I’ve always considered myself a stay-at-home mom. I don’t have a full-time job outside our home, and my kids are almost always with me. But it recently occurred to me that I’ve never really been a stay-at-home mom. Sure, I stay at home with my three kids most of the time, but I also run my own business. Calling myself a “work-from-home mom” is new and different, and it has raised a question in my mind: how will I know if I need to quit?
I love what I do. I’m a photographer and graphic designer, and working with clients to create something unique and beautiful is immensely gratifying. I enjoy getting to know new people and working with old friends. I love seeing myself improve and develop as an artist.
Being a mom is a job I love, too. It’s my full-time gig, you might say. I don’t want my business to disrupt my family. What I do as a mom will outlast anything I could create as a photographer. Even more important than my role as a mom is my role as a wife. I want to be the best companion and helpmate I can to my husband. I want our marriage to be strong, and that requires my time and energy.
My husband and kids come first for me but I also know that being a photographer and a designer energizes me and helps me thrive. My job gives me the opportunity to brainstorm, create, troubleshoot, and produce something beautiful. It’s refreshing to know that I was able to give my clients lasting memories of their wedding, or photograph their growing family, or produce a catalog to meet their company’s need. Working also gives my husband and I opportunities to be together. He often accompanies me on shoots, and it has been so fun to learn and grow creatively together.
How do I find and maintain the balance between work and family? It has become more challenging with each baby. We now have three kids, 4 and under. My business has slowed down a great deal since having children. Finding or making time to work is difficult but not impossible. It involves sacrificing my free time, saying “no” to other commitments, and relying on my husband and other family members to take care of our kids. Is it selfish for me to keep working? Or is it healthy to continue pursuing work that fulfills my creative side?
I haven’t come up with definitive answers. For now, I want to keep working. I also want to mentally prepare to slow down more, or even stop completely. That time may never come, but I want to be open to wherever God is leading our family. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I love with the help of people I love.