Before I became a mom, I was unsure of how I would feel about my work as a photographer and business owner after having a child.
Would I want to work? And if I did, would I want to work less? Would I be able to work the same amount I had been even if I wanted to?
The reason this post is difficult for me to write is that I am still working out the answers to these questions.
Some things I know for certain. It’s the details that are still unclear.
I know that I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. When I am home all day with my daughter, I struggle to maintain perspective and am easily frustrated by the little things. It’s really hard work. I have a lot of respect for people who care for children, especially toddlers. It’s the most demanding job I can think of. You don’t get any breaks.
I know I want to work. I love the challenges of running my own business. I am passionate about the work I do. I truly believe I was made to be an artist, and when I’m creating images that tell stories I feel like I am living my purpose. I want to work, even if it means struggling with the logistics during these years when my daughter is too young to go to school.
Childcare is a constant struggle. In the San Francisco Bay Area, finding the right childcare is a real challenge. Daycares have long waiting lists. It would be easier to find a full-time nanny, but my daughter loves other kids and daycare is great for her. But dropping her off and picking her up, in traffic, can be difficult. My husband does this and I am so thankful for that. She goes 2 days a week, so I have to make the most of those days. It truly takes a village — I often need more than 2 days of childcare each week, and I rely heavily on my mother-in-law. I am already anxious about preschool. Some of my friends have actually camped out overnight to get a spot at their preschool of choice. It’s dizzying.
Just because it’s a struggle doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. For me, working gives me the perspective I know I need on motherhood. It makes me more grateful when I’m with my daughter. It keeps me grounded on what I need to let go of and what I need to embrace. For example, when I’m at home with her, I get hyper-focused on her sleep. I get anxious and frustrated if she isn’t sleeping long enough or well enough. But at the end of the day, she’s always fine, whether she takes a long nap or a short nap or no nap. She sleeps through the night like a champ. So when she’s at daycare or at grandma’s house, I let it go, and I find that I’m better for it.
Lastly, I never want to take for granted that I am in a privileged position. Many moms don’t have a choice. Either they have to work, financially, or they have to stay home. I’m grateful that I have a choice. I know not everyone does.
I try to remember that on days where I get frustrated or tired. I feel those things a lot. I still feel a lot of anxiety at times where I feel like I’m trying to juggle too many things. There are days where I wish I wasn’t my own boss and that I could just call in sick to everything.
But it’s worth it. That’s the theme of motherhood for me. It’s worth it all to have her in my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
If you’d like to read more real talk from real moms – this post is in collaboration with some other amazing entrepreneurial moms I’m amazed to call my friends.
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