Ask me what I’m most passionate about, and my answer will always be two things: my family and my business. I absolutely love photography, and educating other women in this business brings my soul more joy than I can even express. I also love being a wife and mom to my favorite people on the planet. I’m fully dedicated to loving them with my whole heart.
But when I first started building my business, I wasn’t sure how to juggle the balance between my mama bear heart and my entrepreneurial spirit — I didn’t even know if that was possible! Thankfully, as it turns out, you can do more than just survive as a mom who is also a business owner. You can actually thrive in both roles without burning out. If you’re stepping into motherhood as a business owner or starting a business as a mama, here are three powerful truths that have helped my heart along the way. I hope they do the same for you!
1. You don’t have to choose between being a great mom and pursuing your goals.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty for caring so much about your business while you have kids at home. All of us, right?! Look, that “mom guilt” feeling is REAL. But just because an emotion feels real doesn’t make it true. Hear me: it is totally okay for you to pursue your own goals outside of being a mother. You are a mama, and I bet you’re a great one — but you’re also a person! Having dreams and working hard is not a detriment to our kids; it’s actually an empowering example.
When I first started my Art & Heart photography business course, I was worried that my kids would get frustrated about how much time I was spending on my computer leading others. Instead, I found my biggest cheerleaders. They leave good luck notes on my computer before trainings in the morning, and when they come home from school, they race to my office to ask how many new students I signed up while they were away. I think they might even be more excited than I am sometimes! It’s such an incredible feeling to know that I’m showing them how to work hard and find joy in your job without saying a word.
2. Finding your “why” makes all the difference.
As a business owner, you know the truth: no one cares as much about your business as you do. Your passion is what pulls you through the long days and difficult seasons. And I’ve actually found that my passion for my family is every bit as much of a motivator as my passion for my work! One huge “why” behind my business? I want to model passion, determination, and bravery for my kids.
Passion is what motivates me to stay up and edit that big project until 2:00 AM. Determination is what gets me through moments of financial stress or packed schedules. And bravery is what inspires me to take risks, even when the obstacle seems insurmountable. Inside, I tell myself, “All of my life experience has prepared me for this! I can do it. And when I do it, I’ll show my kids that they can do it, too.”
Of course, fear tries to sneak in and trip me up from time to time, telling me to play it safe instead of trusting myself. But I’ve learned to silence fear just like I’ve learned to silence mom guilt. Even if it’s messy, even if I fail, I’m growing. I’m gaining resilience. And it’s all ultimately going to lead me to future success. And that’s the best example of all.
3. Passion and presence are the greatest gifts you can give your family.
More than anything, I want my kids to believe that they can make their own dreams come true. I want my daughter to believe that she can be whoever she wants to be, whether that’s a bad-A business woman, amazing mother, or both at the same dang time. I want my sons to have big goals, and I want them to support their future partners in achieving their goals, too. I want to show my kids how to cheer on and support their spouses by the way my husband and I do that for each other! We’re a 100% support kind of family, and that’s our plan for life.
I don’t think my kids would care about the number of students I have in Art & Heart without me sharing my passion for business with them. They’re emotionally invested in my course because they see how hard I work — and because we talk about it! Don’t fall into the trap of keeping your work passions totally separate from your family life. When you share it with them, you’re inviting them into that part of your story, which makes them feel valued and included.
Now, about that pesky word, “balance.” I’m not sure there is such a thing! Instead, I try to practice being present. Over time, I have learned how to recognize those times that I need to press through and get things done in my business, and when intentionally put it away and prioritize time with my family. Intentionality is the name of the game, mamas! There will always be more to do, whether that’s in your business or just around the house. Using your time wisely will help you clear the mental clutter and focus on what matters most today.
When it comes to time management, I’ve got a few tried-and-true tips that have changed my business and my life. If you’re feeling overworked and overwhelmed, maybe these can help you take a breath and get back to a balance that works for you and your family.
Work in time blocks.
I actually had an amazing conversation about this on a recent episode of my podcast, Fill Your Frame! I love to allot time limits for tasks — let’s just say, “I’m going to edit for two hours.” If I finish the gallery in that amount of time, great! If not, no shame. I did my best work, and it’s okay to leave the rest for my editing time block tomorrow.
Communicate your schedule to your family.
My kids know that every day at a certain time, I’ll be working. They also know that when that time ends, I’ll be done! I stick with my schedule so that I can be true to my word with my children. Sometimes, I’ll catch them standing in front of my office door when time is almost up because they are so excited to see me. It would be really unkind for me to keep working — I never want my kids to feel secondary to my business!
Break it all down.
If a certain task feels totally overwhelming, break it down into small chunks! One small thing every day is better than nothing day after day. Every step gets you closer to your goal, and you’ll be so proud of yourself for pushing through.
If you hopped onto the blog today feeling stretched thin and worn out, I hope these words gave you some much-needed encouragement — you can be a great mom while following your dreams, and it doesn’t have to feel like an uphill battle every day. Setting boundaries in your business will actually make you an even better parent, and remembering what kind of example you’re settling for your little ones will help you find that fire again.
Looking to upgrade your photography business (without the burnout & overwhelm)?