I’ve started this post so many times and each time I get to the end of my thoughts… I delete it all and start over again. The reason… FEAR. Fear of admitting that I don’t always love working at home. Fear of coming across as being negative. Fear that I will offend someone. But there’s a little voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me, THIS DOESN’T MATTER. So… here goes nothing.
I was recently chatting with my friend about the pros and cons of being a working mom. The constant struggle to find the balance between work, life and family. The good, the bad and the in-between moments. It made me really stop and examine my path in life. What is truly important? What do I really want?
When I first started my photography business almost 17 years ago, part of the consideration was the flexibility it offered. The ability to “stay home” with my kids, but still contribute financially to the household. Keep in mind, at that time, I was young (almost 20), single and not really looking to start a family anytime soon. BUT it was one of the things that held a lot of appeal to me.
In 1981, my dad left his very secure job as an aircraft mechanic to start his own computer company. As I grew, I watched my parents work hard, re-define and continue to grow their business. I watched them discover that working from home was more efficient for their business than renting a retail space. Through all the ups and downs, the biggest benefit that I saw was that I always had a parent available to me. Yes, they worked long hours, but if we needed something, they were there. This is where my desire to have flexibility came from. I didn’t want my kids in daycare. I wanted them to grow up with the security of knowing that they would always have a parent available to them.
Now that I’ve been a Work at Home Mom for almost 4 years, I can see some of the faults in my rosy outlook of years ago. The balance has been so hard to find. I feel like I always have work to do. Then there are the nights when I’m up several times with the kids that lead into days that I can barely function. This in turn, causes me to lose focus too quickly and I end up spending too much time surfing Facebook when I should be getting something accomplished. This just leads to another late night because the work didn’t get done during the day. There are also the days when my kids have absolutely no desire to play nicely together. You know, the days where every single time you turn your back for one second, there are tears. These are days when I almost cry because I want a break from my kids.
Then there are weeks like this one. My parents have taken their first holiday in years. They’ve rented a cabin in the middle of nowhere and are actually taking some time to relax and be disconnected. So to help them out, I’m managing their office for them. Eric is home with the girls and for the first time in a long time, I’m the one heading out during rush hour. I’m the one who’s not at home.
I left with a heavy heart this morning thinking about all the things I would be missing out on. My morning cuddles. Reading books. Tiny hands tugging at my sleeve. Eating pretend cake. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself… but also looking forward to a “break” from my kids.
Then reality hit again… rush hour traffic. All I can say is YUCK and I can’t believe I have to do it again to get home! It took me nearly two hours to travel what usually takes me 45 minutes at any other time of day. It made me think of all the people that have to do this every single day. It reminded me how lucky I am that most days I don’t have to face it.
So yes, there are days that I’m tired and cranky and don’t like the drain of constantly promoting my business… but the alternative, no thanks. I’ll take a bad at home over a nasty commute any day. I’ll take the long but flexible hours over being tied to a schedule. Mostly, I’ll take the ability to have a pajama day with my kids, eating popcorn and watching a movie over having to get dressed up every day.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. If you’re one of my amazing clients… THANK YOU for making my dreams come true. If you’re my family… THANK YOU for EVERYTHING.
And because no post is complete without an adorable photo…
My two reasons that I do LOVE how flexible my work is 🙂