Boston & New England Wedding Photographer Deborah Zoe

Boston & North Shore Wedding Photographer creating timeless imagery for classic New England weddings with a fine art approach.

The Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne of The Schultzes

07_CheyenneSchultz_0007.jpg

The Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne of The Schultzes

When I first started out as a wedding photographer I kept a little notebook filled with blank pages. I would cut out pictures from magazines or print images off the internet of poses and couples that I found inspirational. I had a fire to learn and everywhere I looked I saw photographers who were doing amazing things and creating beautiful work.

One of those photographers was Cheyenne of The Schultzes, a husband and wife photography team based in North Carolina. I would spend hours reading through their blog, continually inspired and encouraged by not just their beautiful work, but their hearts as well. Many images in that little notebook of mine are theirs and I’m so thankful for the creative push they inspired in me through their own work!                                                              (Image by Emily Chidester)

Years later Cheyenne continues to inspire. Not only is she an established photographer but she is also Mom to two of the most adorable kiddos. She shares openly on her blog and Instagram about the joys and challenges of balancing life as a Mom, Wife and Photographer. As a Mom myself I very much relate to her stage in life and love how she always strives to put her family at the forefront. Cheyenne and Geoff are an amazing example of what it looks like to love their family and serve their clients and business well. I am continually amazed at how they use their gifts not only as photographers but as parents to bless others!

Which is why I am over the moon excited to introduce you to Cheyenne today! She is such a source of encouragement to me as a Mom and business owner and I just knew she had to be a part of the Mommy Interviews! I hope that you are encouraged and empowered by the wisdom and insight she will be sharing. Let’s get to it!

Cheyenne, thank you so much for taking part in the Mommy Interviews, I cannot wait to dive right in! First would you mind sharing how long you’ve been in business and how long you have been a Mum?

Goodness gracious, thank you so much for that warm introduction and for allowing me to be a part of this fantastic series, Deb. Geoff and I started our photography business in spring of 2007 (take that statement with a grain of salt...when we started, Geoff was 2nd shooting for me with our point and shoot camera! :)) and then had our first baby in 2010.  It’s so crazy how fast 8 years can go by...having kids will do that, I suppose!  Our son, Boone, is currently four and a half and our daughter, Crew, is two.

  How has having children changed not only your business but your life?

A better question might be to ask how has having children NOT changed my business and my life.  :)  In no particular order...

+ Simple tasks now take triple the amount of time to complete when children are present.

+ Our once a month date night has become sacred....and expensive.  $10/hour just for childcare adds up really quick!

+ I get a lot less sleep.

+ We have to limit how often and how far we can travel for work...especially when both of us are shooting.

+ I became a hypochondriac and should buy stock in hand sanitizer. Having to leave a sick kid with a babysitter when we have a wedding to photograph is just about my least favorite thing.

+ At any given time I will have unanswered emails that have been at the bottom of my inbox for three months. And I give myself grace for those.

+ Using the restroom without a child busting in to ask me what I am doing is a distant memory.

+ My house is a lot more messy. Cheerio dust on the couch. Permanent grime from sticky, dirty, greasy little fingers going up the walls of my stairwell. Baby dolls with no clothes on, plastic binoculars, itty bitty dinosaurs and about a million stuffed animals regularly litter the floor of my home.

+ I have to be a lot more discreet when I eat my chocolate.  

+ It took me a couple of years to realize it, but I learned that if I was going to make my way to the surface...and stay there...I was going to need help.  Help with business and help with life.  Hiring a studio/personal assistant to help us 10 hours a week and a housekeeper every other week has been the best money I have ever spent.  

+ Getting "me time" feels like luxury. Truly, when I get to go to the grocery store by myself, I might as well be on a cruise.

+ I find enjoyment in really simple things (like watching inchworms crawl across the sidewalk) as I get to re-experience the wonder of the world through the eyes of my kids.

+ My heart grew about 10 sizes after I had Boone. And then it grew 5 more after I had Crew.  I love those kids so much that it hurts.

The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.
The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.

(Imageby Nancy Ray)

As business owners, there are many things competing for our attention all the time. Are there things that you and your husband Geoff do differently to ensure that your family is placed at the forefront?

We keep a pretty tight grip on when we do work and when we do family...keeping a schedule and establishing boundaries have been really important to prioritizing our family time. The kids go to their “school” Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, which are the days I am in the studio to get my work done. Wednesday is my “Mama Day”, which is the day I get the kids all to myself. I really try to be intentional and fun about what we do together on Mama Day by making a plan a couple days in advance. Until the kids are in regular school, Friday will always be our family day (with rare exception).  Besides that, I try to schedule portrait sessions on Monday or Tuesday evenings and will only take one per week.  

At the beginning of 2015 you shared about taking a few days away with your husband to plan and dream for the year ahead. Would you mind sharing with DZP readers why you felt you needed to do this and how it has helped your marriage, family and business?

I should start off by telling you that my husband and I are goal junkies.  Yes, it sounds super nerdy, but we love setting goals regularly for the year, month, week and weekends.  When we go on our monthly date together, we will most always bring along our little notebook of goals to review what we accomplished in the previous month and to make a plan for the month ahead.  Not only is it fun to dream about the future, but it allows us to take things a step further to make a plan for making those dreams come true.  

I think it was about four years ago that we started taking time at the beginning of the year to hire a babysitter (or recruit a set of grandparents) and get out of the house for a day to connect, seek God and make a plan for the year ahead.  We would set an agenda and go to various favorite coffee shops and restaurants.  This year, we decided to extend it by an extra day and get out of town together.  We drove to nearby Asheville, NC and took ourselves on a coffee crawl to various coffee shops around the city...Instagram hashtag and all.  :)  We dreamed about the things we wanted to do, the places we wanted to go, the people we wanted to love in 2015.  

Life and business are always very full and time goes by so darn fast. Taking the time at the beginning of the year to set goals, and then again each month, helps us to live intentionally to do the things that we want to do or feel that we are being called to do.

Now that your kids are toddlers, what are some of the unique challenges you have experienced as a Mom, balancing parenthood and business with kids in this stage? Do you envision a shift in how you balance these things as your kids continue to grow?

When I first became a mom, I was trying to do everything and thus, found myself failing at everything.  I felt like I was only able to give about 30% of myself to any given area, which left me feeling like the worst wife, mother, friend, business woman, etc. that there ever was.  Over-dramatic, perhaps, but out of whack hormones, lack of sleep and too much on your to-do list will make you believe crazy things.  I have learned that for me to be a great in the roles I have in my life, I need to compartmentalize them.  I no longer try to overlap my roles between motherhood and business.  I do best when I have focused business time and I have focused family time.  Now, when I'm with my kids, I can be fully present with them.  I know they are being served better when I can sit down on the ground to play Candyland with them and not be distracted with the mountain of emails I have in my inbox or packaging up that client order.

The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.
The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.

 Would you mind sharing more about your heart behind your business and how having a purpose in business has given you an opportunity to serve your family?

I would love to.  :)  Two years ago, Geoff and I had some big conversations about the foundation of our business. Showing up just to take pretty pictures wasn't enough anymore.  If we were going to continue to devote a good chunk of our life to this work, we were going to need some real meaning and real purpose. From those conversations, our core purpose was born: "to create art that matters and to genuinely care for others."

Our hope is that for those we photograph, through the years of the good and the bad, they can look back on their wedding images and remember the love and the joy that was there that day.  That they can have hope that they can make it out of the hard times of marriage and that it is worth fighting for.  Knowing that we are doing work that really matters is incredibly fulfilling.

With so many things that can negatively influence our outlook (like social media) how do you maintain a positive perspective, especially when it comes to being a Mom?

I will often "rewrite my feelings", which is an exercise that I learned at the Making Things Happen Conference.  Whatever negative thought I have about myself or my situation {I am the worst mother ever}, I rewrite it on my heart as a positive {I am a GREAT mother}.  And then I force myself to say it out loud until I believe it.  Truly, it works.

I also try to regularly spend time reading the Bible to receive instruction from God for my life and business.  Below is a common verse that helps me stay grounded and positive:

"Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." - Philippians 4:8

The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.
The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.

 What would be the best piece of advice you could give to someone who is a first time Mom and entrepreneur?

How about my top three pieces of advice?  :)  

1. Community is everything.  Having other moms in similar seasons to do life has been absolutely invaluable to me.

2. Care for yourself.  Eat good food, move your body, get fresh air, sleep when you can, take regular showers.  And do things that bring you joy.  Seriously, make yourself a list right now of things that bring you joy and happiness. And then go do them!

3. Give yourself grace when you drop a ball. You aren't perfect...it's going to happen. Balls will be dropped, and yet, it won't be the end of the world.  Do the best that you can and then rest knowing that that is good enough. And know that the really hard times won't last forever.  I promise, they won't.

The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.
The Art of Balance Mommy Interviews with Cheyenne Schultz by Deborah Zoe Photography.

What has been your greatest joy being a Mum?

I don't think I could possibly narrow this down to one great joy.  

Having her rest her head on my shoulder when she's sleepy. Making applesauce muffins with him in the morning. Having a "turn down for what" dance party in the kitchen with both of them while cooking dinner. The hugs, the kisses, the belly laughs that come from the tickle fights. Witnessing the utter excitement over her new gold shoes or him seeing him freak out over Thomas the Train at the theme park.  Watching her rub his back when he is hurt and tell him in her sweet voice, "it's okay, Boone". Both of them plowing down the door to get to me, shrieking "mama!!!!" when they get home from school. Watching her belt out the lyrics to "Let it Go" with such commitment and hilarity.....I could literally go on and on and on.  Now that I'm literally in tears, I think it's time to sign off.  :)

09_CheyenneSchultz_00091.jpg
09_CheyenneSchultz_00091.jpg

Cheyenne, thank you SO much for sharing your heart here today. I am overwhelmed with your honesty, tenacity and your fire to love and serve your family all while running a purposeful business. I hope you know just what an inspiration you are and how your words will touch those reading here today! If you'd like to follow along with Cheyenne's adventures with her kids, business and marriage be sure to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter. You can also email her at us@lovetheschultzes.com and can visit their website here. If this post has touched your heart or inspired you in any way, be sure to leave Cheyenne some love in the form of a comment below!!

Categories:
by Deborah Parker