When my sister asked me to write about about self-care I reluctantly agreed. The truth is I am pretty bad at it. Between taking care of my kids and running my own photography business there isn’t much free time left. I feel guilty that I’m working and the house isn’t clean and vice versa. Top it off with my youngest not sleeping through the night, I turned into a cranky person I didn’t recognize. I’ve realized that something needed to change for my quality of life to improve so with some inspiration from sister I’m taking a few baby steps.
Here are a few of the concrete actions that I’ve been working on the last few months.
1. I’m the type of person who needs 8 hours of sleep so with my husband’s help we have been trying to get my daughter to sleep through the night. We have only 2 bedrooms so this has meant sleeping on the couch for a few weeks but I’ve been happier.
2. One of the allures of being a photographer means I’m able to set my own schedule and stay home with the kids. However, weekend work and late night editing can be difficult to manage long term. I’m now trying to set more regular hours and findings ways to work a few hours during the day. For the fall, I’ve found daycare options for both of my children two days a week to help me manage my schedule better.
3. With two kids by my side most hours of the day alone time comes at a premium. While a spa day would be nice it isn’t realistic so I’m trying to take a few minutes a day for myself: some days it is making a smoothie, other days it is leaving for a photo session 20 minutes early.
4. Most importantly I’m trying to be better about communicating to my husband about what help I need. He is constantly tellingly me he isn’t a mind reader so I’m working on being better about verbalizing exactly the tasks that need to be accomplished.
I’m sure in a few months these changes will need to be reevaluated but for now they are feasible goals for me to work on.
Beth Ann is the owner of BAF Photography (www.bafphotography.com) in Boston, MA which specializes in newborn, family, wedding and lifestyle portraits.