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Categorized | Articles, Ethan Meleg

Out of Focus – And Now There Are Kids… (full story)

Story and Photography by Ethan Meleg

©Ethan Meleg — Living with kids — I must be crazy!

 

For the past 43 years, I’ve enjoyed a freewheeling, staunch bachelor lifestyle where I’ve basically done just about whatever I wanted. My house was clean, tidy and quiet. I slept all night, making it easy to wake up early each morning and seek out the tranquility and beauty of the predawn sky. I had all the time I wanted to travel and shoot photos. It was an idyllic lifestyle for an outdoor photographer.

This came to an abrupt change recently when my girlfriend and I took a bold (crazy?) leap and moved in together, along with her two kids, aged five and seven. In less than a week, my world turned upside down as I was put on a crash course about the ins-and-outs of living with kids, and the subsequent impacts on my photography lifestyle!

In only five days, I learned the following things through firsthand experience:

Kids occasionally poop their pants and do not clean it up themselves.

Kids are always hungry, but miraculously will refuse to eat the exact thing they asked you to make for them only moments before.

Kids do not like to go to bed on time, are virtually impossible to wake up on school days, yet get up astonishingly early on weekends.

Kids think your photo editing supercomputer is better suited to playing Minecraft.

Kids consider your $20,000 camera rig to be a cool toy and find it perfectly acceptable to lick the front element of a 500mm super-telephoto lens.

It’s only been five days and I’m already exhausted. I haven’t had a chance to shoot my camera once because I’ve been too busy working as a short order cook (chicken fingers be damned!), folding laundry, picking Nerf bullets out of house plants, cleaning pee off the bathroom wall and stepping on tiny pieces of Lego strewn everywhere in the house. OMG, what have I got myself into?!?!?!

Anyone reading this who has kids is laughing at me right now, because you’ve gone through it all and know it will get better. You bear with the chaos for those rewarding moments when you connect with the kids, witness their development and feel their love. Those are truly awesome rewards.

For those of you reading this who do not have kids, let me offer some sage advice. FOR GOODNESS SAKE, DON’T DO IT! You’ll spend the next decade wiping chocolate fingerprints off your lenses and will never get a full night’s sleep again. Good luck with that epic safari you were planning — you’re going to Wally World instead.

But then again, what if my parents had opted not to have kids? I guess you can forget about everything I just said!

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