Okay, this is going to be a woe-is-me, wah-wah-wah post.

This is my problem. I'm tired, I'm exhausted, and I'm sick and I don't know how other work at home mom's do it. I really don't. There has gotta be a secret.

I've been soooo busy that I seriously have hardly had time to breath. But I haven't been staying up till the wee hours of the night, either, because I can't. I have been falling asleep at my computer. So I've been going to bed about 11 or 11:30 which is really early for me. I'm tired. So tired. And I think it's affecting me. But I have no other option than to work my buns off. But I'm sick now. . . maybe because of this, I don't know? So much pressure is on me right now to get all these holiday orders done, and ALL BY MYSELF. Ugh.

I just feel like (for lack of a better word) crap. Mom thinks I'm working too much and need to hire someone. Yeah, I do, but not this late in the game. I'd have to change how I do my business and taxes and I just don't feel like dealing with that now at the end of the year. Heather came to help me out for a couple hours last night --- for free --- and we got tons done (she is such a quick learner and a good friend; I'm lucky to have her).

I really don't know how other work-at-home moms do it. Like, I'm sooooo thankful that I get to stay at home with the job that I have and that it means I get to spend so much time with my kids. I would not change that for the world. I know how blessed I am and I count my blessings, believe me. However, that doesn't mean it isn't hard.

The hardest thing for me is keeping my work and home separate . . . physically and mentally. My mediums (photographs -- disks, files, computers, some negatives still, cameras, lenses, memory cards) are so fragile. It's very hard to keep my kids out of my office. They're very good about not touching my computer and cameras, but I know accidents can happen.

One of the hardest things is fitting in time to do my work. It's hard for me to start a project and then tend to a beckon call because the work I do is so tedious. It's art and it takes a lot of concentration for me to work in Photoshop on a picture. I have to get into my graphic design frame-of-mind (and honestly, I love being in that world. It's fun for me.). It's really hard for me to go from one state-of-mind to the other back and forth, back and forth, constantly all day long. *I think that is what tires me the most.*

I yearn for an office out of my house. I yearn for those office hours that so many people get. My work time is not during daylight hours, but nighttime hours. I really begin my work around 5:30 or 6 every night and I work until 1 or 2 in the morning. But even that time until 9:00 is hit or miss because even when darling hubby is here, my kids still want me. And it's precious time taken away from my wonderful family who I want to spend time with.

Maia is very attached to her mama right now. She is such a mama's girl, which I love of course, but it means that she wants mommy to help her potty, mommy to get her a drink, mommy to hold her, mommy to read her a story, mommy to tuck her into bed, and so on. I won't not do those things. I'm always there when my kids need me. Always. Which again, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to mother them. I just want to be able to do my job right -- as a mother, wife and photographer -- and with a little less stress. Just a tiny bit less stress and burden. I really do. Really really do.

I very well could rent out an office space outside of my house, and we've talked about it many a times. But then I talk myself and Neil out of it saying "it's not going to be much longer and then the kids will be in school and I can work during the day". But secretly in my mind I wish I did have that office space right now. It doesn't make sense, though, to spend that money to rent a place when I am capable of doing it here . . . just not to the best of my ability, unfortunately. I definitely don't think I'm doing the best that I can work-wise. I have so much more in me.

I can't not work. I love it too much and I think photography is what keeps me going. It's my passion. It's what God created me to do, I know that. I just don't know how to do my work in the most sensible way without feeling all these burdens and without feeling so rushed and without feeling so cut off from the rest of the world. That's my other problem. Missing out on life.

I don't ever see happy fun weekends with my family. I'm either shooting a wedding or doing sittings because I can't very well do sittings during the week. If I'm not shooting, I'm proofing and getting orders ready and putting albums together. I seriously put my "40-hour weeks" in on the weekends. I don't see very many family moments and I secretly feel like I'm missing out on so much. But at the same time, I don't want a job away from home and I don't want my kids in day care. It's just a vicious thought pattern and cycle.

That said, I think I've made myself sick. I can't tell my clients no. I can't not do things my friends ask me to do for them. I can't not do things potential clients as me to do. And I don't not want to do it for them, either. I guess what I want is more time. Longer days. For time to stop so my kids don't grow up in a blink of an eye like I feel like they're doing. I don't want to miss out on time with my husband. I just don't want to regret anything. Is there a reasonable workable solution? Anyone know?

How do other photographers do it especially? I find myself lurking at their sites all the time, almost literally drooling over their work, knowing very well that I could do the same and have the same amazing clientele. I wonder how they do it . . . how they are able to keep up on blogs, their site, their work, conventions, their brochures, their specials, new tools of the trade, photography message boards, everything! . . . all so successfully and appear to still have time?! HOW DO THEY DO IT?!

I just need to take a breather. I think I need to sleep, actually. Both my kids are napping and I'm taking this as a Godsend. I need to rest my mind and my soul and start tonight fresh. I have tons I could do now, but this killer headache is going to keep me from doing any of it right. So I think I'll sleep.

wah-wah-wah-wah. Woe-is-me.


Erin said...

Oh, honey, I wish I was closer and could help you and could hug you. You sound so miserable right now and it sounds like you have every right to feel that way. It's a LOT to handle on your own. I think you do a very good job with everything even though it doesn't feel like it to you right now. It probably doesn't help that you're sick. That makes everything worse. Ten times.

I'll keep you in my prayers that you'll find the space in the day you need, the strength and health to keep up and that you and your family won't suffer. You and I, dear, we have the same problem...can't say no. Ever. (((HUGS))) Love you lots : )

jen said...

Im praying for you too sweetie
Im so pleased I didnt tag you this morning when I tagged Erin and others
you need to rest get better and I pray you will

Jennifer said...

My suggestion to you, remember this yr. for the next yr. and don't take on so much dear. Your kids will need you years to come and your be in poor health if you don't watch it....Breath..Praying for ya! We would normally PRAY for business maybe you should pray for less..heheh
Love ya girl. Hope you get to feeling better.

AND NO is not something that come easy for me either..but I'm getting a little better!

Michelle said...

I can so understand your dilema! While I love, love, love teaching, and know that's what I was meant to do careerwise, there was no way that I could do it and be a Mom the way I wanted to...something had to give! I wanted to be the best Mom I could be and the best teacher I could be and it was so hard and frustrating! I couldn't do both and do them the way I wanted to! I hear you on that!

I think working from home is so much more complicated than it sounds or may appear to be! And, I know that we are hard on ourselves, you are your own worst critic! But, you are an amazing Mom and an amazing artist--beyond doubt! Trust me when I say that!! You will get through this, you will. You are in my prayers. Love you! xoxo

Jen @ One Moms World said...

OHHHH... I think I could have written your post as a work at home mom. I just keep telling myself in 2.5 years Lyndsee will be in school. lol.

(((HUGS))) I'm there with ya. I'm lucky if I see the bed before 4am most nights.

QuietMom said...

Wow - this is my first visit to your blog but what a fabulous and vulnerable post. Hang in there!

Katie said...

It's hard to hear sometimes, but if you don't take care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else, either! So true, so true. But so hard, too! I feel for you and would suggest that, hard as it seems, a short but real break to get back into your head and set some priorities might help. I'm pulling for you, dear Valley! XOXO

Louise said...

Hugs to you girl!!
I am envious of you in the way that you know what you were created to do, what a great feeling that must be to know that God gave you this gift and talent for enlightening peoples lives with photos that will live on forever!! I hope that the answers will come to you in terms of what you should do. Till then I wish you peace and rest and help with your work!
Hugs to you chicka! Take care!!

Louise said...

BTW- Love your header, looks great!!

MP said...

...feel better...we all need a good woe is me post every once and a while..

Stacey said...

Val, I'm so sorry you're feeling overwhelmed, so glad you can talk about it, though. I'm no photographer, but home schooling by day, mom to teenagers in the later day/evening and typist by night. I break down often anymore. Something has to give. What? I'm learning discipline, not answering my phone, not saying yes soo much (but I still do!),

I can't give you any advice, you described my feelings about it and I'm drowning like you! It's only a season in our lives, though. xo

Deborah said...

I have no answers, as I wrestle with a lot of the same issues as a WOHM (my evenings and weekends are spent trying to do all teh around the house stuff that has to get done), but I just wanted to post some support for you. hang in there!

Alexis Jacobs said...

I wrote a similar post a few weeks back. It is a hard balancing act being a SAHM and a WAHM. Finding the time to breathe is nearly impossible. Between personal, commitments, work commitments and children commitments there is no time for anything else.

I keep telling myself that my kids are only little for so long. Emily is already going to be 12 and I can't figure out where time has gone. I don't want to look back and regret what I have missed while I was trying to figure out how to breathe.

You need to take care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you ((hugs))

oh amanda said...

Oh, Val! I haven't been online to blog browse all week and I've been missing you. I'm sorry your tired and stressed. I think you did right not going to the wedding. Those are the types of things you need to miss out on --not the stuff you love like your kids and your work. I'm praying God gives you direction and clarity on when to say no, etc. Love you!

lil ole' me..... said...

Val! Oh, I hope that you are feeling better since you posted this! I've been MIA in blog world lately and after reading your post, I wish I had popped on here sooner!
Just know that your friends are praying for you!!!
Get some rest. You CAN say no to some of us clients!!! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!!!
Lots of love!!!!