When I was pregnant with my first, I was attending college full time, on a dance scholarship and working 25 hours a week at a grocery store just to make ends meet.
I thought being spread so thinly was the norm. I saw so many do it. My dad never seemed to stop working, my mom was always busy with home schooling my brothers, leading a home school group and working from home part time. Family and friends seemed to be doing the same thing in different ways. And everything in our culture showcases how hard women have to work to compete against men.
I thought being overworked was the key to success.
The problem is, I was so overworked that other things started creeping up. I put on a lot more weight than I needed to during my pregnancy. I went from 125 pounds to 185 at my super de duper height of 5’3″. I wasn’t making time for me, my marriage or the preparation that needed to come before having our baby.
Granted, most aren’t in our circumstance of marrying at 17, 19, going to college full time and working that much while being pregnant. We didn’t have a chance to get our stuff together. We had a lot of growing up and figuring out who we were that was condensed into less than a year.
As the years passed, I wanted to stay home more with my girls but I had to put in the countless hours of hard work in order to make it possible. What I didn’t realize was that once all that hard work was put in, I could step back a bit and have more control over my time. It took me until two years ago to figure that one out.
I remember 2017 so well. It was the year my rebrand launched and I was shooting solely weddings & engagements. I shot 42 weddings and 27 engagements that year. I was also coaching youth cheer for my girls. I wanted financial freedom finally. I was tired of us living paycheck to paycheck and wanted to start being able to make our house feel like a home. But making $500 off a wedding wasn’t going to give me that dream and that’s why I launched the rebrand.
I was excited as heck to be traveling a lot and making almost four times the amount of income I had made the previous year. But I was busting my butt to do so.
Then, a football game came and as I left after the girls performed at half time, I saw my daughters look at me with such sadness as we said our goodbyes. I had an early wedding 4 hours away the next day and I didn’t want to risk being late or having any issues traveling. I heard a friend ask my daughter what was wrong and my oldest replied, “My mom is just always so busy. I miss her.”
I had forgotten that the entire reason I started this photography journey was to spend more time with my girls and less time working. I forgot how much freedom I had now that I was my own boss and I needed to take control of my life and live it.
I decided to set out to prove everyone wrong. That a woman can be successful in her business, a stay at home mom AND finding time to relax & do things she likes. That’s exactly what I did.
I started off by asking myself how much time was I wasting on things that didn’t matter. Things like Netflix, scrolling through Facebook (get off tik-tok, it’s a waste of time, loves!) and how I could utilize that time elsewhere.
I still get to binge watch shows I like by having it as background noise when I’m in busy editing season. I still scroll through my social media and interact with people (that’s how I get most of my inquiries!) but I’ve learned to do it with purpose and schedule time for it each day.
So what exactly has changed since 2017? What am I doing differently?
– First things first, I limit the amount of weddings I shoot and I am able to do this by raising my prices and creating a more personal experience for my clients. Instead of 3-4 months for their images, days for email responses and a scatterbrained photographer, they receive a luxury experience full of connection and details. 4-6 weeks for their images, 48 hours for email responses.
-Next, I leave my phone alone. (I really struggle with this one). I don’t need my phone in my hand or pocket 24 hours a day. My kids and husband are more important than answering an email at 8pm at night. I let all of my couples know that I answer my emails only in the morning once they’ve booked.
I also don’t do in person meetings anymore. With technology at my fingertips, it’s much more convenient for both my clients and me if we schedule a FaceTime if they want to meet face to face. If they aren’t booking me at a bridal show, 9 times out of 10, bookings will happen via email only and the first time I meet face to face is the day of their engagement session.
– Next, I live by a to-do list. Not one that is over the top, check 20 things off in a day. A realistic to-do list that allows me to schedule “me time” in while also making sure I get everything done I need or want to do. For example,
7am- Start laundry
emails, editing, blogging, etc.
8:15 – girls up, daily chores, breakfast, switch laundry
9 – start school, switch laundry
10- school break & I jog or do yoga for 15 minutes + switch laundry
10:30 – back to homework
11:15 – make lunch, eat, lunch chores
12:15 – last homework assignments
1 – fold and put away laundry
1:45 – Me time (I edit, relax, whatever I want to do for an hour)
3 – 45 minute workout
3:45 – shower / IG videos / Schedule Posts
5:30pm – Cook dinner
6:30 – eat, dinner chores
7:30-9 : Family time
Yep, I schedule my showers and workouts in. And don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t work out perfectly EVERY day. I have extra chores that need done, calls that come up, problem solving, etc. But if I allow some buffer space and give myself grace, I can find time to be a successful business owner, mom and still get my healthy eating & workouts in. (And maybe a little bang, bang, choo choo train once the kiddos are in bed. 😉 )
Don’t overwork yourself. Set goals, achieve those goals but then enjoy the actual goal! You got this!