On being a work at home mom: Staying in control.

I was recently asked if I would be willing to speak at the annual Pursuit 31 Conference on a Work at Home Mom panel. I was so honored to be asked, and am thrilled about the opportunity. As you know, I love sharing my heart with other women! When I saw this on the registration form:

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I have to admit, it took me back for a second when I saw it, because my automatic thought was – I’m not a working mom! Weird, right? Because clearly I am! But I knew from the minute I found out I was pregnant that I wanted to be a stay at home mom! And so I have always thought of myself as that. I do stay at home with my kids, but I can sometimes forget that I am a working mom now.

I somehow took on running a not for profit, running a photography business, and blogging every day right along side of homeschooling my kids, serving in many ministries in church and trying to maintain every other aspect of life as well! It can definitely be a challenge, and it is something that definitely needs to be thought out and planned.

See..that is where I struggle. Planning things. Ugh…I do love when things are organized and planned but I admit that I have a hard time getting there! I know that there are a lot of work at home moms that read this, and I wanted to just challenge you to make sure that you are purposefully planning your days and your life. Here are few tips:

1. Keep your computer at a desk.

Seems obvious, right? But my problem was that I was doing all my work on my laptop. My laptop could go anywhere with me. So we were having a family movie night? No problem…I will just do a little editing on the couch while we watch. The kids are in bed and Adam and I actually have a few minutes to ourselves? No problem again! We can talk while I sit in bed with my computer on my lap and finish up this blog post. The problem became that I was bringing my work everywhere with me. It was not a good idea. At all. So when I bought a new computer that was a desktop (once you go mac, you never go back) I couldn’t believe the difference it made! My work was done at my desk. And when it was family movie time? Or alone time with Adam? I didn’t need to bring my work with me.

2. Log your hours.

I am just now, after 5 years, starting to do this. The hard part about working from home is that you can “just” email a few people real quick. “Just” edit a few pictures. “Just work on your website to fix one thing”…and before you know it? Hours have gone by. I can not believe how fast an hour can go by!  Logging your hours puts things into perspective. If I am not willing to take a job that has me working 60 hours a week outside my home, why would it be ok to take a job that has me working 60 hours inside my home? Either way, I am unavailable to my kids, and my thoughts are being taken up with my work. Logging your hours also keeps you focused. Categorize what you are doing:

*Editing

*Blogging

*NFP Website

*Business Website

*Client Emails

Here’s the thing. If I know I am timing myself? I won’t “check Facebook real quick”. And please notice, Facebook is not one of my categories! It is pretty interesting to see how your day is being spent and definitely helps you see if you should be taking more business, if you should start outsourcing things, or hire an assistant!

3. Don’t be afraid to say no.

There has to be boundaries. I think something that is hard to remember, is that I work for myself. Because of that, I get to choose my schedule and decide what works for me and my family. I decided at the beginning, that I would not work on Sunday mornings. I have had to turn down weddings, and sessions because of it, but I made the decision and I am sticking to it. Because I need to stay in control. Turning down a session because it is just not going to work is ok. Give yourself permission to do that, and remind yourself of what is important. I have huge pictures of my boys right above my computer. I am reminded every time I glance at them, that my family is my priority. My marriage, my kids, my family. When I am overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted…I am not doing my family any favors.

4. Remember what you want to be known for.

Maybe you want to be known for being the most amazing photographer ever. Maybe you want to have them most likes on your page, the most sessions in a week, the most followers on instagram. Fine.

I don’t.

I don’t want to be remembered for my photography. I love photography. I love every single thing about it. But I love my family a million times more. And I love the thought of doing things, and being known for things that have eternal value a million times more also. Pictures are amazing. They make me happy looking at them, and they last for a very long time. But at the end of the day, if someone remembers me for my photography, and doesn’t remember me for being someone that showed them Jesus? Every picture I ever take would be in vain. Eternity is longer than just a lifetime of pictures and memories.

I do want to spend time perfecting my art. I do want to work on making my website look beautiful, and making my images better and better. But I do not want to spend so much time on something that is so small in comparison to what life is all about. If I become famous for my photography, and everyone knows who Rachelle Chase is because of an image that I took with my camera, I would feel like I missed the mark. I want people to know who Rachelle Chase is because of the fact that when they see her, they see what a true follower of Christ looks like. And that is what I want to invest most of my time into. Not all, but most.

Recently, I decided that I was not going to put any time into marketing or pushing my business. I knew that ultimately, God was in control, and if He wanted me to have business, I would have business. For the next 2 weeks, I had between 2 and 5 inquiries every single day. Why? Not because of anything I did. But because God was showing me that He is in control, and He can give me everything I need.

Remember. God is in control of your life. And He has allowed you to be in control of your business.

Make sure you are taking the control.

It’s your life. It’s your business. Make it count for eternity.

 

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