Mom first.

Last week I answered very breifly about ground rules I'm putting in place to keep better balance. Here is the more in depth answer. The first thing I had to do was realize that what I was doing was not really working. What is it they always say? The hardest step is admitting you have a problem. I was staying up till often past 5 am, back up at 7 when the kids woke up and then trying to work through naps but I never actually stopped when they woke up. Our weekly trip to the zoo or children's museum or something or other got put on hold for one week, then two and then 2 months. One day I realized I was thinking like a business owner BEFORE I was thinking like a mom and thats when I realized I'd let my priorities get messed up.
I have to stress though that it's also important to realize that owning a business does take a lot of time! The main things that take up my time are cleaning, photography and the kids. Well I would rather go without the cleaning so I am. That simple. I have someone come in every week and do the cleaning, this has dramatically (seriously thats not even a big enough word) reduced my stress! Before if I wasn't working I felt like I should be cleaning and while I was cleaning I was feeling guilty for not playing with the kids. It was a vicious cycle and as long as I was trying to do it all I just couldn't win. I know some would say to learn that you have to learn to live with the mess but I just can't. So giving up some of the responsibility was huge for me. I gave myself permission to let someone else take over where I couldn't finish and as soon as I did color resumed in my cheeks, cloud turned into pink cotton candy and birds returned singing there gay little songs. Well maybe not the last part.
Next - a whole new pricing strategy. I'm not looking to be a discount chain where it's all about getting as many clients as you can. I don't need tons of clients and further more, I don't want them. I need a few great clients, thats it. So instead of booking several a week and trying to be mom and wife and house cleaner... And eventually feeling over used and under appreciated. blah. blah. blah. I doubled my prices to start and now will only take 1.25 clients a week. I know that sounds weird but I plan to take between 4 to 6 sessions a month. Thats it! Mom first. Photographer second.
With a few checks and balances in place I'm reevaluating my strategies. My main goal is to create an even better custom experience for each of my clients. Because I'm booking so few, I want to make sure that they will be dying to tell their friends how great I am. Quality not quantity.
The truth is - I love running a business again! I didn't even know something was missing but when I started this venture I felt this confidence rejuvenate inside me. My creativity was finally being given an outlet and what's more I was accomplishing something that was entirely my own! In the last few years my accomplishments were always their accomplishments; the baby is potty trained, the hubby is in med school, the daughter is reading. All fantastic and very much thanks to my hard work and yet not really mine at all. Now I have something that is all my own and I guess thats part of the problem. I don't always know when to turn it off. If I'm being totally honest - even now I struggle. It's 5:45 am and I still have not slept. (So if I started loosing you, now you know why!) I had gotten into bed... My husband and I were talking about how to go about creating something new for my business... he gave me an inspiration... I had to go try... 6 hours later... ummmm. more inspiration came?!
It's something that I will constantly have to reevaluate. I want to be a great photographer, I want to have a successful business, but not at the expense of my family.

Mom first. Photographer second.
Remind me.


  1. Loved reading this. Your sincere words inspired by all your experiences, hard work, frustrations, dedication and successes, will no doubt help so many people out in their own photography/business adventures. :)

  2. Allow me to be Carrie's echo and tell you that I enjoyed reading your sincere words too. Your dedication to both your family and passion for photography, I get that and can relate to the awake through the night, thinking and dreaming about photography. And how the true reward is in having family be in that first slot though. I'll raise my glass to that.

  3. Silly as it may seem this is my favorite article you have written. It always makes me feel better to read this. Being pregnant again, my photography has been WAAY on the back burner as I have not felt well and chasing a 15 month old while nauseous and dizzy is no small feat. Not to mention a 15 month old catching the stomach flu and sharing its, uhm "contents" with me (aka all over me) the past 3 days. Having great clients I think means also having understanding clients. When I booked up my April back in January I had no idea I'd be pregnant or that the stomach flu would ravage my family. My clients have all been very understanding of these delays and I feel I am a very lucky girl. Wife & mother 1st, photographer 2nd. Love you Leah. How is your balance still working for you? I'd love an update. It inspires me as a mother/wife of a student/aspiring photographer.