a day in HER life - Kirsten Huculiak

Hi! I’m Kir, photographer and mama to one silly little 19-month-old named Casper. We live in the heart of Vancouver, Canada and are committed to staying in the city to raise our family for this season of life. Our 2-bedroom apartment is in Mount Pleasant, a great neighbourhood for families here and I honestly couldn’t imagine being a new mom anywhere but a city. Being able to walk everywhere and be around people any time you need it is such a lifesaver and builds a strong sense of community with other parents near you.

My husband Andy is a filmmaker and musician so his work life doesn’t follow a ‘normal’ schedule. He is often working from home on intense projects, or at the company studio for long hours, or away writing or touring with his band. It keeps things interesting and means we get quite a lot of time together as a family in between the work-from-home hours, which we both love!

For now I put most of my energy into staying at home with our son and taking care of the daily minutiae. I’m grateful that I’m able to be at home with him and take photography projects I’m passionate about as they come up. I’ve taken a very small number of clients since Casper was born and I’m slowly adding more, but with all our family 4 hours away and very expensive childcare in the city, it works best for me to be at home with him the majority of the time. I really love it and I’m grateful. I was a nanny for a loooong time before him so it’s a role I feel very comfortable in. These early years are so foundational and it was important to both of us that one of us is able to be home with him while he is still finding his way in the world. We have our share of trying times of course, as anyone with a toddler can understand, and living on one income in Vancouver is tough and means we live humbly, but the sacrifices are worth it and I really cherish the simple rhythm to our days.

We are a family that loves our sleep. Casper is overall a great, solid sleeper and wakes for the day around 8am. We like to bring him in to our bed where we try to cuddle with him, which he hates and has always hated since he was tiny. We keep trying though. We usually give up and let him watch Pingu on my phone so we can lay in bed longer. Soon after he heads into the living room to tinker with his favourite toy, a rescue garage with 3 garage doors, and I get up and figure out breakfast.

After breakfast Casper and I always go out. It’s easy to feel lonely around a toddler all the time, so to save my sanity I try to see friends and their kids as many times a week as possible. I kind of think that this is the secret to having fun days that fly by with toddlers! Getting two or more together and letting them entertain themselves is just the best. Plus it’s really good for their social skills. We often get together with our besties who live across the street and walk to the grocery store or to get coffee (hot chocolate for me), or to the library or the community centre for open play gym, or Science World with friends. In the summer this all gets replaced with hitting a million parks and splash pads. I love getting out with him in the mornings, taking buses and meeting up with different friends all the time. I always feel like this part is such a perk to staying home and I’m kind of cheating life in a way! Constant hangs with friends—what could be better? When he gave up his morning nap I was intimidated by all the time I suddenly had to fill but it’s truly so much better now.

We usually head home for lunch or occasionally grab it while we’re out and then make it home in time for nap around 1. Once he’s asleep, I get to work. If I have shoots to edit this is when I try to make a dent in that. I am not the best at the work/mom balance yet but I’m trying to figure it out. When Casper is awake I hate feeling like I have other things I need to be doing that are weighing on my mind and taking me away from being present with him. I hate the guilt both ways. I think that’s why for now I’m happy to put most of my energy into being at home, because just keeping everyone fed constantly feels like a full-time job enough as it is. Most of the time during naps I also prep dinner. Figuring out a meal plan and how to make a nourishing dinner every night while keeping a kid entertained has been one of the biggest learning curves of parenthood for me. Each month it gets easier but I still feel like it takes a lot of my mental energy. After I’m done dinner prep I usually still have a good chunk of time left before he wakes up to plop on the couch and watch a show or read a book. I think I'm pretty good at giving myself time to relax and recharge.

Once he’s up we snack and play. Sometimes we lay low and stay in playing; usually we head out again for another walk or to a friend’s house. Some of our best friends live across the street with their daughters, one who is a year older than Casper and they have developed such a hilarious and wonderful friendship. At 1.5 and 2.5 you’d think there’s not a lot of playing going on together but somehow they do play (and fight) and they really love each other. You should see their faces after a few days apart. I highly recommend finding parent friends on your street! It’s a game-changer especially in the winter when the hours from 3-6 are dark and feel so slow and heavy. The close proximity means last-minute plans happen way more than with friends who live further away, and popping by is easy.

If we go for a walk we inevitably end up on a hunt for all the garage doors we can possibly find. They are truly his favourite things in life.

We get home sometime before dinner and hopefully I’ve thrown something in the crockpot that’s ready for us; if not Casper plays at my feet  while I make our meal. If Andy is home they usually take this time to wrestle and be crazy boys. At 6ish we eat. Afterwards Casper is usually absorbed in his play for the rest of the night until it’s time for bath or books. He always drags the books out as long as he can but he’s a cinch to put to bed. He’s down by 8 and we love having our evenings to ourselves, working or watching movies or Seinfeld episodes. Every so often a friend will babysit and we’ll go out together, or Andy will stay home while I do something for myself. I feel like our days are full of simple pleasures, and while life at home may not be fulfilling for some, somehow it is for me. I know it won’t always be like this and I’m just grateful for this slow season at home with my boy. 

Thanks Kir! 
Instagram - @kirsive
Blog - Photos by Kir

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