Kristen Lee Photography » New England Wedding Photographer

Stop. Don’t Quit

Stop. Quit. Don’t give up. Don’t spend too much time on it. You need to spend more time on it. You’ll never succeed. Don’t give up your dreams. Do it. Don’t do it. Don’t quit but don’t do it 100%. Don’t do it 50%. Don’t do it. Don’t quit. You can’t run a successful business while being a successful mother, wife, friend. You need a job but you won’t be happy doing anything else. You’ll never be able to support anyone doing what you love. You are dreaming too big. This industry is impossible to make money in. Don’t quit, but get another job as well. You won’t be happy working a regular 9 to 5 job so don’t, yet you’ll never pay the bills with the career you’ve chosen. Don’t get another job because then there isn’t enough time for you to pay attention to everyone else. You’re amazing, talented, awesome. You’re not good enough.

So many words, thoughts swirl around in my head. Some come from those skeptical about what I see myself creating and all come from myself as I tell myself those skeptics are right. How does one create a successful photography business in this day and age of cell phones with the ability to create studio lighting using an app? Everyone has someone with an incredible camera. In the wedding world some call these hobbyists “Uncle Bob”. Everyone has an Uncle Bob with just as good of a camera as you, who can take just as good of pictures as you can, and they will do it for free. So why try?

I try because it’s true, I won’t be happy working a steady 9 to 5 job every single day. Will I work one? Yes, I will. I have. They pay the bills right. I will work one again if necessary. Yet, where does one draw the line? I am a mom to two amazing little girls. We have school schedules, play dates, Karate, Girl Scouts, soon to be dance classes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bath, story time, bed times, the list goes on. Where does it all fit in? Where do you fit in a career when you are a mom? A wife? A woman? Is there time for it all? You can ask lots of people and you will get a lot of answers. One answer you can stick with is your own. When it all comes down to it are you willing to put in the work? When the school day is done, lunches packed, dinner eaten and cleaned up, the dishwasher and laundry running for the tenth time, the dogs fed and walked, giggles and tantrums, hugs and kisses end for the night, time for yourself or you and your husband allotted for, do you have anything left? Are you willing to stay up an hour later to edit or return emails? Are you able to set aside time for that while the kids are in school to make sure they have well deserved Mommy time all day long. Will you be able to find child care to have more time during the day for work and less time having to work after everyone goes to bed. Is it fair to have to work after everyone goes to bed or should work only be for during the day? Am I putting my career above everything else if I work on it when everyone else is asleep? Is there a split between me, a mom and wife, and me a photographer and entrepreneur?

I keep telling myself that yes there is a split. I put aside my work even as I write this to play games, make lunches and snacks. Is it enough? My girls still see me sitting at the computer. My husband still sees me working. Something that should take me very little time turns into hours and hours of time I wasn’t planning on taking as I head to switch over the laundry and stare into the fridge to figure out what I am going to cook for dinner. Am I using my time as well as it can be used?

The answer is I don’t know. I’m sure I could use my time more efficiently if I just sat and worked and got things done as soon as I thought of them; made a schedule to work for a said number of hours and then be able to turn it off completely for the night. Would thinking about something I forgot to do be considered still working even if I did not actually do what it was I had thought of? Would my girls be worse off because of that thought? Would my husband even know I had made the fleeting thought if I did not mentioned it? Should I write it down so I don’t forget it or is that considered breaking into my personal time? Is it such a bad thing to show my girls that I can be a rocking business woman who is building something she is proud of while doing something she loves? Will they believe me more when I say that they can do anything they put their minds to by watching me build my own business? Is there enough of me to go around? I can go work a 9 to 5. Maybe I should. Will I be in love with what I am doing as a career? I probably won’t. At the same time, it would be a steady, stable job with a nice steady income.

“There is no Job Fairy.” This phrase keeps running through my head amongst the doubt of should I keep going or am I just fooling myself. It was a phrase repeated over and over in my childhood as a reminder that you need to go out and get a job, a career, to pay the bills and be responsible. Make sure you always have a job, or 2, to be stable, steady and pay your bills. You have responsibilities that need to be taken care of. It’s a never-ending cycle. You get the car to get to the job and you get the job to pay for the car. Wisdoms I have ingrained into my brain from my Dad. I learned many things from him. Hard work and a great work ethic are just two of those things. As I hear his voice telling me about the circle of responsibility, I look at my two daughters and the words of self-doubt, the words from others saying you are dreaming too big, you are being unreasonable, you can’t do it all and give everyone what they need from you creep back in and overtake all of my thoughts. I hear him again from the back of my mind.

“Find something you love, and figure out a way to get paid for it.”

There is no Job Fairy and find something you love and figure out a way to get paid for it. The two thoughts seem so contradictory to me as I battle through everything and everyone telling me to quit. Quit but don’t quit Kristen. You can’t give up your dreams yet you can’t achieve them either. Which sentence do you follow? Which wisdom is more important than the other? As I now have a 4-year-old on my lap to finish this post I can only think that they’re equal. Do what needs to be done. There is time for it all. There is enough of me. Kick out all the negativity and disbelief because I am enough. I am amazing, talented, a mom, a wife, a woman, a sister, daughter, aunt, friend, photographer and heading towards an entrepreneur. My girls do know how much I love them and that I will show them the world and prop them up when they have dreams so big they may think those dreams are too heavy. I am a Rockstar. I am their Rockstar. I am my own Rockstar.

Surround yourself with those who prop you up no matter what might seem impossible. I promise the work will pay off. One day I know I will look back and say to myself I believed in you Kristen and I never let you give up when you thought it was too much. Those hard, sleepless nights are worth it. There is enough of you. You are not defined by one thing or one part of yourself. You’re made up of lots of different parts.

Don’t Quit. I am amazing. I’m not either a business or a mom or a wife. I am ALL of those things and so so so much more. It will be hard. It won’t be perfect. You say I can’t. I say watch me.