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!
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?
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.
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>.
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.
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.
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.
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.