As a mompreneur of a two year old, today’s post sings to me and is really coming at such an appropriate time. I think it will for all of you working mamas out there, too. It’s far too easy to get caught up in thinking we need to do it all, we need to find the perfect balance between our work and ‘life’, and if we don’t, too often we feel failure for not getting it exactly right. You know, the kind of ‘right’ that we’ve told ourselves is success, when the truth is, we’ve already made it and we’re already doing an incredible job.
Today, freelance photographer, Lauren Pressey is sharing her take on work-life balance, what it means to her and a few tips she recommends for embracing your own work-life ‘balance’. Lauren captures interiors and the lovely people who inhabit them and she’s a Mom to two beautiful kiddos. Not only are we wildly impressed by the talented business that she has grown, but furthermore, how wisely she approaches motherhood and infusing a positive intention toward her life beyond her career.
From Lauren Pressey… If I were to see this title, it would certainly intrigue me. I’ve always found the daily routines of the working mom to be fascinating. It’s definitely something that in the past 11 years as a mom I’ve tried to perfect. The short answer I’ve reached is that it will, in fact, never be perfect. Unlike photography, where I can tweak every detail to portray the perfect setting, working and being a mom is a constant juggling act and the day I realized I was never going to figure out how to balance it all was, to my surprise, the day I think I finally figured it out.
Embracing the Chaos
Kids and career were always part of the plan. After graduating from college with a degree in photography, I met and married my husband within the same year and my son was born just shy of two years later. Within five months, I was pregnant with my second and all the while still working and planning out my photography business. It was chaos. And quite honestly, likely the reason I don’t have more kids.
I remember it being a few years until I really settled in with the title of ‘mom’. I felt like a kid myself, after all. I also felt like things were moving very quickly and one big question loomed over me. How was I going to do all of this, and do it well? You know that feeling when all the laundry is put away and you’re on top of your game? How about when you start doing laundry again and realize that the satisfaction you felt just a short while ago came and went way too quickly? That’s how I used to feel about both work and childrearing – Never satisfied that any of my to dos would actually get checked off my list (whether it be a business goal or an experience for my kids).
A decade of to dos later, I’m finally starting to appreciate their significance and understand that the the goal is not to check them all off, but to take small steps towards your dreams every day, in both business and in life. For me, that’s a big part of embracing the chaos. The more content I feel about the list, the more I enjoy the journey and the happier and more successful everyone in my little family is.
Being an Example
As parents, we all know our most important purpose is to provide a safe and loving environment where our kids can develop into successful adults. Sharing the love I have for my job has also proved to be one of the greatest gifts I could give my kids. ‘My mom is a photographer’. It’s something I’ve heard them say frequently to their friends and I can tell they get a kick out of it (and I still get a kick out of hearing it!). They’re excited to discover new passions that might lead to careers and aren’t afraid to work for it. Although they’re definitely still afraid of cleaning their rooms.
Doing Away with Guilt
One thing I’ve only recently begun to embrace is the importance of boundaries and good old fashioned rest. And I wouldn’t be much good at either of those if I hadn’t done away with guilt. In the beginning, dividing my time between work and family was never done without it. If I was at the computer all day because I was behind on a deadline, and quality time with my kids suffered, I felt guilty. If I was enjoying a beach day with the kids, but knew I had editing to finish up, I felt guilty. What’s simply taken time and a little experience to understand, is that guilt is as productive as worry. Nothing good can come of it and it only weakened my ability to enjoy both work and my family. Now when it’s time to work, I give it my all and when it’s time to rest, I’m much better at matching that enthusiasm.
So here I am… 35 with two kids that are going into middle school soon (gasp) and I’m working the same gig I had dreams of working when I was 10. I still have a lot of work and a lot of kid raising ahead of me but I’m happy to report that I love this crazy life with it’s endless tasks and to dos (In fact, I think one of my favorite past times is making lists) With guilt behind me, I truly feel like anything I set my mind to is possible and what could be better than enjoying the adventure getting there.
Connect with Lauren here to see her incredible work and learn more about her offerings!