How to Balance being a Mom and a Business Owner
Finding balance in my life is always a struggle. With a husband, two kids, three cats, a dog, a house, and a job, finding that balance is difficult. I am constantly thinking about the balance of my life, but as I sit down to write about it, it is difficult to give one solution that will fit everyone.
My life is constantly changing. My kids are growing older, so their school work is more pressing and they now have after school activities. My husband has two jobs, one that requires him to work some crazy hours and the other that requires him to be away for long periods at a time. My photography business, as most other photography businesses I know, has some very busy times and some very slow times. All of these factors play a role in the balancing act that I attempt to master.
The most important part of balancing my life, my family, and my photography business is prayer. I thank God for the gifts He has given me…my family, my health, my love of photography. I’m grateful that He has blessed me with my little photography business. I pray that He continues to guide me on this business journey.
We live in such busy worlds that family time is typically put on the backburner. I’m not going to lie, it gets put on the back burner in my house sometimes, too. With my husband’s crazy schedule, time with him is at a premium. I do my best to spend time with him and our kids whenever I can. Sometimes it’s full on attention, with no distractions. Sometimes, they come with me to photo shoots. They play, while I work. Afterwards we have a family dinner out. Occasionally, the together time is when we are all just in the same room. We might be doing different things, but are still together and we can chat or just snuggle. It’s nice to be working on my computer with the kids coloring at my feet.
I’m a planner and I schedule things months in advance. I like to know what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it. Technology has made being organized and sticking to a schedule a bit easier.
To keep my kids on track in the mornings before school, I use the alarm feature on my cell phone. I have to tackle the morning rush by myself, so to help things run a bit smoother I set alarms for the times my kids need to start getting dressed and when they need to brush their teeth. Each alarm has a different melody and my kids know what they mean. It has made our mornings so much more pleasant.
I will use the alarm feature on my phone when I’m working on the computer, too. We all know it’s not good to sit for long periods of time and there is ALWAYS laundry that needs tending to. On the days I set aside for editing or blogging I will set the timer on my phone for 20-30 minute increments. I’ll edit for 20 minutes, then fold a load of laundry. Edit for 20 more minutes, then put the load of laundry away. I can accomplish quite a bit that way.
I downloaded a calendar app on my phone. I do have a calendar in my kitchen, but since I always have my phone with me, the calendar app works wonders. I keep my photo shoot schedule, my kids’ school activities schedule and birthday party schedule, and my husband’s work schedule all on my phone.
There is also a notepad app on my phone that I use for shopping lists and lists of gear to bring to a photo shoot or a list of poses/set ups I plan to use. I can pull my phone out of my pocket when I have an idea while I’m out and about and easily make note of it. Brilliant!
Even though I rely on technology a lot, I absolutely love pen and paper. I always keep colorful notebooks, Post-it Notes, and legal pads handy. I keep a weekly To-Do List on my desk to jot down the major things I want to accomplish on each day. There is something cathartic about physically crossing something off of my To-Do List.
TAKE CARE OF MYSELF
If I’m not healthy, both physically and mentally, then I can’t take care of my family or run a business. Running, biking, or a workout in our home gym keeps me physically fit and helps to clear my mind of the day’s stresses. I can even get in some family time doing this. My very favorite activity is to run to the lake near our house with my kids. When we get there, they hop out of the stroller and run with me. If I could do this every day with them, I would. It keeps us happy and healthy, creates memories, and encourages healthy habits.
SOMETIMES I JUST HAVE TO GO WITH THE FLOW
This is hard for me. As much as I plan and schedule, things are nowhere near perfect. On any given day you might find tumbleweeds of dog and cat hair in my hallway, dishes in my sink, dirty towels on my floor, or a session waiting to be edited on my computer. I do what I can, but sometimes is just best to go with the flow. Life happens. I get what I can done and plan to tackle the rest tomorrow.
I guess where I’m going with all of this is that you have to do what works for you. Try implementing one or two of the ideas that help me. Read blogs about what it takes to be a working Mom, pin organization ideas on Pinterest, follow other photographer’s Instagram feed, take pieces of advice from here or there, but make it all work for YOU and YOUR family. Nothing is tried and true. Life has challenges. Your situation is special. If you take some time to really think about everything you do, what you are about, who you are to your family, you might realize that you really are a superstar. You ARE getting it done…however that BALANCES out.