Coffee Cup Chats | The Unbalancing Act (Part One)...

Coffee Cup Chats is a weekly column where we all meet up, morning java in hand, to tackle some of the issues artistpreneurs deal with daily. It's a place for sharing stories, learning, and laughing at ourselves. Today, I'm answering a question from a reader about motherhood and business running wherin I admit to a dirty dishes situation that will probably make you squirm...

"I would love if you could do a post or series on being a new mom and balancing working as hard as you do. It's very inspiring!" -Anonymous on my Formspring

Well my dear anonymous friend, I was thinking about your request and the one thing that kept coming into my mind was, "Ha! Balance. There's no way I can write anything about this because I don't have any." And I had pretty much talked myself out of this topic completely believing that since I, by no means, have it figured out, I had no right to talk about it.

Then I was reading some of my notes from the mentor session I did a few years ago with Danielle LaPorte. One of the things that struck me the most about her was that she so bodily and brazenly told me that there is no balance. That you do and you go and you love and you try and you live. And just hearing someone tell me that I didn't HAVE to be balanced was such a huge relief. So today I figured I'd pass that little nugget onto you... balance is a myth.

I have always been a bit of a work-a-holic in regards to my passions. So much so that it has gotten me into arguments with my husband (re: "Can you put the computer down for just one minute?!"). I am constantly trying to strive to be better, to refine, to excel, to grow. And while all of those things are good, it's not necessarily good that I do it at the detriment of my relationships or health. I can't help it, when my brain kicks in, it locks focus like a sniper. I'm in the zone. And to break out of it is difficult.

Having a baby has done nothing but exacerbate the situation. Where I could wake up and sit in front of my computer for hours on end cranking out idea after idea and managing client after client, now I my schedule is at the mercy of an infant. To say that it has been an adjustment would be the understatement of the decade. But somehow I've managed to keep up with all our photography work and clients, set up an entirely new system for handling images for the vendors we frequently work with, create an entirely new pricing system and media kit pdf for it, re-do all the galleries and copy on our website, put together a presentation for a public speaking gig, blog here and on our photography blog, maintain three facebook accounts, a twitter account, and an instagram feed, and that's not even touching on the actual time I spend with a camera in hand, shooting.

At the same time, I haven't done my own laundry (other than underwear and some basics) in about 3 weeks so I live in the same leggins and pj pants practically every day until I have to go outside when I stare into the abyss that is my closet and then eventually settle on the same maxi dress I've worn the last five times I had to leave the house. ;) The only dishes that really get washed with any regularity are baby bottles. Our sink is full of coffee cups and silverware and the dishwasher has yet to be unloaded from Easter Sunday (just keeping it real folks). And I've mastered the art of the 3 minute makeup face: sunscreen lotion, powder, eyeliner, mascara, lipgloss.

I say all that to let you know that the balance is that there is none. It's constantly up and down, a give and take, it's treading water sometimes (most times) and other times it's wishing there was more to do. It's gifts being perfect, but late. It's wearing the same dress all the time. It's hair in a bun. It's chipotle for lunch because you can order it from an iPhone. It's not going to the grocery store until you run out of coffee supplies because that's when I draw the line. It's emails while the baby sleeps. It's editing after he's gone to bed. And it's trying to cash in on the times when there is help around to give me uninterrupted productive time.

So that's where I'm at now. It may not have been the answer you were looking for. But it's honest. If you're a new mom and you're struggling just know that we all are struggling. There's no one that has it all together and if they do, I'm convinced that it's because they have a full time nanny! ;)

the bubs and me

Do you have any tips about being a working mom? Does anything above resonate with you? Are you in yoga pants right now too???

8 Said Something:

  1. totally in yoga pants, and i'm not a what is that saying? ha.

  2. I. LOVE. YOU. I think you are totally rocking it OUT being a mom and running the business!!! I honestly have NO idea how I would be able to do it- because all of your stuff about no clothes, dishes in the sink, etc... that's me and I don't have an infant.......eek!!

  3. The joke in our house, is getting in the shower and out of your jammies before noon. No excuse either as all the kids are grown and gone. I get on the computer in the morning to start working, email, twitter, facebook, blogging comments. Then I usually go walk the dogs or something. So ya, noon is about it. My husband said one day, "Somedays, there just isn't a reason to get dressed."

  4. I do the laundry when I run out of underwear. And really, I should be smart and just buy more freaking underwear already so I can further delay laundry day.

    Having our little dude around means far fewer freelance hours billed. I know I'm "eating" some work I'm doing because it will take me 45 minutes to write an email that would usually take me about ten...and frankly, I'm not going to bill my customers for 45 minutes. I am actually looking into getting a part-time nanny. For us, that's worth it because I would be able to get far more work done and thus, make more money. I know I'm terrible at multitasking, so it's worth it to have little guy distracted and happy so that I can focus on producing better quality work. Becka, it might be worth getting a baby-sitter to come to your house a few days a week.

  5. I'm not a working mom, but I have 5 kids under 7, I volunteer 5-10 hrs a week, and I consider myself pretty busy.

    I'm totally wearing yoga pants right now (the same ones I've been wearing for days). At about kid 3, my pajamas and daily wear morphed into one.

    I don't have the luxury of skipping a day of laundry (have to do 3 loads every day just to keep up), but I do have the luxury of my husband making more than enough to support us, and I don't feel that making money is a requirement to being creative.

    I think the ticket is, just keep chipping away at whatever it is you want to do. You have to reset your expectations of how long things are going to take, but if you do a little bit whenever you get the chance, you'll eventually get there.

  6. i'm totally in yoga pants. but i just did yoga since it's nap time so that makes it a little better, right? right! :) from what i can see on my end, you are rocking it! thanks for the encouragement. this work at home mom totally needed it ;) oh, and it does get better. not easier, but better.

  7. Love your honesty. It's such a relief to hear real speak on a blog that makes you feel good about how you are and not like you should be able to do more or do what you're doing better. Totally keeping it real. Thank-you.
    PS. Like Lauren, your words described me quite well too - minus the tiddlypeep.

  8. Okay, I am not a mom...but this is how I am/feel. Thank you for writing this and making me feel sane for being unbalanced. I appreciate you!


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