Gosh I feel like I have blogged and talked and discussed and hemmed and hawed about this for 2 years now… since Linc was born! Having a baby and running your own business… from home is crazy! I feel into the trap when I was pregnant thinking… this will be the LIFE, it will be super easy and convenient, I mean heck I can schedule my business around my baby! It’s perfection! That was the biggest misconception I ever had because to tell you the truth… your baby or at least mine could totally run your life!
I forget most days that I’m a photographer and when people ask me what I do, I often say oh I’m a stay at home mom. My coaching session with Katelyn James was revealing because she told me I had to stop saying that. I’m not just a stay at home mom, I am a small business owner and a photographer AND a stay at home mom! I’m a lot of things! Women are always a lot of things… can I hear an AMEN on that my sister friends?!
We are never truly only one thing… ever!
Finding the balance though between raising a family and working… or finding a balance between raising a family and doing anything else is super hard! We want to give 100% of ourselves 100% of the time to those we love! And as photographers, we find ourselves loving our clients like family too because we just fall in love with their stories and their history and their hearts!
So I’ve struggled with this balance since Linc was born… how do you do it? Could it be done? What are the tricks? Does anyone truly do it and do it well without giving something up?
Now let’s add in a hubster that deployed kind of unexpectedly! I wrestled with work/life balance when I had help and a loving supportive spouse… now how could I figure it out when I have to act as a single momma?!
But my friends, when you are forced to figure it out… you just do! I needed my photography now more than ever! It keeps me going and fills my heart! It’s my outlet and my way to be creative. I had to find a way to make it work while still being able to give all of myself to my little man cub!
So I found some kind of semblance of a work/life balance… I did! I just kind of stumbled on it now, but I’m starting to come into and I wanted to share with you that it is possible! You just need to put a few things in place!
1. You HAVE to have a schedule of some kind! I love schedules, how weird am I?! I love calendars and I love writing things down and crossing them off! So naturally this works for me. I create calendars and lists. I break out my colored pens and highlighters and I go. to. town. I have a blogging calendar that I create on Sunday night of each week! I would work further in advance but I find that because my week changes so much with Linc, Sunday night is perfect for us. I write down what I will blog about and then (like Nike says) I just do it.
2. I book in advance! I have to because right now I have to schedule a sitter and my clients totally understand! I used to be able to drop and go when Tuck was home and that was great! Now, I have to prepare, hire a sitter, and make sure I have the time on the back side to edit and turn over! All this goes along with scheduling and having that calendar. I book in advance, make sure I have the sitter, mark it down on the calendar in a different color, then block out the time to post process and turn over!
3. I utilize my nights and school days for both work time and me time! When we found out hubster was deploying, we decided to send Linc to school half days a few days a week. At first, I felt horribly guilty about it! Linc needed it though, we both needed it. He needed to be able to spend time away from me and play with friends so he could work on his separation anxiety! I needed some time to run errands and work and have a break! Now I realize this was the best choice for all of us! I use the time he spends at school to work AND to take some time for myself. I look at my schedule and I block of days just for work and also just for errands and just for me! I also make the most of my nights when he is in bed. I set aside 1 to 2 hours a night depending on how the day went or how much work I have to actually work. The rest is for what I need! Some nights I take completely off!
4. Pretend you have a boss that expects something from you first thing in the a.m. This advice was given to me by Amanda Hedgepeth of Amanda Hedgepeth Photography! She told me that sometimes she pretends she has a boss that expects a blog from her first thing in the morning and it helps her turn things around! This is an amazing tip and it’s something I have used this month to help me start the process of blogging every day!
5. Schedule days off: if you have to! Mark those days on your calendar in a bold color and don’t change them for anything! I used to do that before and then a job would come up and I would accept it. Mark your days for your family time and don’t make any allowances! Stay at home, go for a vacation, go out to eat, whatever it may be… those are your days and you make sure you take them! You are doing this not only for yourself but also for your clients. If you are rested and have taken care of yourself, you are better able to serve your clients!
6. Let go and realize that these moments with your own family are what inspired you to do what you do as a photographer! So take the moments and let it replenish you and fuel you!