Monday, October 19, 2015

thoughts on being a working-mama (of two!)


Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about my thoughts on being a working mom. Cooper was just over 6 months old and wedding season was winding down. I was feeling on top of the world (maybe a little bit tired...) after tackling my busy season with a baby and coming out the other side alive. 

Well fast forward two months and...surprise! I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2. And I was due in August, a month where I had already booked 5 weddings. Although I was a little nervous about how the Summer would play out, I was calm in knowing somehow I'd end up on the other side alive (again, but probably super duper tired this time). 

I think it's only fitting now that my last wedding of the year has come and gone, to reflect on life as a working mama of two :)



SHOOTING WHILE PREGNANT

I had done it before, but only really once during my pregnancy with Cooper. This time around, however, I shot 5 weddings in 2 months and I was wayyyy pregnant. Even though the days were hot, it was easier than I thought.

I packed tons of snacks and water for each wedding to keep myself fuelled. But I think the real secret was that I was taking barre classes ever since I was 12 weeks along. I felt stronger and more fit than I did before I was pregnant. 



HOW IT ALL PLAYED OUT

A few dates for you:

I shot my last wedding pre-baby on July 18th, at 37 weeks. 
I went into labour only 10 days later on July 28th, at 38 weeks. 
I shot my first wedding post-baby on August 22nd. 

I then proceeded to shoot 8 weddings in 8 weeks, all the way up until Thanksgiving weekend. In order to maintain my sanity and not burn out, I decided not to take on any bookings on the weekdays between those weddings. There were 1 or 2 exceptions to that rule, like a couple who could only do their engagement session on a specific day when they were in Ottawa, or a styled shoot with a big team of people, but in general, I was free to focus on my weddings and nothing else. 



WORKFLOW

One of the things that I feel sets me apart as a photographer is my insanely quick turnaround time. After my own wedding in 2012, I realized how hard it is to wait for photos after an event. My photographer, Lauren, delivered my photos less than 2 weeks after my wedding, and I vowed to give my clients the same treatment. Waiting those 2 weeks was hard enough, I have no idea how people wait longer!

It was important to me that I kept that turnaround time low even though I had a newborn and a toddler at home keeping me busy. Mentally, I felt freed up to photograph a gorgeous wedding and get home and edit it right away. I knew the feeling of having 2 or 3 weddings in queue would only put weight on my shoulders.

In order to set myself up for success, I downloaded all of the wedding photos from my cards to my computer overnight on the weekend, so that by Monday morning I could sit down at my desk and get to work right away. There's nothing more annoying than waiting for cards to export during a precious hour when both babies are napping and real work could be getting done. 

Even though I had this goal of getting every wedding edited before the next, I promised not to beat myself up if I didn't make it. If I strived to wrap everything up on Friday but ended up doing it Monday instead, it was still better than not hustling at all.  



ROUTINE

Getting into a routine takes time. It took time after Cooper, and it's still a work in progress with Jillian. But one thing that really puts me on the right track is getting out of the house 3 mornings a week for a barre class. 

It's my way of starting the day off with some me-time, and energizing myself for the afternoon. Just the act of getting up and out (and let's face it, being forced to change out of my pjs), makes me feel like I am part of the real world. 



SURVIVAL

So far, this might all sound fine and dandy, but in reality there are days where absolutely no work gets done. There are days where I don't find time to shower, there are days where it takes all I have just to answer a simple email. 


My advice? If the day is getting away from you, strip away any and all expectations that you've put on yourself, and plan to simply survive. That wedding doesn't need to be fully culled by noon, and it's okay if Cooper's wearing yesterday's shirt with peanut butter on it. It's just okay. 



INSPIRATION

Managing work is one thing, but keeping the fire alive and finding inspiration through it all is tough work. I kept myself fired up by working on creative projects like a styled shoot that I still have yet to reveal, and even a few small crafty projects around the house. 

Inspiration can't be forced, and there are days when I can't imagine taking another wedding photo that will get my excited. But then Saturday comes again and I get to work with an amazing couple with beautiful moments to capture, and I'm hooked all over again. 

My best tip would be to take advantage of those days when inspiration has struck. Write a BUNCH of blog posts, edit a million photos, and work your butt off while you can because you never know when it'll hit next.   


(photos in this post by Kymberlie Dozois)

2 comments:

  1. Why do you say real work? Is not being a mother and caring for your children real work?

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    1. oh for sure! getting two kids to sleep is definitely the hardest part, but when I say "real work," I simply mean my job, which during the wedding season, is a wedding photographer :)

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