mum/photographer/girlboss….and the summer holidays

August 2016

So for those of you without children and who have no need of knowing about term times you may not realise that we are smack bang in the middle of summer holidays (which happens to coincide with the height of wedding season). This means that my offspring are knocking about the house ALL THE TIME! Of couse I could sign them up to holiday club or pay for extra nursery days but when you’re self employed and working from home that seems a bit unjustified or indulgent. But here comes the crunch. You can’t get enough done (and there’s so much I want to get done) My mind is abuzz with business ideas and schemes and plans to implement. My notebook lies next to me teeming with things that I can’t get round to achieving.

But you know what. I’ve decided that I can live with that.

I confess, last summer, the first as a fully self employed person – I was a truly shocking mother. I spent 6 weeks hollering at them from behind my computer. With the exception of our week away with the family, I can’t remember one day where I took them anywhere or did anything fun. They essentially fended for themselves with the occasional meal provided by me.

Yep. Rubbish Mum. Guilt. Guilt. A bit more Guilt.

There’s a lot of guilt that comes with parenthood. Breastfeeding guilt, going back to work guilt, putting child in nursery guilt, choice of school guilt. The general guilty feeling that you could be doing more, you could be doing better. It goes on an on. Every mum ever feels guilt for different reasons. I know my mum (role model extraordinaire and one of my best friends) feels guilt for working full time when I was little.  I remember not liking going to my child minder but I never remember associating that with my mum working. It was just a fact of life. And we’ve always had a great relationship and we are very close. So the moral is that the guilt is generally pointless but we have it anyway, it’s not rational and it’s almost impossible to shake.

It’s awesome being self employed. Most days I get to pick the children up from school, chat to them about their day. I’m there to put them to bed. I don’t have to work away and most days if I really wanted to I could sit around in my pyjamas editing (I don’t by the way – just in case you’re thinking of dropping in unexpectedly.) So you would think there’s no guilt. Wrong. The tough part is establishing boundaries. My husband is self employed too but he leaves the house and goes to work. It’s not quite the same when ‘going to work’ involves stepping into the front room. My daughter, a beautiful bundle of joy/master manipulator has an amazing sixth sense of when I’m working on something and tells me she needs a cuddle. “Mummy put your ‘puter down. I neeed a cuddle.” Gorgeous, guilt inducing child. How can I say no to that. I can’t of course. (Oh there’s that guilt for not getting enough work done.)

A few weeks ago I covered a beautiful wedding in Southport (see it here). During the signing of the register, the couple had created a beautiful slideshow of images from their lives. Pictures of themselves as babies with their parents and of various childhood moments. You know the ones because you’ll have them at home. Family snapshots, slightly blurry but so precious. I watched everyone getting a bit teary. Ok, I got a bit teary. And it struck me then and there like it never has done before – it will be no time at all before this is my reality and my babies will be grown up and getting married and hopefully making me grandchildren.  It will pass by in a flash. Will I remember that awesome wedding I blogged about whilst they played without me? Probably not.

So I’m giving myself a break this holiday and being a better mum. I’m staying on top of my editing pile (it is wedding season after all) but the grand plans and business ventures and borderline crazy ideas can wait until September. This is our summer of adventures and I intend to make it a memorable one.

x R