Hi friends!! Excited to be back again today to share another in our series “3 tips for photographers“. This one is near and dear to my heart and something I feel so passionate about: balancing work and mom life. It is no easy task! I had my sweet son 15 months ago and I still feel like there’s more to learn every day. In writing this post, I want to make it so clear that I’m no perfect role model in this regard…I find myself having to own my failings every day and needing to come back to the things that matter when I get off track: running a purposeful business that blesses others and being a strong support and loving mom for my family. So, consider this an invitation to join me in the journey rather than having all the answers. With that said, let’s dive in!!
I truly believe this to be one of the most important factors when it comes to success in balancing life as an entrepreneur and parent. After having Achilles, I started to see that my time was now compartmentalized and dictated by this little guy and that I was going to need to be extremely intentional (and flexible!) with my time if I was to ever accomplish anything by the end of the day. Two things that really helped were 1) writing down and establishing concrete goals and 2) determining what my work-week was going to look like ahead of time. To help with goals, I bought Lara Casey’s Powersheets to aid in the process of determining vision and organizing my goals into something manageable, and I highly recommend them. For the second, determining what my work week would look like before it started, I had to sit down at the start of the month, and again at the start of every week, and input weekly and daily to-do’s on a calendar (I use ical and input to-do’s as all-day events) to keep me on track. This helps you gather an idea of how much time you’ll need to work for that particular week and also helps protect the time that you don’t want to spend working (the biggest disaster for me is trying to do everything at once and mixing time with Achilles and work–no one wins in that scenario!). This is also so helpful in determining if nap times/evenings will be enough to get the work done or if hiring a sitter (or calling mom, asking the hubs, etc.) will be necessary. Set yourself up for success beforehand; you’ll be happier seeing what you’ve accomplished and you’re little ones will be thankful for the time that you put aside and allotted for focusing on them!
It only seems too appropriate to include a picture of me with my favorite little face!! I love being this boy’s mommy. Photo by my sweet friend Leslie D.
This is huge!! However, I can’t talk to you about this one without first confessing how much of a struggle this was for me. I was so used to doing everything myself in my business and having complete control over it. It took many frustrating Saturdays spent editing weddings and still feeling like I didn’t have enough time to get my work done in a time appropriate to the standards of my business and sacrificing precious hours that could have been spent with Andy and Achilles to get me to budge. The control factor is hard, and so is the financial sacrifice at first. BUT, this has been the best thing for my family, and I’m so happy to have loosened my grip on things to see the more important thing: my family flourish. And want to know one fun little surprise I didn’t expect? It can contribute to feeling more of a “team” mentality and help with the lonely factor that often accompanies solopreneurs. It’s been so fun and rewarding to invite others into my journey and passion! So if you’re feeling swamped, look into all the great resource options that are out there: album design services, digital editing, bookkeeping services, etc. The rewards have been so great for me, and I know you will feel the same!
Beach trip with my boys in February to photograph sweet G+J!
#1 Take time to rest
Is it surprising that my #1 tip doesn’t have to do with work at all?! 🙂 It was somewhat for me as I went to plan this post (did you catch that?? organization in action). I’ve been learning a whole lot about this one lately. I felt like when Achilles first came I saw three options for filling my time with only enough room for two: hang out with baby, work, or sleep. Achilles is my number 1 and my work a passion, so guess which one lost? 🙂 Those early months were so hard in this regard. I rarely took time to actually do something just for me, and that left me empty across the board to give to Andy, Achilles, and my work. I’ve been learning the art and value of ceasing to strive. Just being me. Reading a book that doesn’t have anything to do with parenting or my business, but is simply for my joy and encouragement (I just read through 4 books in the kid’s series Chronicles of Narnia!). It has been the best thing. Instead of using 100% of my energy every week, I try to conserve some of that in order to carve out time to sit in the fullness of what I believe to be my identity and remember where my value is: not in mom, photographer, artist, or wife, but in “Charity”, made with purpose and thoroughly loved by the Creator of the world. A practical example of this? I try to reserve two days during my work week (possible because of outsourcing!) to break from the responsibilities of work so I have room to simply hang out with Achilles and take a nap/read a book, or meet with a friend. These are the days that fill me up and refresh me with purpose for the work hours of my week and hanging out with Andy and Achilles.
I absolutely love being mom and entrepreneur–they each fuel me and bring me so much joy! I love that most of my time is spent with Achilles as his main caregiver and yet get to escape for hours or days at a time to pursue my dreams and add my own stroke of beauty to the world. I so hope that something in this post is an encouragement to you in balancing both really important components of your life and to make the stuff that really matters in life, matter more! I invite you to comment below with any specific questions or to share what you’ve found has been so helpful for you when it comes to managing life with kids and a business. Let’s keep the conversation going and learn from each other!