A Personal Journal by Andrea Brogle » Blog

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goodbye photography, hello being a mom!

For nine years I have owned my own business.  Nine years ago I became a mom…

It was always our plan for me to stay at home with the kids.  I must say before I had Cy I had thoughts about keeping some kind of part-time job to get me out of the house.  Ronny wasn’t the happiest with that decision but I thought that was a good happy middle ground.  It would be nice to have the income, but the balancing would be hard.  I remember about an hour after Cy was born.  I was just staring in amazement at him, I turned to Ronny and said “I’m not going back to work.”  It was a done decision and one of the easiest decisions I have ever made.  Shortly after I started a custom card business (birth announcements, holiday cards, invites).  I thought it would take months to get my first customer – it took two weeks.

I remember staying up until 3am or 4am working on card edits, packaging, answering emails, doing the bookkeeping or updating my website.  I would work during naps or steal away an hour while I let Cy watch a show.  I would work through dinner or in the evenings as Ronny put Cy to bed.  It seemed to be all that I did.  This was my business and it wasn’t going to fail.  I was exhausted but I kept plugging away.  I had that card business for three years before I started my photography business.  Did I stop the card business once I started the photography business?  No.  I kept it running for another two years all the while doing weekend shoots, editing portraits, doing the bookkeeping, answer emails and phone calls, packaging and updating my website and photography blog.

I have now had my photography business for six years.  I started it right around when Mia was born.  Again thinking it will take FOREVER for someone to hire me.  Guess again!  I had my first paid shoot about a week after my website going live.  So, here we go… I worked weekends, I worked nights, I worked days.  I am the type of person if I decide I want something I go do it and pretty much no one is going to tell me otherwise.  I put everything I have into my decision and this business wasn’t going to fail either – I commit 100%.  Slowly a few years into it I started to fall apart.  But, of course, I kept plugging away anyway.  I thought I might take a big break when Ev was born.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  I had a shoot three days before Ev was born (I was proofing a session in the hospital after having him) and went back to work when he was two months old.   I worked and worked.  I was miserable.  The money was AWESOME, yes.  But inside I was crushed.  Not much of a break.  There have been many many many times Ronny and I have sat down and said what am I doing?  Something has to give.  So what did we do?  We hired a part-time nanny three days a week.    Scheduled two or three shoots on one day, worked weekends, worked nights, worked during naps and not, worked through dinner, worked with chaos in house, worked and worked some more.  Our nanny was so fabulous and I loved her (still do as she watches the kids sometimes) but I was jealous.  Why did she always get to do the fun things with the kids?  That was suppose to be me – I am their mom!

Now enter being pregnant with the twins.  We got rid of the nanny since I wasn’t going to be working.  Their due date was August 4th.  I had my last shoot in mid-June and I was D.O.N.E.  That month of July was one of the happiest times in a very long time.  We had so much fun as a family A LOT, my house was pretty clean all the time, laundry was done and put away, I was unplugged about 90% of the day and it was seriously pure bliss.  I got to hangout with the kids and not be stressed about everything I need to be doing, or worrying about this client or that shoot.  I was free to be a mom.

I went back to work when the twins were 7 weeks old.  Yes, I cried to the shoot but we kept justifying that it will just a be a couple of shoots to pay some bills and I would take another break.  Well that has not happened, I’m still plugging away.  The other day we finally decided I am leaving the photography world for the most part.  I say that because I will still keep up my website and if a job comes along that will make my heart sing and will be paid appropriately for it and it works for my schedule I will take it.  Otherwise I’m stopping the hustle to try to sway clients my way.  My work is out there, if it is not what someone wants then I don’t want the money.  I am tired of trying to claw my way to clients, I’m tired of listening to people try to negotiate my pricing with me, I am tired of dealing with how the portrait photography world has changed, I am tired of making less money and cutting my prices down over the past six years when the prices should go up, I am tired of missing my family, I am tired of not making time to see friends, I am tired of missing soccer games and hockey games and softball games, I am tired of there not being food in the house because I “had to work”, I am tired of getting fast food because I didn’t have the time to make a healthy meal for the family, I’m tired of the rushing the kids to bed so I can work, I’m tired of having a quiet night to myself and I proof a session.  I am so tired.  I regret working so much.  I want to watch movies with my husband again, have coffee or dinner or drinks with friends again, I want to make banana bread with the kids, I want to try new clean recipes, I want to bake again, I want to roll around on the floor with the girls, I want to make the choice go out and do stuff with the kids again, I want to see Ev’s face light up when I play Monster with him, I want to see Mia get giddy when I volunteer in her class, I want to cuddle on the couch watching the Blackhawks with Cy and not just be calculating in my head how long it is going to take me to answer all the emails in my inbox, I want time to read a book.  I want to be present with my family and not see them in passing.  There is so much that I want, and it is the little things.

There are so many times on this blog I have wondered what am I doing, what is next, why am I doing this…there was this constant struggle with balance and I had no idea what to do.  Well, it has been staring at me in the face for nine years now.  For nine years I have wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and have never been one – I have been a work-from-home-mom while juggling being a full time mom.

I do have a few commitments in the coming months and my preschools of course (and I will always be doing personal work)…but I am giddy with excitement.  I am free and am so happy to have finally found what I have been looking for all these years.  I am going to take on this “new job” with the same commitment I did with my other two jobs.  I know this will not fail.

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Trish - You have always rocked it babe. No regrets. Your kids got alot of strength and independence from seeing you..thru stuggles..thru play ..thru working. But making a new choice means new opportunity for of your family. Good for you Andrea Rae. Do whatever makes you dance…you’ve never let anything stop you before. I am so proud of the woman, wife and mommy you are. Love you as always, Trish

Tina - Congratulations Andrea on wholly embracing your new journey. The struggles you specified I have identified with painfully as well in the last year. Raising a virtual glass and cheering you on from NJ!

toni raper - I just had to say Bravo! This photography thing gets its claws into you and takes so long to know when to rip them out. I wish you all the best in getting back to your roots, you are a great example of being honest & real xo

kat - although I’m not as busy as you are, i’m in the same boat! but i haven’t made the decision to quit yet. My oldest just turned 4 and i can’t believe where the time has gone and i’m wasting time doing this when i could be loving the life i have… it just confirms what i already know. thanks for sharing….

Paula Charchenko - YAY for you. I think we live parallel lives. I want to do the same, and am trying to cut back and find balance. I wish our financial situation would allow me to quit cold turkey. I would in a heartbeat.

Enjoy those kiddos.

Emily - Thank you SO much for this honest post. Really really thank you. I always see that quote “if you have to choose between kids and work, choose the kids. There will be plenty of time for work later” and this post really brought that home to me.

I love love love photography and I have been toying with the idea of going into business. What you wrote here exactly sums up all my fears and hesitations about doing so. Photography is a wonderful hobby and it bring me so much joy to document my 2 year old daughter’s life. Maybe I should just keep it at that….

Hallie D - Thank you! I feel like I just wrote a version of this myself just over a month ago! Sorta felt like no one understood how it can be, how all consuming “work” can be, how even if physically present, how it takes you away mentally!

May Bo - Oh my gosh… this is exactly what I needed to hear. I’m a mom with two little kids. I do photography for fun and started to do it for other people. People kept on coming and coming and coming… My kids need me more than the computer/camera. Thank you for the post.

Melanie Leighton - Well done! I don’t know how you have possibly got this far working so hard – I struggle with juggling my photography business and 2 kids – I honestly can’t imagine life with six. Enjoy every minute of family life! It will definitely bring you far greater rewards than photography ever could! x

admin - Hey Liz!

Thank you so much for sharing your views and thoughts on my journal. I wish you have a fabulous Thanksgiving! Cheers! Andrea

Debrah - Your hosetny is like a beacon

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