Striking the right balance between work and family life
This weekend my family and I headed to Great Yarmouth for a little break. I had thoughts in my mind of ice creams, beach fun and family time. In fact it turned out to be so much more. I needed this break more than I’d realised.
I wrapped up my editing last week after a very busy couple of months of shooting every weekend. Many beach sessions which I adore but no family beach time of my own. This is why we decided a little caravan break by the sea would be perfect. We had fun at the pleasure beach, splashed in the sea and ate far too much unhealthy food! My signal was awful but what a blessing that was!
Being self employed is absolutely amazing, I wouldn’t change it for anything but it completely consumes you if you’re not careful. The only person in charge of it all is you, including knowing your limits and managing your time correctly. Something I now realise I’ve been failing at a bit. My children are still really young (6, almost 5 and 2) and I love how this career path allows me to always be with them and not have to pay for childcare. We manage really well as far as shooting days goes, it really works. Steve (hubby) is off at the weekend so this is when I shoot and usually it’s in the morning so this allows us to still do family activities or visit people in the afternoon. Then my evening sessions I schedule for between dinner and bedtime. It really works!
So where am I failing? All sounds perfect so far right?! Here’s the thing, until this weekend I felt compelled to answer queries straight away or at least to read messages. The thing with this is that my thoughts were now focused on these messages, even though I have an automated response saying I’ll respond in the evening when I officially work. Somehow I thought by not instantly replying I’d appear unprofessional or they’d go elsewhere. I had zero internet access whilst we were away and the world did not end! I switched off, I let my thoughts wonder and didn’t have my phone attached to me. It sat in my bag and I didn’t even take any photographs! It felt amazing. Hubby took a few just to remind our children about where we went.
So moving forward what have I learnt? I don’t need to be available 24/7, I am not a machine or a big corporation. What I am is a Mother of 3 young children, a wife and I’m running this business myself because it’s something that I love. I want to offer you the things that I love and I want to continue to do things my way. My life and my family are my biggest assets, they are my focus and give me inspiration every day. My family give me the tools I need to run my sessions the way that I do, with understanding and patience. I know children can have off days and be uneasy in new situations. That they need some space sometimes and time to relax. Also things happen, like clothes ripping just as you’re due to leave the house or a child has fallen asleep in the car…it’s ok! I get it all, I know it’s hard work being a parent and sometimes it all feels like it’s going wrong. We take a deep breath and get through it. I understand worries you might have about clothing or children being unwilling but believe me I will help you! It’s my job to help you and to make your session enjoyable and fun!
So what’s going to change? For you, nothing really except messages will be answered at set times. For me, I need to be stricter with myself. I don’t want to be a slave to my phone. It’s not healthy! I see a notification and I can’t help but look at it, this needs to change. Having no internet access was great so it’s time for notifications to be switched off. No more Facebook notifications or emails appearing on my lock screen. For the most part I will attempt to just work in the evening but I will check things during the day sometimes. It seems like a small thing to change but actually I think this will have a huge impact on my life. It will give me my home life back.
I came home yesterday to three enquiries, I didn’t need to be constantly on my phone for these families to contact me! So this is my first little change towards a better future and all it took was a little break away. Sometimes all you need is a little distance and a break from technology to see things a little more clearly!
Here’s my crazy and amazingly funny trio enjoying their time with a work free Mummy.
I’m now looking forward to the beautiful colours of Autumn, my favourite season!