In case you’re new here, let me introduce myself: I’m Elizabeth, a traveling wedding photographer, wife, and momma to two kiddos. Growing up, I was interested in art, but honestly I always planned on being a stay at home mom…until college. I realized my passion for photography and ever since having my first baby in 2013, I just haven’t been able to let go of this awesome job, if you can even call it that. More accurately, being a wedding photographer who travels for 80% of my shoots is just an addiction that pays.
Today, I’ll be preaching to myself more than anyone else, because I want to discuss finding a balance between being a wife and mother, and owning your own business. This topic is endless, and I’ve yet to perfect it — or even come close — but I’ve found these 3 tips helpful (when I actually stick to them).
1. Give yourself business hours. Sit down with your spouse, and let them have a say in when those hours will be; Hours where you can work completely uninterrupted. If you have a studio or office space, this helps. But, if you’re like me, and your growing family is busting the house at the seams, it’s especially important for your spouse to have your back and keep the kids out for just a while so you can fully focus. Also, do your best to NOT be flexible with these hours! Of course, life happens, and you will at times have to move things around, but REALLY try not to let these specified hours get away from you. For me, I’ve hired a babysitter twice a week during the day to watch the kids. This keeps me from having to stay up late on those days, and I actually get to relax after the kids’ bedtime, like a normal person. By relax, I obviously mean do laundry.
2. Do not get behind!! I’m super grumpy, and all around a horrible person if I start to feel the pressure of deadlines that I’m not meeting! As a wedding photographer, people are waiting for their photos the day after I shoot a wedding, and it can take quite a while to get through the editing process. If I start to get behind, I pull a near all-nighter editing. I don’t recommend doing this more than 2 nights in a row, BUT I’d rather have one long all-nighter than a week of staying up “pretty late.” That’s my personal preference, but I guess that may not work for everyone.
3. Have at least 2 days a week where you don’t work at all. For me, this can’t be the weekend, because most of my weddings are on Saturdays. Plus, when my husband is home all day, that’s the perfect opportunity to get in a couple hours of editing. My no-work days are usually Mondays and Fridays, although I do have to do a small bit of prepping for Saturday weddings on Fridays. By having designated no-work days, I can focus on time with my family, meal prepping, or whatever the surrounding week’s activities require.
I have to say, in case anyone is reading this and thinks I have it all figured out, I almost NEVER follow these tips perfectly. But I totally should! I think the biggest challenge about working from home is finding that balance. It can be so challenging to sit and edit when the dirty dishes are 5 feet away from you. By the same token, I would always rather work than do laundry, and it’s easy to procrastinate my “at-home duties” when my computer is just in the next room, waiting for me to get to work! But balance is always my goal, and think about what that looks like: When you’re “balancing” on anything, you probably won’t be perfectly balanced at all times! You’ll be wobbly with your arms out, struggling, and even sometimes falling…but that doesn’t mean that the balance is impossible. So when you’re struggling, keep trying, and when you fall, don’t beat yourself up. If someone offers to help, by all means, ACCEPT the help! Remember, most things that are worth doing are pretty freaking hard.