfair to expect the working spouse to come home from work and cook. That being said, it is a daily grind. It’s a never-ending chore, seven days a week, three times a day.  And unlike adults, kids have trouble skipping meals.  Other than that you are a housekeeper, yard boy, chauffeur, mentor, tutor, therapist, events manager, handyman, financial adviser, bookkeeper, house project manager, nurse… You get the idea.  Learn to be good at playing defense.  Your wife is on offense making money, learn how to defend, save and grow that money.  People don’t realize how much money you can save by staying at home and keeping on top of things.
 
 
4. What does a day in the life of a SAHD look like? What kind of routines do you have?
Routines are a fleeting luxury for at-home-parents. Don’t get too attached to them, you’re expected to flex and bend to the ever-changing situation on the ground.  Keeping that in mind, on a typical Monday school day, for example, I get up a couple hours before my daughters to exercise and have my first peaceful cup of coffee.  I catch up on the news and check the family calendar to know who needs what, who’s going where for the day and week. Once they get up I make them breakfast, although lately, I’ve been shifting that responsibility to them. I proceed to make them lunch, make sure they have everything for school (so I don’t have to bring it to them later), go over their schedules, then drop them off at school. My wife has left the house many hours prior, she leaves at 5:30 am to beat traffic and take an early morning yoga class.  We won’t see her again until 6:30/7:00 pm. 
 
After drop off, I come home and have a peaceful breakfast, write down all the chores I hope to accomplish for the day and week. Next, I set a menu for the week, plotting out every dinner while taking into consideration who has sports, music lessons, after work meeting, travel, etc.  I make a grocery list to restock the house but go shopping on Tuesday. Stores are notoriously bare on Mondays due to the weekend rush (which, thankfully, you get to avoid. A bonus, no doubt). Then I go into chore mode, clean all the morning dishes, make phone calls, schedule appointments, reply to emails, pay bills, yard work, housework, make and eat lunch (almost always alone). Around 3:00 pm I go pick up the girls, make sure they are doing their homework, clean all the dishes from my and their lunch, help with homework, get dinner going.  Usually on nights when they have after school activities I make something that can easily be reheated.  As I’m sure with most families, children seem to have nearly simultaneous activities at opposite ends of town.  So I drop my eldest off at exercise class, 5:45 pm, drive directly to the soccer fields on the opposite side of town, 6:15 pm, turn around and go directly back to get my eldest, 7:00 pm. If I’m lucky and get there early I take a ten-minute nap in the car.  We come home, by then my wife has arrived, 7:10 pm, sit down with the two of them and eat dinner or cook it in a rush (my youngest I try to feed before practice).  Then it’s back in the car to get my youngest, 7:45 pm, socialize for ten minutes with other soccer moms and dads, come home, 8:45/9:00 pm. I catch up with my wife before she falls asleep from her hectic and stressful day at work, go to bed around ten, waste an hour on social media, email, etc., lights out by 11:00 pm. Start over on Tuesday.
 
 
5. How do other people react when you tell them that you're a SAHD? Have you had negative reactions from other parents?
With women, it’s usually “Good for you”. With men it’s either “Oh man, I wish I could do that, you’re so lucky” or, mostly in meet and greets, “What do you do for a living”. When I tell them I’m a SAHD the conversation usually stops.  In their defense, I think they are looking for some common ground to start a conversation and they just closed the door on themselves.  If you are in the upper middle class or higher, most of the dads are power players in the working world, be prepared for that.  I’ve only had one negative reaction, oddly from a male pediatrician, who stated that “a man should be working”.  Odd that he couldn’t see the health benefits of a strong family structure.  Other than that I’ve experienced some laughing and disbelief from predominantly Latino men that I worked with in the food world.  It’s so foreign to them. 

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a stay-at-home dad?
That it’s a vacation, not a job.  Remember, we all think the grass is greener.  The biggest misconception I’ve had is that gender role reversal doesn’t change the traditional power dynamics and pitfalls between the breadwinner and the stay-at-home-parent.  All the things that mothers have complained about regarding their working husbands show up with working wives.  Also, you are now low man on the totem pole. Money and a paying job, not gender, are king.  Understand and accept that and you’ll be good.  If you can’t, then you better go back to work. 
 
7. Lastly, can you share a favorite easy, quick weeknight dinner that you make often? 
Even though I was a cook, I still use a lot of other's recipes.  I just know how to pick ones that are easy, use available ingredients and are quick.  My current family cooking friend is the InstantPot. I like it because it cooks fast, with no real loss of flavor, unlike a slow cooker. NomNom Paleo is a favorite "go to" site and the Summer Italian Chicken recipe is something I cook often.  Often I replace the fresh cremini mushrooms with a bag of frozen porcini mushrooms from Trader Joe's.  I also will substitute canned chopped tomato for fresh, always on hand. It just makes everything faster, and I feel the porcini increase the flavor (and can be kept in the freezer until needed).
 
https://nomnompaleo.com/post/148597361748/pressure-cooker-summer-italian-chicken
Sunday, July 01, 2018
By Hannah Joy Photography
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This picture was taken by my dear friend Wendy Updegraff of my daughter and me 3 years ago during her Senior session.  We had so much fun that day from hair and makeup with my makeup artist Mandy, to quick changes in the car as we arrived at our next location, it was a great experience for both of us. Senior pictures can be a fun, exciting event! But as a mom of two high schoolers and a college Junior (eeek!), I know there are so many questions swirling in your head. When? Where? How? Maybe even WHY?!

I hope this list answers all your question, but if I forgot something, PLEASE ask. I guarantee you’re not the only one wondering ;)

1. In Duval and St Johns counties, all public schools are contracted with a large, corporate studio for yearbook cap and gown photos. These are about $25 and that is for the session only- no images or prints are included. If you haven’t received a postcard or call from a studio yet, give your school a call and they’ll direct you to the right place.

 

2. It’s not unusual to take cap and gown photos at these studios then go to the local professional photographer for the personalized, on-location photos. Surprisingly, that is often less expensive than having everything done at the larger studios.

3. I know it’s still summer and it probably seems too early to even be discussing this, but I promise, this year will only get busier! The summer before senior year is the perfect time to start planning for a senior portrait session.

4. Pinterest is a great way to start that planning! This will give you a visual idea of the different styles, location types, and wardrobe options. You can create a board by pinning your favorites and then share that with your photographer to give them an idea of what you and your Senior are looking for.

5. The summer before senior year is also when you’ll want to choose a photographer and schedule your session. This is true even if you’re not planning to do it during the summer and especially if you prefer a Saturday. Because it’s not uncommon for a senior portrait photographer to also shoot weddings or family portraits, Saturday’s fill up quickly.

6. Location options will depend on the photographer you choose and how long your session is. My senior sessions are typically 2-3 hours, so we have plenty of time to go from one side of Jacksonville to the other. It’s not unusual to start a session in an urban area like downtown or San Marco, move to a park, then end our time together at the beach or river at sunset. The pictures below are a great example of what a session like that looks like. I have LOTS of great suggestions for fun, different locations but if you’ve got something in mind I’m also always excited to try something new.

7. Wardrobe changes will also be dependent on your photographer and how many they allow. I don't put a limit on the number of changes- if you’re quick, you can change 10 times if you want! Outfits will also be somewhat dependent on the locations you choose. I can help with specific suggestions once you choose locations, but I do always suggest a casual, “First Day of School” type outfit, a “church/job interview” outfit and then either a more casual “day at the beach” outfit or, my personal favorite, something formal. I LOVE when my Senior girls wear their prom dresses or my guys wear a suit and tie! Those end up being favorites every time. The pictures below are a great example of well-chosen outfits and how they work with different locations. 

8. I HIGHLY suggest professional make-up for all of my Senior girls, even if you’re not the “make-up” type. I use an amazing professional make-up artist and that’s included in the price of my session. I have chosen her because she specializes in natural looking makeup and I think that’s really important for Senior portraits. This is NOT prom makeup! Your daughter will absolutely still look like herself! The Senior in the pictures below used Mandy, my make-up artist. See how gorgeous and natural she looks?! 

9. It’s nice to include personal “props” in these portraits. If your Senior plays an instrument, please bring it! My daughter plays the viola and her Senior pics with it are the ones I framed immediately. If she plays a sport, bring part of the gear and wear a t-shirt from your team. Maybe he loves to read- bring a few of his favorite books.

10. And lastly, the “why?”- The reason these are so important is that it’s likely the last time you will have professional pictures done until there’s a wedding. With this in mind, I am happy to include your whole family in a few pictures! This is a precious, fleeting moment and certainly a family celebration. I also love it when my Seniors bring their BFF with them. Friends made in school are quite often life-long friends, so I love to capture that special bond. 

 

If you have any other questions please send me an email (hannah@hannahjoyphoto.com) or a message on Facebook if you prefer.

If you would like info on how to book a Senior session, please click the link at the top of this post that says "Website". This will take you to my website where you'll find a button that says "Book Now".  

Happy Senior year!!! Enjoy every minute- graduation will be here faster than you can imagine.

 
Monday, May 21, 2018
By Hannah Joy Photography
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1. Why did you become a stay-at-home dad? Is it something you have always wanted, or did it come about after having children?

It was the path of least resistance; never thought about staying home and taking care of children. I assume, like us, most parents make it up as they go along. I viewed it as a temporary part-time job; in the beginning, I still worked part-time early mornings and weekends. As you get more involved with childcare you realize the job/challenges don’t get easier or fewer, just different. To this day I don’t see how two working parents manage it all and still have time to enjoy life. My wife also travels a lot for her job so it was extremely difficult to manage an inflexible job and unpredictable childcare. It was just the best solution to our problem.

2. What was your job/career before becoming a stay-at-home dad?

I have a BS in biomedical engineering but in my mid-twenties I switched gears and went into cooking. I wanted to be a good cook, maybe own a restaurant with my wife (this was before kids). It was hard and stressful work but creative, satisfying and social. You meet a lot of fun characters in the food business.

3. What qualities and skills do you think are helpful for stay-at-home dads?

You need to know how to cook! In my mind, if you’re an at-home-parent, male or female, and don’t cook, you are slacking on 50% of your responsibility. It’s really unfair to expect the working spouse to come home from work and cook. That being said, it is a daily grind. It’s a never-ending chore, seven days a week, three times a day. And unlike adults, kids have trouble skipping meals. Other than that you are a housekeeper, yard boy, chauffeur, mentor, tutor, therapist, events manager, handyman, financial adviser, bookkeeper, house project manager, nurse… You get the idea. Learn to be good at playing defense. Your wife is on offense making money, learn how to defend, save and grow that money. People don’t realize how much money you can save by staying at home and keeping on top of things.

4. What does a day in the life of a SAHD look like? What kind of routines do you have?

Routines are a fleeting luxury for at-home-parents. Don’t get too attached to them, you’re expected to flex and bend to the ever-changing situation on the ground. Keeping that in mind, on a typical Monday school day, for example, I get up a couple hours before my daughters to exercise and have my first peaceful cup of coffee. I catch up on the news and check the family calendar to know who needs what, who’s going where for the day and week. Once they get up I make them breakfast, although lately, I’ve been shifting that responsibility to them. I proceed to make them lunch, make sure they have everything for school (so I don’t have to bring it to them later), go over their schedules, then drop them off at school. My wife has left the house many hours prior, she leaves at 5:30am to beat traffic and take an early morning yoga class. We won’t see her again until 6:30/7:00pm. After drop off, I come home and have a peaceful breakfast, write down all the chores I hope to accomplish for the day and week. Next, I set a menu for the week, plotting out every dinner while taking into consideration who has sports, music lessons, after work meeting, travel, etc. I make a grocery list to restock the house but go shopping on Tuesday. Stores are notoriously bare on Mondays due to the weekend rush (which, thankfully, you get to avoid. A bonus, no doubt). Then I go into chore mode, clean all the morning dishes, make phone calls, schedule appointments, reply to emails, pay bills, yard work, housework, make and eat lunch (almost always alone). Around 3:00pm I go pick up the girls, make sure they are doing their homework, clean all the dishes from my and their lunch, help with homework, get dinner going. Usually on nights when they have after school activities I make something that can easily be reheated. As, I’m sure with most families, children seem to have nearly simultaneous activities at opposite ends of town. So I drop my eldest off at exercise class, 5:45pm, drive directly to the soccer fields on the opposite side of town, 6:15pm, turn around and go directly back to get my eldest, 7:00pm. If I’m lucky and get there early I take a ten-minute nap in the car. We come home, by then my wife has arrived, 7:10pm, sit down with the two of them and eat dinner or cook it in a rush (my youngest I try to feed before practice). Then it’s back in the car to get my youngest, 7:45pm, socialize for ten minutes with other soccer moms and dads, come home, 8:45/9:00pm. I catch up with my wife before she falls asleep from her hectic and stressful day at work, go to bed around ten, waste an hour on social media, email, etc., lights out by 11:00pm. Start over on Tuesday.

5. How do other people react when you tell them that you're a SAHD?

Have you had negative reactions from other parents? With women, it’s usually “Good for you”. With men it’s either “Oh man, I wish I could do that, you’re so lucky” or, mostly in meet and greets, “What do you do for a living”. When I tell them I’m a SAHD the conversation usually stops. In their defense, I think they are looking for some common ground to start a conversation and they just closed the door on themselves. If you are in the upper middle class or higher, most of the dads are power players in the working world, be prepared for that. I’ve only had one negative reaction, oddly from a male pediatrician, who stated that “a man should be working”. Odd that he couldn’t see the health benefits of a strong family structure. Other than that I’ve experienced some laughing and disbelief from predominantly Latino men that I worked with in the food world. It’s so foreign to them.

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a stay-at-home dad?

That it’s a vacation, not a job. Remember, we all think the grass is greener. The biggest misconception I’ve had is that gender role reversal doesn’t change the traditional power dynamics and pitfalls between the breadwinner and the stay-at-home-parent. All the things that mothers have complained about regarding their working husbands show up with working wives. Also, you are now low man on the totem pole. Money and a paying job, not gender, are king. Understand and accept that and you’ll be good. If you can’t, then you better go back to work.

7. Lastly, can you share a favorite family-friendly recipe that is good for a busy weeknight?

Even though I was a cook, I still use a lot of other's recipes. I just know how to pick ones that are easy, use available ingredients and are quick. My current family cooking friend is the InstantPot. I like it because it cooks fast, with no real loss of flavor, unlike a slow cooker. NomNom Paleo is a favorite "go to" site and this chicken recipe Nom Nom Paleo Pressure Cooker Summer Italian Chicken is something I cook often. Sometimes I replace the fresh cremini mushrooms with a bag of frozen porcini mushrooms from Trader Joe's. I also will substitute canned chopped tomato for fresh, which I always keep on hand.

Thank you to this sweet family for letting me document a few hours of "real life". Every family has a story of their own and I loved learning about theirs.

I'm looking forward to my next Real Families shoot- a large, homeschooling family- and will share that with you soon. Have a unique family and want to share it with the world? (well, the world that reads my blog ;) ) Comment below and we'll talk!

 

Blessings!

Hannah 

 
Sunday, April 16, 2017
By Hannah Joy Photography
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Tonight was my alma mater's prom. It's rather shocking to think that I attended Fletcher's Senior prom TWENTY SIX years ago (which doesn't make sense at all because I'm like 30). Such great memories photographing this adorable couple brought back. I've known Season since before she was born (which also made me feel old). It's hard to imagine this gorgeous young lady is already fifteen. I'm hoping she ditched the shoes early and had a blast dancing ;) 

 
Monday, April 03, 2017
By Hannah Joy Photography
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I met Tanner and his family a couple of years ago at a mini-session event. Since then I have had the honor of photographing him and his sweet mom and dad several times, and I just LOVE this boy. I'm pretty sure I've never seen him without an Elmo of some kind, so I love that we got pictures that show his adoration of his buddy. 

As you can see, he has a smile that will melt your heart. I'm so grateful that I have the privilege of capturing this special guy as he grows up. 

 
Thursday, March 30, 2017
By Hannah Joy Photography
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There's nothing in the world like welcoming a new baby into a family. The first days with that tiny new family member are both exhilarating and exhausting, especially when there's a toddler older sibling! It's not exactly the quiet, peaceful time the first child likely enjoyed. I think most parents agree that those precious first days, and even weeks!, are a blur. These will be cherished images, and memory joggers, that mama and daddy will enjoy sharing with their girls when they talk about this special time. You can see the love that big sister has for her- honestly something I've never seen in a child so young. She's a little mama and she's IN LOVE with baby sister. AND, we got to have mama's grandma their too! Three generations in one photo. Thank you Jess and Devyn for letting me capture you sweet family welcoming baby Azalea!     

 
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