Office Hours for the WAHM. They are a struggle, I feel like, for all of us. Do we set them? Do we not? How do we decide on hours? What if we miss an opportunity because someone else didn’t have office hours? What if our Type A, Green, has-to-be-efficent personality struggles to let emails sit in their inbox? I am an efficient person. I hate waiting for things. I have no patience, and I try my hardest to return that expectation of promptness to my clients and future clients.
I have been almost every variety of working mom:
- I have worked part-time (three, 8 hour days) at a corporation as a Health Coach. My job was an hour away and while I was lucky enough to have a super flexible boss and company to work for, it still had it’s challenges, like all forms of motherhood do. I did this for almost the first full year of my daughters life. I also started my photography business when she was just three months old. While all of this was going on, I had an Etsy shop that was blowing up with crocheted boot cuff orders (entrepreneur at heart, here).
- I have worked part-time at home for a corporation. We moved to NC and that corporation kept me on as a Health Coach, 10-15 hours a week. I was able to work while the girls were sleeping and kept up this gig for about three years. Meanwhile, I also had a photography business growing and sprouting and amazing clients referring me to their friends which allowed things to take off quite quickly.
- I have worked part-time at home as a self-employed business owner. For me, this has been the hardest of them all. Being an entrepreneur, there is very likely only one of you wearing all of the hats. And, if you’re like me, with that Type A, Green, has-to-be-efficient personality, it’s REALLY hard to find a balance between work and home life.
I have toyed with the idea of setting business hours for the last couple of years. Besides, I created this business so that I could not only do something that I loved, but so that I could help support my family not only financially, but emotionally. To be there when they needed me, to watch them grow, to spend quality time with them.
When you’re a mama to two toddlers (although, does 5 years old count as a toddler anymore- probably not. Which is so sad!), but at one point, I was, and no matter the ages, being a mama is hard. Mix into that running a business on your own and taking care of the house and husband (I really just do his laundry, he’s pretty self-sufficient!) and you’re just about running on empty and/or someone isn’t getting the attention they deserve.
For me, and this is hard to admit, I find that it’s my family that doesn’t always get the attention I want to give them, namely my kiddos. My oldest is at an age where she rarely naps, and it breaks my heart to make her have a few hours of quiet time so that I can get work done.
Constantly feeling like your plugged in, isn’t a good feeling. You’ve seen all of these “tech free Sundays” and things that people are doing. It’s a necessary thing to take a break. For me, it has to be all or nothing- if I’m going to have the day off, I need to have the day off. So, saying I will answer emails daily between X time and X time, doesn’t work. Like I said… efficient. I cannot let something sit in my inbox until a certain time. That means I am constantly distracted and plugged into work.
So, I have decided to take off on Tuesdays and Fridays. These are not typically days that I shoot, and they are days my littlest is home all day with me. With another babe on the way, I know I’ve got to get things more streamlined and figure out a better balance between running a successful business and having the family life I want to give my kids.
To my clients and future clients, thank you for understanding!! I will be setting up emails so automatic responses go out letting you know when I will return. If an inquiry comes through, an automatic email will be sent with a client guide and pricing until I can get in touch personally.