I quit my job to be a full time photographer: Hanging up my supermom Cape
Today is my last day as a corporate employee. To be honest, I never thought I would actually make the leap from a steady job with a great team to full time creative entrepreneurship. I have always felt a deep obligation for my full time day job, knowing that many others don't have that luxury of a steady paycheck, and always trying my best to make our lives comfortable and financially stable.
But then, a few months ago, I found myself typing these things into my friendly neighborhood search engine: chronic fatique, burnout, how to treat burnout, signs and symtoms of depression, homeopathic remedies for fatigue. Maybe a few searches in, I realized that it was possible that I wasn't in a healthy place and I didn't want to stay there. I didn't make the decision right then and there to put in my two weeks though, that comes later.
People say to me all the time "you are supermom, how do you do it all?" I always laugh it off and just say that I don't sleep very much. Saying this is more than a true statement, in case you're curious or want to know more about this luxurious "Supermom" life people think I lead, most days here is my schedule:
- 7:00 AM - out the door to fight Atlanta traffic
- 8:00 AM-4:00 PM - working in the office
- 4:00 PM -5:30 PM - fight more Atlanta traffic to get home
- 5:30-8 PM - the only time I get with my family, often spent on conference calls
- 8 PM - 3 AM - working on photography things
The hard truth is that I don't do it all. I'm a wife, a mother, photographer, business analyst, maker of crafty things..but I'm not all of these things all at once. I'm one thing at a time, but through months and months of a deeply exhausting schedule, I'm none of these things fully. The "Supermom" is just a myth that we made up to define someone that looks like they have everything together in ways that we do not, which encourages feelings of inadequacy. Those feelings harbor jealousy, a jealousy over something that is simply not the full picture of what is really happening. The reality is that no one is capable of balancing all of the things all the time. For me, every time I say "yes" to another thing, that means I am saying "no" to something else, and it is usually my family.
So, what does it really look like for a so called "Supermom" on a day to day basis?
I'm not present in relationships. My sweet husband falls asleep on the couch every night as I try to finish one more email, batch edit, phone call, or invoice. On a given week, my son gets less hours from me than I spend in the car on my daily commute and usually after that I am too tired to do much of any playtime outside of turning on a show.
I'm not present in business. I'm on autopilot most days, so it's nearly impossible to get creative, come up with new ideas, finish old ideas, or even remember what I am supposed to be doing for the day.
I'm not present for myself. I'm out of touch with what I enjoy and love in life, I eat terribly, and I can't remember the last time I exercised. I'm sick or hurt all the time because my body is just exhausted.
Here is the moment when I decided to hang up my "Supermom" cape and stop trying to do it all. I was driving to work and I thought to myself "I am going to burnout before I am 30." I'm thankful that in that moment, I didn't let that thought take root. I sat up straight, took a deep breath, and made a decision. I decided that I wanted more in my life than exhaustion, regret, and sacrifice of things that are important to me. So, I quit my day job to focus my attention full time on my photography business and to leave the rest of my time alone, to leave space to be present with family, friends, and myself.
I'm nervous about this choice, how the next year will look for us financially, and if it's really going to work out at all. But I know that it's the right choice, because greater than anything else is love, and if I'm not present for love, nothing else really matters.
I would love for you to join me on my entrepreneurial journey, to learn from my mistakes, to rejoice in successes that come along, and to explore what it means to find balance in a life worth loving! Many blessings to you for encouraging, believing in, and trusting me as I take this leap. Your words and actions have helped me grow in ways I never knew I needed in order to do this! Thank you!