Oh, the unpredictable joys of being a full time stay-at-home working mom! Actually getting my work done is somewhat of an art that I have HAD to learn how to master and very quickly. It can be almost impossible on some days to actually get work done, especially since I work from home. But my workload is insane. It’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster to figure out how to get 60+ hours of a work week in and still tend to and be a good mom to my small little boys.
And yes, I am exhausted. But aren’t we all? Coffee was made for mom’s, right?? Aside from making sure that you ALWAYS have coffee on hand, I’ve got a few tips for you to remember that may help you to actually get your work done.
If you are a full time working mom, you know that you’ve gotta get creative with the hours that you work. And even when you get creative with the hours that you work, the unpredictables that happen when you’ve got kids in the picture are inevitable. I think the number one rule here is to be and remain flexible! Although my work is an enormous priority, and it stresses me out to get behind, I have to constantly remember that my priority above my work here is my two boys. So staying flexible within your day is essential!
WRITE IT DOWN. Writing down a list of things that need to get done is absolutely essential. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to women and mom’s who are completely stressed out and on the verge of a nervous breakdown because they are keeping ‘lists in their head’. You might have a great memory, and you might be able to maintain this for awhile. But writing everything down will REALLY help you to see and prioritize everything that needs to get done within a day. I make lists like it’s nobody’s business. And my daily to do list, for work alone is LONG. So long, that sometimes I’m in tears over it. Just keeping it real. Ha! But at least I know that I’m probably not going to forget to do many things, and I can have a plan for the day so I can make sure to get things done. Then, if I get interrupted while I’m working I know that I can come right back where I left off and then I don’t have more than one project going at a time.
Work while your kids are sleeping. Fortunately for me, I have REALLY phenomenal sleepers. Even if I didn’t, I would definitely utilize their nap times and bed times to get my work done. Plus, I definitely try to get up at 5:30 am, two hours before they do, to get a jump on the day. I used to be a girl that NEEDED 8 hours of sleep every night. But in order to make this work for me, I get up and get some work done before anyone in the house is up. I get two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, and almost four hours after the kids go to bed making my work day almost an eight hour day! Then, when they are awake I don’t have to feel guilty about working during play time. The mom guilt I talked about flies out the window because you have a plan for the day and can usually get a majority of your work done while they are sleeping.
Aside from those couple tips that probably aren’t groundbreaking news for you, I try to keep this in mind. Before we started Session Nine Photography, I was given the best advice from someone who didn’t even realize that she was changing and shaping my life with her words.
She told me, “You’ve gotta work as hard for yourself as you would for anyone else.”
She has no idea how much I repeat those words to myself everyday. The truth is, being a full time stay-at-home-working-mom is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But these words ring loud in my ears every time I want to just give up, or take lots of breaks. I remember my days of working in corporate America and how when I worked for someone else, I never gave up. I worked hard to prove my place in the company and to hopefully be promoted. I wanted my boss and co-workers to see my full potential and to notice it. And for what? I’m not there anymore and likely those people don’t even probably remember or think about me on a daily basis. But I worked SO hard.
Why would you not do that for yourself? Even if you don’t work full time, this can apply! Being a mom is hard work. Running a business on top of it is even harder. But I know that I would be beating myself into the ground if I had a boss and worked for another company. Why would I not work HARDER for myself? Why would I not work just as hard and be the kind of mom I always wanted to be? You owe it to yourself to work just as hard as you would for anyone else. YOU are important. Your family is important. Yes, we are all tired. I get it. And it’s hard work, this I know. But on the days where I just want to DIE and it seems like the only option is to stand in my walk-in closet and SOB, I remember that I would be working just as hard if I had a job outside my home.
Why not approach your life like that and work JUST has hard for you as you would for anyone else? It’s completely revolutionized the way I attack each and every day. And it was some of the best advice anyone has ever given me.
Being a working mom is hard. It’s a lot to balance. And I truly, truly love my job. I’m inspired in it daily, I am allowed to be creative and tell others’ stories. It motivates me to work hard because I WANT to be a working mom. And although we try, we can’t realistically DO it all. But I really believe you can HAVE it all. With balance, flexibility and a plan, you can organize your life in a way that will promote everything that is important to you. A place where you CAN work and be a great mom without letting either suffer. You can set up success in your life that isn’t and can’t be measured by mere men. It’s success that comes from knowing that you are doing the best you can, achieving things you never thought possible, putting your kids first and letting go of the things that just can’t get done.
Work as hard for yourself as you would for anybody else. You can do it, girl!
I am Jessica Williams, full time wife, mother, and photographer. My husband Jason and I have two little boys, Cruz (2.5) and Rider (6 months) who have absolutely changed our lives in all the best ways possible. We live locally in Scottsdale, which is where I grew up, but we just moved back as a family almost a year ago. Jason and I are full time photographers with Session Nine Photography, photographing Weddings and Lifestyle Sessions locally as well as nationally. Jason also works at Scottsdale Bible Church as a Worship Pastor for Soma Young Adults and for High School Ministry. Having grown up in Scottsdale from a very young age, I really love living and raising my own children in Scottsdale. I love getting out in the city and I’m always looking for new things to do! I am passionate about being a mom and empowering women to find what they are passionate about and to live it out. I am inspired daily by women who are hard workers, who love their family and who remain true to who they are.