I didn’t grow up dreaming of being an entrepreneur but I did dream about being a Mom. When we had our first son, Micah, I knew I wanted being a mom to remain a priority even with my photography business and part time graphic design job. I continued working part-time for around 8 months after he was born until I just got too busy. I couldn’t do it all. I was spending every night at my computer away from my family and it was killing me. I made the jump and decided it was time to go full-time with my photography business. I’ve been full-time now for nearly 4 years and I’ve definitely learned a few things along the way so I thought I’d share what works for me!
Daycare is a Must
As much as I wish I was that Mom who could spend every day with my children, I’m just not. I enjoy working and enjoy being able to have some space from my kids. In fact, I think it makes me appreciate the time I am with them even more. Our daycare schedule fluctuates each year depending on our families schedule but we’ve always done at least 2-3 days of daycare. I use those days to schedule all of my studio sessions and days I’m at home are reserved for editing.
We Foster Independent Play
Because a large portion of my editing is done while my kids are home with me, we really encourage them to play independently. Our oldest, Micah is currently in 4 year old preschool so he is at school 4 mornings a week so I just have Kohen, our 2 year old, home with me on Tuesday and Thursday mornings since they don’t go to daycare. It’s not that I don’t enjoy playing with my kids because I do, but I think it’s been great for them to be challenged to play on their own or with each other. Both of my boys thankfully do this fairly well.
To help them with this, we also have a play area in my office space. Our home has a loft area where I have my office on one half and the kids play area on the other. This allows them to still feel close and talk to me while playing but they can play independently. It also allows me to keep an eye on them while working too!
We Try to Stick to a Routine
A huge benefit for myself has been creating a routine and trying to stick with it. Of course every week is different but I try to keep our weekly schedule the same by having set days/times available for sessions each week. This creates consistency for my kids but also myself! For instance, all my newborn sessions take place on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday’s at 9:30AM. I rarely need all of those days each week for newborns but it helps me keep those openings available so I’m not scrambling to find time to fit clients in.
Realize That Things Come Up
As much I try to stick to our routines and schedules, it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes I have sick kiddos, school events, dr. appts, etc. that just get in the way. When this happens, I use whatever time is needed. Working during nap time, after the kids go to bed, or during the weekend. That might mean my laundry doesn’t get done and my sink is full of dishes in the meantime but life goes on and it get’s done eventually. When things DO come up, I’m thankful for clients who are understanding that my family comes first and I might need to reschedule or it may take an extra day to get their images back.
I Have Help
Thankfully, I have an incredible support system. My mom is off work by mid-afternoon each day so she watches our boys when I have sessions late in the afternoon or early evening before Tony is home from work. She is also a HUGE help during wedding season by watching my kids on Saturday’s or picking them up from daycare if Tony isn’t off work yet. We would be lost without her!
Lastly, my husband is incredible. Not trying to brag, but he’s definitely a huge part of running my business. He helps in so many ways! From staying home with the kids while I’m at a wedding or session, having supper ready for me when I get home from a shoot, or just being a listening ear when I need to talk through ideas or need a second opinion. I don’t know what I would do without him.
All in all, being a Mom while running a business is HARD. But the flexibility it offers allows me to spend more time with my family and be there for the important moments. I’m so grateful to be able to do something I love while providing for my family too.