I've decided to write a personal post that isn't really about photography at all, but about how I find life having a very active 2 year old and a fairly busy small business, working from home. Many of you working mums out there may relate to this... here goes..
Life is CRAZY. From juggling shoots & editing with being a full time mum to a 2 year old boy, I often think I must be mad and sometimes wonder whether I should be running a business at all. My living room is my office and I only have regular childcare on Wednesday mornings. Daniel is a like a mini Bear Grills, the most adventurous child in the world and if I happen to be working at my computer you can bet your last pound that when I look up he'll be walking along the windowsill or standing on the TV unit. Obviously these days are not for working so I have to pack up, put it all on hold until the evening when the hubby gets home, and be 100% mum. When this happens my editing usually starts at 6pm and continues to past midnight.. yep I'm knackered! But to be fair most photographers are in a very similar position.
(Pic below taken with an iPhone as most on this post will be - I don't get the time to pick up my actual camera where this monkey is concerned, unless I plan it!)
Thank god for Cbeebies that's all I can say.. sometimes I feel like I'm a bad mum for having it on from breakfast to bedtime but it's a life saver.. I really don't think my business would have survived the first year without it! Don't get me wrong, we don't spend every day inside infront of the tele but when I have a big project to edit CBeebies has my back.. that and a packet of rice crackers, some strawberries and some toast gives me a small time frame of peace and quiet. If I'm particularly desperate the quavers or milky way bars come out... the dentist is going to hate me..
This morning I had to put my computer & diary away because the little stinker decided he was going to do my admin and made every attempt to do my typing for me... needless to say a Mac Book pro isn't the same as a leap pad so I had to nip that in the bud asap. I took a biro off him as he decided to draw all over a week in May in my diary, only to be met with death stares like I'm the worst mother in the world followed by a tantrum of throwing his head on the floor. I gave him his own paper and pen - not interested, gave him an old laptop... not interested.. he just wants MINE! It's the same with food - I lovingly prepare breakfast for him - a weetabix, banana and piece of toast.. he leaves his toast but wants mine, even though it's EXACTLY THE SAME!!
There are not enough hours in the day and my house is a mess.. I have to choose between feeding him (just kidding), looking after him and providing stimulating play, work or tidying the house. Needless to say the tidying comes last and I only actually do it before I expect people round for a shoot. Luckily I've been busy lately so the house has been relatively good.. the washing / ironing however is a thorn in my side and just keeps growing, only to be shoved in a bedroom with the door firmly shut whenever I'm expecting people round! Note to self.... find someone to iron for us!
This brings me on to guilt.. omg there is so much guilt going on, and I'm pretty sure it's not just me.. guilt for having to work and leaving Daniel to play by himself, guilt for not having a tidy house and not getting dinner prepared, guilt for a full ironing basket, guilt because perhaps we don't go out enough, guilt for working evenings whilst husband is left to himself, guilt for only bringing in part time money, guilt for enjoying my photography and work so much that it brings a welcome break from parenting and family life. So MUCH GUILT.. it's exhausting, no wonder us mums look forward to a glass of prosecco whilst Tom Hardy reads the CBeebies' bedtime story so much!
We are having a much needed conservatory built this summer and the lounge will be converted to an adult only cinema room by night and a studio by day, which I cannot wait for.. it will make such a difference and I intend on it always being tidy and spotless (no toys allowed!!).
Other than the guilt and not having enough time I kind of love my crazy life. A very different kind of crazy to what it used to be but it's really cool watching your baby grow and develop, he's like me though - can come out of a tantrum as quickly as he went into one, there are no grudges to bear and he moves on quickly, often trying to put a basket on my head!
To all you mums out there, whether you are in paid employment, work for yourself or a full time mummy at home - yes life is crazy, sometimes lonely and often you feel you are barely holding it together. Stay strong, teach them how to load the washing machine, have a sense of humour and remember there's always Tom Hardy xxx