The adventures of a stay-at-home dad and entrepreneur

March 15, 2017

I’ve been in the photography business for over ten years now.  I shoot mainly weddings, family sessions, headshots…And I love it.  Keeping busy is not an issue as an entrepreneur.  To have steady work, I have to hustle.  That means the never ending editing of images, staying in touch with existing clients, blogging, social media, bookkeeping, answering emails, phone calls…It really never ends!  I think I do it fairly well.

What has changed for me recently, is that I am now a stay-at-home dad.  After six months, my partner has gone back to work, and I now spend most of my day looking after our now ten month old daughter.  She is an awesome kid…Happy, playful, curious…and a real handful!  Whereas before I would have many hours to get some work done, suddenly if I get ten consecutive minutes to work on a project it is a luxury!

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If you go online, you’ll see a LOT of discussion about stay-at-home-moms and the struggles to run a business while raising children, but I honestly have found almost nothing about dads who are in the same boat.   There is certainly a lot of us out there…Isn’t there?

stay-at-home dad

Without a doubt, there is a stigma about what I am doing…I see the eyebrows raise, when I say that my partner is back to work & I am the one at home being ‘daddy daycare’.  Stereotypes are certainly hard to break out of.

Working from home is always a challenge.  The distractions are easy.  The pile of dishes, the laundry, the needy dog who reallllly wants to go for a walk.  Trying to stay focused on work in this environment takes serious discipline.

Boston Terrier Ottawa-photographer

One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face, is maintaining a healthy balance with work & personal life.  Not getting a lot of time to work while watching our daughter all day, means that when mom is home, it is often my only chance to get caught up on things.  This really cuts into the time we should be spending together…It is easy to spend my evenings at the computer, following up with emails, or getting to the mountain of editing, or even that latest blog post <ahem>.

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So how do I do it?  Well…My little one is napping now.  So here I am…Typing away while I can, to get this blog together.  If I am lucky, she will sleep an hour, if not…I’ll get back to this later!  I’m also fortunate that my partner only works 3.5 days right now…So I do get a few days to work on my own projects.  Wedding season is definitely the hardest for me, as it means giving up so many of my weekends to shoot weddings.  Many evenings will be spent editing then.

What helps?  Well, I try to set aside a few dates for family.  This means blocking off a few weekends through the season to do family stuff.  Maybe travel, maybe just hang out and swim at our local beach.  And speaking of travel, we will do our big trips outside of wedding season for the most part…So early spring, or later in the Fall, when things slow down a bit.

Ottawa-portrait-photographer editorial-photography

I have resigned myself to getting up early in the morning too.  This will be a chance for me to tackle some work, without cutting in to the evening hours when I want to hang out with my family.  Did I mention I have a teenage daughter as well?  She is great at doing her own thing (ie: playing on her phone), but I do want to spend time with her too, and she has music lessons, soccer practices & games to get to. Is ‘soccer dad’ a thing?

I won’t lie.  It isn’t easy.  There is a strain on everyone, as there are only so many hours in the day…But of course, we do realize it is temporary.  In a few months, our little one will start going to daycare a few days a week.  I’ll get some of my time back to work, and so when we are together as a family at that point, we can really enjoy it.

North-Bay-photographer

So yes, it is an adventure.  Daddy daycare is a full time job, on top of being a professional photographer.  But I keep my chin up, and get the work done when I can…I’m looking at the baby monitor, and someone just woke up.  I guess that hour long nap isn’t happening today.  So to all the stay-at-home dads, and of course stay-at-home-moms who are also entrepreneurs out there…Keep up the good work!  We are rockstars, and truly lucky to have so much time with our little ones.  I wouldn’t trade it in for anything else.

home based entrepreneur

How do you balance your work & family time?  Are you a work from home entrepreneur trying to juggle raising children also?  If you have any advice to share, please leave a comment below.

As always, if you are interested in contacting me directly, you can do so HERE.

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Hey Lindsay, thank you so much! It is definitely interesting & you are right about not being too hard on myself. I think that is an easy thing to do when a parent is home & trying to run a business while also being a full-time parent! Cheers!

Such a great read! I was looking forward to this since I realized you are a SAHD! Kudos to you. I think it’s important to do what your family needs and if you are able to stay home while your wife works, that’s great! Maintaining balance is tricky, the key is to not be too hard on yourself!  Also love the photos of the dog and dirty dishes. Lol

Thanks Monashee! Twins must be an incredible challenge! My sister had twin boys and she told me some CRAZY stories. All the best to you & your little gang!

So true Carina! Definitely worth it, despite the effort required. Thanks for your support!

Such a great post. I totally agree about having limited time with our partners. I have twins. They are almost 5. My husband works nights, so I get most of my work done before he goes to work and then after the girls are in bed. We had a good thing going until they decided to resist bedtime, so my latest challenge has been letting go of work time I expected to have. Hang in there. You are doing great… and you are so right… it is all temporary and forever changing.

Truth!! I have two small children at home and another in school and I really am busy. And not with anything particularly glamorous, either! Simply keeping my kids happy, fed and alive, while mixing in dishes and a bit of tidying, takes all my time and mental effort. Oh, and I, too, am an entrepreneur. Stepping back and looking in on my life I’d say, now who in the heck would do that?! But I love being able to stay home with our children. I only have a few years until they are all in school and then that’s it. An entire chapter of my life will be over and my husband and I will begin writing the next one. Yes, it’s ridiculously hard right now and we both work our tails off but it will be over much too fast. And even though I sometimes go three days without a shower (I know, I know) it all seems worth it. PS – I totally abandoned the concept of “supermom” about a year ago and it is amazing. I gladly pack store bought applesauce in my oldest’ lunch and give him cheese strings. Why? Because of the time and stress I saved. Maintaining my sanity is more important than saying I made that applesauce. Haters gonna hate but I do what works best for me and my family!

Hi Ty, thanks so much! It is a juggling act of course, but I am SO lucky to have this time together with her. Cheers!

Love this post!! I think it’s amazing you juggle work and your little one. When she’s older I’m sure you will both appreciate this time you’ve had together. 

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