Living in Southern California is expensive, and living in Orange County is no exception. I have been fortunate to stay home with my children for the past 5 years. It didn’t come without sacrifice though. I also took a part-time job as a waitress to offset some of our bills. It was a good fit since I love being around people and it allowed me to be home with my kids during the day. But when I broke my ankle and had ligament replacement surgery it kinda made it painful to waitress for 6 hours at night. And to be quite honest… I felt too old to be serving now, my body would ache after a long shift towards the end there.
I have been a working photographer for 7 years now, never enough that I would say my primary income came from it, but its always been there. I recently made the switch in January from commercial work to families and children. It’s been a great change and it feels like I finally found my niche, and I’m really good at it since I’m so good with kids. The thing is, due to finances I had to make a very pivotal decision, we knew we couldn’t afford all our bills on one salary. We also knew that waitressing wasn’t an option for me anymore. So the question really became, find a job or accelerate my 5 year plan? What is my 5 year plan you ask? Well for me, I wanted to slowly work on my career as a photographer for 5 years, so that when little C started kindergarten, I would open a studio and have my open hours be when he was in school.
When researching jobs I realized the problem I had before I had little C, no one really hires part-timers anymore, and no boss is going to give me the flexability I need. What if there is an amazing playdate I want to take little C to? There’s no way an employer would be okay with that. What about t-ball practice? Parent-teacher conferences? I just didn’t want to sacrifice this time with little C. But my family needed more income.
My husband and I decided to take a leap of faith and open my studio 2 years ahead of schedule. It’s been by far one the hardest and scariest things I’ve done. One of the main things that’s been difficult is that even though I can take my child to work with me, I’m still working and not paying 100% attention to him. I have put him in preschool 2 days a week which has been great for everyone since he is mr. personality and loves it. But it’s really hard to get a business running successfully in the first few months on 2 days a week. It’s a really tough decision to go back to work. I don’t know how the women do it after 6 weeks. Little C is almost 4 and I get that “guilty” feeling if he’s watched more than one movie at the studio with me. It’s such a hard balance working mothers have to live. I know I’m extremely lucky that I can take little C with me, or decide to take him to Disneyland for the day, but don’t be fooled, even flexible jobs are still work.
I stll have a hard time saying it out loud…
I am a working mom.