A Photographer and Mom-of-Three Reveals How Her Design Style Changed After Divorce

All new moms are guilty of taking one too many pictures of their babies. We don’t blame you. Everything they do is so adorable, how can you resist?! For Jodi Anne Hendricks, taking cute pictures of her son eventually led to her now career as a self-employed wedding photographer. Her love for photography and clean lines naturally became the inspiration style for her neutral palette Nevada home.

Raising three boys all under the age of 12 is no easy task but is one that Jodi conquers every day. She shares how she manages to create a space for each boy in her new home even while downsizing after her divorce. Read on to learn how this mom found healing in her design process and her favorite parts of raising these three wild boys she calls her best friends.

 

Name: Jodi Anne Hendricks, Owner of J. Anne Photography
Age: 37
Location: Henderson, NV
Sq. Ft: 1,612
Rent/Own?: Own
Children (names, ages): Hudson (11), Griffin (8), and Brodrick (6)

 

What was your first job and how did you land it?

 

My very first job was at Domino’s Pizza as a delivery person.  My parents forced me to get a job to pay for a speeding ticket!!  I kept the job long enough to pay the ticket, but then I really enjoyed having money of my own… so I kept the job for a few more months after that.  I quickly realized that it really hindered my ‘social life’ that I thought I had when I was 17 years old… please insert the biggest eye roll you can imagine right here.  Ha ha ha!!

 

You’re a wedding photographer based in Nevada – and a damn good one, at that. What drew you to photography? What are some of your favorite parts about shooting a wedding?

 

Well first of all, thank you, babe!!!  I wasn’t always a good one. Ha ha ha!!  I started taking photos when my first son was born.  It is the quintessential ‘mom with a camera’ story that turned from a hobby into a side hustle into career… and then back to a side hustle… and then back to a career. 

Long story in Cliff Note style, I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology.  I was a School Psychologist for several years before I started pumping out little boys as though I was a professional boy making factory.  Ha ha ha!!

No, but for real, I was a School Psych, mom of three boys, and trying to build a photography business all at once.  This obviously became too much, and I stopped being a School Psychologist because photography allowed me to stay at home with my boys.  Also, I wasn’t making enough money as a School Psych to justify sending three kids to preschool.

Then, my husband-at-the-time and I separated for the first time, and I freaked out about my finances, so I went back to doing both gigs and a mom on top of everything.  That only lasted for about six months until my then-husband and I decided that I would move back home and try to make things work. I finished out the school year and then returned to photography and being a mom of three full-time.

I am a wedding photographer now, and I love everything that I get to do inside of that business.  Weddings are just down-right fun. I feel like I live the real-life version of Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers. Well, maybe I’m Owen Wilson because my second shooter (and best friend) is definitely more of a Vince Vaughn than I am.  We are professional and do a really great job photographing weddings, but we also have amazingly fun clients who let us mess around and have fun with them while we do it!! We also get to travel to some really cool places too. 🙂

 

 

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You’ve had a whirlwind last year or so – you got divorced and moved from your home. Did all of the change affect your design style at all?

 

Yes, a whirlwind is definitely an understatement.  My ex-husband and I divorced after being married for about 14 years.  Everything that I knew had to change. I started dating him when I was 19.  My entire adult life had been spent with him by my side. So, yeah, it was a huge adjustment and insanely painful at the same time.

I sold the house that we had just recently purchased, gutted, and remodeled, which was a shame because it was absolutely beautiful and bought this new house for a fresh start for the boys and me.

I think that the biggest change in my style during this process was that I got the chance to start over completely.  I was able to design the house with only the boys and me in mind. I could do whatever I wanted without having to bounce design ideas off of someone else who needed to live in the space.  This especially came into play when choosing wallpapers and colors. I didn’t have to shy away from anything too feminine… which is weird because I think that this house is a bit more modern and less feminine than the last house. The other house was pretty big, so it always felt like I was designing a show-house, while this one felt like I was designing a home. This house already feels warmer than the last house and we haven’t even lived here a year yet.  I feel like I design smaller spaces really well.

 

How would you describe your design style?

 

I think that I blur the lines between contemporary farmhouse and traditional design… with an obvious love of photography, clean lines, and all things white.  I have an intense love affair with wallpaper, and by the time I’m done with this house, it will have a lot more covered walls in it, I hope! I love to mix a few patterns here and there but ALWAYS in a neutral palette.  I joke on my Instagram often about my hatred of the color orange and red (well, I guess I’m not really joking because I do hate those colors), so maybe it’s probably fair to say that I poke fun at my color-snobbiness a lot. 

 

 

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We LOVE this kitchen remodel you’ve been doing! Can you walk us through that process?

 

The funniest part about the kitchen is that I tried SOOOO hard to convince myself that I could live in this house for a while without gutting the kitchen.  I thought that I’d just paint the cabinets white, add some new hardware, and then spruce it up in other ways. Who was I kidding? I am a visual person obviously.  My environment has such a huge effect on my mood and my level of inspiration… so much so that the kitchen was gutted about 10 days after I had the keys to this house.

Plus, kitchens are my favorite to design.  I have no idea why. Maybe because I despise trying to find the right couch for living rooms?  Ha ha ha! When I first gutted the kitchen, I didn’t have a plan for it yet. I laid in my hotel room bed that night and designed it in less than an hour.  I found the wallpaper first, and then everything else just fell into place. I usually just pull images off of my phone and then create a small mood/inspiration collage.  I’ll grab images from design blogs, Instagram, Pinterest, photos of magazines, photos of nature, etc. I consume design and photography faster than I consume Chick Fil A nuggets. So, here is the collage that I made that night while I laid in bed:

Once I had the inspiration pulled, it was 100mph from there.  I think that the kitchen was completed in about a month. I had a great team of contractors.  The kitchen island was easily the biggest project. I wrote an entire blog about that process here.

 

How do you find inspiration for your interior designs? How does your work in photography overlap there?

 

I think that there is a huge overlap in my photography and my love of interior design.  The work that I create for clients or on my own could easily hang as art in my home and the spaces that I design can easily be used as backdrops or lifestyle studios for photo shoots.  I have done so many photoshoots in my own home over the years, and the natural light in a home is the very first thing that I look at when I’m buying a house.

I think that I find inspiration for both photography and interior design in the same way: nature, people watching, coffee table books about art, fashion and architecture magazines, and of course, being able to follow insanely talented artists on the Internet allows me to be inspired daily.

 

 

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When you were designing the boys’ rooms, how did you incorporate their personalities or interests? Are they sharing rooms right now?

 

The boys each got their own room in this new house.  There were only two bedrooms upstairs and a loft, but I had the loft closed in so that the two youngest boys didn’t feel like they were getting the short end of the stick by having to share.  Mom-guilt probably also played a huge part in this. They all shared one huge mini-master suite in the old house with built-in bunk beds, so when we moved so much of their world was changing that offering them their own rooms gave them something to be excited about.  I gave into this idea easily because everything was so broken from the divorce that I couldn’t handle telling them no. It was not my finest mom-moment, but I am completely okay with it. Designing this new house was really therapeutic for me, so I couldn’t justify not allowing them that same kind of therapy.

Hudson’s room has some baseball elements incorporated, and he requested a loft bed with a desk underneath.  Luckily, Ikea had a great option for this!

Griffin and Brody both have the same Ikea bed in their rooms.  I loved finding a daybed that provided a trundle for sleepovers AND under bed storage too!  So many daybeds offer one or the other. These were the only ones that I found with both options.  Their rooms are small, so there isn’t really much space for a dresser and the trundles to be able to pull all the way out.  The under bed storage really helped the space issue. Griffin chose to have a wallpaper mural of the world in his room, and I love how it turned out.  It fits him as he’s more artistic and musical than his brothers. I don’t know why those things make him feel more worldly to me, but they do. Ha ha ha!

Brody still argues with me to this day that he never liked sharks and that he didn’t want his wallpaper to look like the ocean, but then I pull up photos from his entirely shark-themed fifth birthday party, and he doesn’t have much of an argument.  None of the boys’ rooms are completely done yet, but we’re getting there. I think that the next addition will be built in desks for the two little boys (something narrow, but still efficient, like a long bar-like desk with a barstool as a chair maybe).

 

Do you have a favorite room or nook in your home? Tell us why!

 

This is a hard question!!!  The kitchen and living room area are my favorites.  Those two rooms flow into one another, and it is where we spend 90% of our time.  It is so cozy and feels so welcoming and warm. My bedroom is also one of my favorites though too.  It is a small master bedroom space, so my bed takes up so much of it, but again, it’s soft and cozy. The light in that room is magnificent almost any time of the day, and it lifts my mood every time I walk in there. (Well, as long as my bed is made and it’s not messy!) Oh… but no… hold on… I think that I have to say my shower!!! I loooooooove my shower.

 

 

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Is everywhere a place for the kids to play? Or do you have designated areas for them?

 

My kids are getting a bit older, so there isn’t as much “play” happening.  There aren’t legos strewn about, blocks or train sets anymore, which is a little bit sad but also exciting at the same time.  The boys are much more into chilling out in their rooms. Hudson (the oldest) and Brody (the youngest) play outside constantly.  They are baseball obsessed, so when they come inside, they’re just ready to veg out a bit. Griffin (the middle) is a bit more into playing guitar, writing/drawing, and he’s the one I struggle the most with wanting to play on his iPad incessantly.  So, the fact that the boys all have their own rooms is really great for this house because they’re enjoying having more independent time now.

I did use the front room of the house to do something really cool for the boys and their friends to have an area to hang out.  Our street has a lot of kids from their school on it, so in the summer, kids are running in and out all of the time. So, I had a set of bleachers built into the front room where the boys have their TV and Playstation.  The bleachers have only been in place for a couple of months and they have already had so much use! Since I closed in the loft upstairs to have another bedroom, this space works really great for the boys to have their space to play video games, read, and relax.

 

Every home has its own quirks and challenges – what were yours? How did you overcome them?

 

SPACE!!  This house is way smaller than any house we have ever lived in.  When we downsized after the divorce, I basically had to sell almost every piece of furniture we had because nothing fit!  I think that the only piece of furniture I was able to keep was my bed.

When I set about designing this space, I kept in mind the idea of maximizing every square foot of space I had.  This is the exact reason why my kitchen cabinets utilize the vertical space and go all the way to the ceiling. I store holiday items that I don’t need access to all year round in the cupboards that are so high.

Each one of the boys’ beds can convert into a bigger bed for sleepovers.  The couch downstairs has a pull out bed, and the chaise end of the couch lifts up for more storage under the couch.  Plus, there are several projects that haven’t happened yet, like a built-in dog-kennel and some mudroom style cabinets being installed under the stairs. That will maximize the space to add even more storage and to make sure that every nook and cranny is being used to its highest potential.

 

 

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Where are your go-to places for big-ticket furniture and decor?

 

Anything big.  I’m a firm believer in spending the money on quality products for the bigger items that fill space in a home and then create texture/warmth/contrast, etc. with lower prices items that you can switch out for holidays or change with seasons.

My kitchen island is probably the biggest ticket item in my home, and I don’t regret spending the money because it is a huge statement piece and the place where we spend most of our time as a family.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

 

My typical day probably seems more like a circus to most.  Being a single mom and business owner is hard. It’s a constant juggle of schedules, sick kids staying home, field trips, calling the A/C guy, paying bills, communication with their dad for sports and vacation schedules, etc.

Working from home as a mom feels like you never get to stop.  Your workplace is your home, and your home is your workplace. My phone is my constant office and messages to teachers and clients can easily go out at 1am on any given day.

My typical day looks a bit like this:

6am – Hit snooze… hit snooze again… act like I’m awake and “reading” in my bed… hit snooze again…

7am – Actually get up, make lunches, get three boys ready for school, hairspray the mops on their heads, do the ‘thumb lick and clean their face’ thing, ask them 8,000 times if they’ve brushed their teeth, feed them, make sure all homework is signed and packed.

8am – Hop on our bikes, put Cooper on his leash and ride bikes to school.  I love that their school is connected to our house by cute trail through our neighborhood!  This SAVES me as a single mom because if I really needed to send them off to school on their own, I could. I really love our time riding bikes in the mornings though.

8:30am – 3:00pm — The boys are in school, so this is my work time. Basically, I cram as much as I can into these hours.  I’d love to say I’m more organized than I am, but alas, that is not my forte. Usually I spend an hour putting the house back together, cleaning up breakfast, showering and getting myself dressed, and then I work.

3:30pm — Boys are home, and the circus begins.  Depending on the day, we’ll have baseball practice or games, guitar lessons, haircuts, errands to run, homework to do, etc.

6:30pm (ish) — I’ll manage something for dinner.  This is where I fail miserably. Two nights ago was salmon, gogurts and string cheese, but some nights are grilled cheese and cucumbers. I can handle feeding kids, but I’m not much of a cook, so bigger “adult”  meals rarely happen. I’m hoping to get better at that as time goes on because I really love the idea of feeding these strapping boys good meals as they grow. I do have some specialties to lean on like spaghetti, chicken cordon bleu, and pork chops, so hopefully I’ll keep learning to master the cooking thing as I go.

7:00pm — Showers and relax/read time.

8:00pm — Bedtime for the boys. Our bedtime routine is exactly the same each night, and it has been the same for as long as I can remember.  I sit with each boy, talk to him for a bit, stroke his hair and tell him he’s my favorite and to not tell his brothers that I said that, and then I kiss each one of them the number of kisses that they are old tell them I love them, and then situate their rooms according to their specific preferences (ie: door open, door closed, check the closet for monsters, close the drapes, leave on the  bathroom light, etc.). During their birthday month, they get one extra mini-kiss until the calendar earns them another full kiss each night. It’s easily my favorite time of the day.

8:15pm — Clean up time for me. Making sure the house is tidy is a daily struggle with three boys, so going to bed with it clean each night is a huge priority.

9:00pm — Back to work I go. I’m upstairs in my “office/hallway” that I was shunned to when I relinquished the loft space to create Brody’s bedroom, but this is nice because I’m upstairs with the boys as they are drifting off to sleep.  I like that they know that I’m just right outside of their door.

12:00am — 1:00am — 2:00am — Ha ha ha! Whatever time I stop working is based on what time of year it is for wedding seasons, then I hop into bed myself.  I’m currently typing this at 11:30pm.

Oooh… but sometimes I’ll ditch work at night at watch whatever is on Bravo!  Andy Cohen doesn’t know this, but I’m pretty sure he and I are meant to be best friends in this life or the next.  And Lisa Rinna… and Bethenny Frankel… and Sonja Morgan… the housewives are all basically my best friends.

 

 

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When it comes to motherhood, what are you most confident in? What are you still insecure about?

 

Oh man, this is a hard question!  Somedays I feel like I’ve really got the hang of something, only to have it blow up in my face the next day.  It’s the world’s way of keeping us moms humble I think.

I’m not sure that any mom ever feels like they are doing things correctly. We’re all just winging it!!  Ha ha ha!

If I had to give an answer here (please imagine me cowering my head and saying this quietly so as to not piss off the parenting Gods…) I would say that I’m confident in my ability to talk to my kids in a way that makes them feel like people.  I try hard to have relationships with them, which includes a lot of conversations. I talk to them in the same tone, sarcasm, and joking nature that I use with my friends. It’s fun to watch them pick up on jokes, jab back at me every once in a while, and manage some bits of witty banter. Their laughter is EASILY the thing that I love the most. If they’re laughing, then I know I’m doing something right.

I parent with a lot of intention and thought behind what I’m doing.  I’m trying to make sure that I raise my boys into being men that I’m proud of, and I feel like raising boys puts a lot of pressure on a mom’s shoulders.

I don’t know what it’s like to raise girls, but I know what it felt like to be a girl and watch my parents as I grew up.  It seems as though parents of girls focus on teaching girls to be ferocious and fearless and that they can create any world that they want for themselves, but there is always this underlying notion that girls are going to have to TAKE that life, EARN that life, or FIGHT for that kind of respect.

For me, the focus when raising my boys is so much different than this.  I want to raise my boys to be humble, kind and respectful in a world that is already going to be given to them. They’re already going to have a privilege that they’re born with (hopefully the gap between women’s rights and men’s rights will shrink before they become adults though!), so there’s a responsibility that has to be taught that accompanies that power.  Am I making sense? Basically, I want to teach them to make sure that they are using kindness, love, and compassion in a way that will help those around them. The pressure to make sure that they’re learning to respect women, be kind, show love to others, and promote human decency while also still letting them know it’s okay to be fearless and ferocious in their pursuits is a daunting task.

Maybe this is something that I’m completely biased about because I only have boys, but I do know that as a woman I would definitely want to work with, be friends with, or even marry one of my little dudes someday.  Ha ha ha!!

Other  insecurities come in majorly with the divorce.  This is a road that I obviously have never navigated.  My parents are still married after 42 years. My ex-husband’s parents are still married too, so I don’t have anything to model this after.  I’m trying to make the best decisions possible, but I lay my head down on my pillow each night with concern that the divorce is going to be something that impacts my kids in a major way.  Hopefully, that’s not the case, but I’m not sure that I will ever stop worrying about it either.

 

How did motherhood change for you with each new child?

 

The saying “one is like one, two is like twenty” rings true for me.  Having Hudson was so exciting!! Everything was new! My body was doing amazing things.  I was rested. I was prepared. I thought I was ready, and for the most part, I was! My marriage was great. We doted on Hudson daily.  His every move was documented, and we gobbled up every single bit of him.

Griffin was a planned pregnancy, but having a toddler and being pregnant was much harder.  I was exhausted. I was working full time, I had started dabbling into building my photography business, and my husband was also in a huge growth phase of his career having just made partner at his firm.  Our marriage started to have some major stressors during this time too, so adding another baby was really hard.

Juggling two was really really really hard.  I definitely struggled with post-partum depression, and I was in a place personally where I was really questioning what I wanted to do going forward.  I wavered between wanting to be with my babies and wanting to work outside of the home. Neither decision felt right, and I was really hard on myself for it. I gained a lot of weight, and I was really unhappy. In the midst of that struggle, we accidentally got pregnant with Brody when Griffin was only 4 months old. It did me in.  I was incredibly unhappy and scrambling hard to find my identity as a new mother with three boys 4 years old and younger. I did not thrive in that life. I barely managed to survive most days.

My marriage took the hardest hit.  We separated the first time when the boys were 5, 2 and 1, and then we tried to make it work for a while before it completely broke about four years later.

Being a mom in the sense of snuggling my babies, loving them ferociously, caring for them so incredibly well came easily to me as they got older.  I’m a really really really good older-kid mom!

 

 

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If you’re comfortable, would you mind sharing about what co-parenting with your ex is like (if that’s what you’re doing)? What advice do you have for moms whose marriages are ending but want to make the transition as smooth as possible for their kids?

 

I’m not sure that we’re seasoned enough at the co-parenting thing to give much advice yet. We’ve barely been co-parenting for about a year right now, and most of the year has been a huge learning phase.  I’m probably worse at it than he is. He’d definitely say that is true!

This year has been full of so much pain, but also so much growth.  I can’t speak for him at all, so I’m not sure what he has felt, but for me, it was a year of trying to put blinders on and just focus on re-building a life with the boys.  It was awesome to have the house to focus on the most, and I really did a hard dive into that project all of last summer.

I think that the best advice that I would give is that the sooner you can unpack your divorce baggage the easier things will get.  For me, that involved a ton of therapy, consuming self-help books, time with friends, sobbing my eyes out if anyone literally looked at me the wrong way, snuggling with my boys, and a huge amount of purging my old life.

I was kind of a freak about the purge.  I sold almost all of our furniture. I went so far as to have new dish towels because the ones that I had were purchased by my ex-mother in law and even those towels would bring up memories.  It was so hard. I can’t even begin to describe it. It felt like a death. I had to grieve it the same way.

But as soon as I started to make the uphill climb back up to the point of taking my life back, it got easier with every day that passed.  One of my neighbors gave me the best advice. She said that I’m walking through a fire right now, and if I stop, I’m going to burn, so I just needed to keep moving.  This resonated hard with me because when she said it, I was at a complete standstill. I was burning, and it was so painful. Once I started putting one foot in front of the other, the pain started to fall away little by little.

I honestly don’t know if this transition was smooth for my kids.  I don’t have anything to compare it to, and I don’t really want to try to compare it.  I just woke up every day and did my best. My best is way better now than it was a year ago, and that’s really great!

 

How do your kids inspire you?

 

Currently,  they are three awesome little boys who terrorize the hell out of each other (and me!) and devour as much food as I can keep stocked in the pantry.  I don’t find much of that inspiring, but I’m inspired by their sheer existence and the role I play in molding their future selves. I’m beyond blessed and stoked to have them in my life, but I also really love that all four of us are very different and whole individuals on our own.

Piggy-backing on what I was saying about parenting with intention before, being a mom to three boys is something that I keep in clear focus.  They are one thousand percent my “why” in my business and life choices. The behavior that I model as a self-employed single mom is directly impacting who they will decide to spend their lives with in the future, so I hope that by being a strong, independent woman in their lives, they will see how important it is to make sure that they’re choosing a partner who will be their equal in whatever kind of relationship they choose to have too.

 

 

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What are some of your favorite activities to do as a family right now?

 

Riding bikes for sure!! Movie nights, playing Monopoly and Scrabble, and we play this fun game during weekend breakfasts where we go through the alphabet saying a made-up name, the place we’re from, and what we’d bring on a camping trip all to the corresponding letter of the alphabet. We’ll make up funny accents and voices and say crazy things. They always end up in fits of laughter which makes me so insanely happy.

 

If you have to pick just one, what’s been your favorite moment from motherhood so far?

 

My favorite thing has been collecting three new best friends.  The process of getting to know who they are as people is so incredibly rewarding.  As much as I want to soak in this phase that they’re in right now (because it’s so so so good), I can’t wait to get to know who they are as teenagers too!  I might be in for it by saying that because they might be angsty teens at that point in their lives, but either way, watching them morph from babies and seeing them grow into people has been truly incredible.

 

 

Jodi Anne Hendricks is The Everymom…

Favorite photo you’ve taken?  
The very first photo of all three boys the day we came home from the hospital with Brody… maybe tied with a photo I have of my Grandmother holding onto Griffin while he was giggling and squirming between her legs at around 3 years old.

Best brunch spot?
What is brunch? I have three kids. I don’t brunch. Ha ha ha!

How do you end a long day?
It honestly feels like my days never end. Building a business is no joke. Running a business while also trying to continue to grow is even harder!! But when I do relax, reality TV is easily my guiltiest pleasure.

Last book you read?
I’m a self-help and business book addict. Currently reading/listening to the audiobook Dare to Lead by Brene Brown… also just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts when I travel for weddings, which is often.

I wish I knew how to…
Cook, play the piano, speak Spanish.

Most embarrassing mom fail?
One time when Brody was about 2 years old he exploded poop out of his diaper and into the sand at the playground. I didn’t have a diaper bag and wasn’t prepared for such a disaster! Please don’t mom-shame me, but I’m pretty sure I covered the diarrhea up litter-box style and ran TF out of the there holding Brody straight out in front of me as I ran.

 

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