Ep. 148 Maintaining Your Sanity as a Mom and Photographer

I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography and my signature program for mompreneurs: The Efficient Mompreneur.

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Hey mama!

In this episode, you’ll hear a conversation I originally had with my friend Elizabeth McCravy over on her podcast, The Breakthrough Brand Podcast. I’ve reshared it here for you to enjoy!

You’ll hear us chat about all things motherhood and photography, and I share 4 simple tips for how to maintain your sanity while juggling them both.

Elizabeth: I would love to start by hearing more about what your work schedule is like as a mom. What does the average day look like? What does childcare look like? How are you making it all work? 

Ashley: I only work about 12 to 15 hours a week, so I have to be very strategic about how I spend that time. It’s actually been a real blessing for me to get rid of all the fluff and all the extras and all the time wasters. However, it’s been hard to figure out what those are (and I’m still learning every single day).

I’m a huge proponent of having an ideal week. Basically, how this works is: you set aside your time blocks for things that are absolutely set in stone, right? Think of things like meetings or anything that has a specific working time or deadline. Then, I love putting my personal stuff in first so that my business fits around my personal life and my homeschooling journey with my kiddos. 

On Mondays, I have childcare in the afternoon for just three hours, where my mom watches my kids. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are kind of “hit or miss” as far as if I get a work block in or not, so I don’t count on that. We have a “gym membership” at a local trampoline place, so often we will go there, and I can sit in the food court while the kids jump for a couple of hours. So I might get some work done then, but it’s not really “focused work”. I usually get a lot of the more admin-type stuff done during that time.

Then I do have childcare on Fridays when my kids go to an enrichment program for homeschooled kiddos from 8:15am to 3:10pm. That’s really when I get the bulk of my work done. Finally, on the weekend, I usually will also have a 2-4 hour work block when my husband watches the kids!

Elizabeth: There are a lot of moving parts there between work and your personal life! How are you managing your calendar?

Ashley: For work, I use Asana, and I literally don’t know how I lived without it. I used to use Trello, and it was really hard for me to see all of my tasks in one place. Plus, it was so pretty that I got really caught up in making it pretty instead of just getting stuff done. With Asana, I just go straight into Asana and immediately know what tasks I have for the day and knock those out.

As far as my husband and I, we share a calendar on Cozi Calendar. In there, we both add places we have to be, and when I have photoshoots – that kind of stuff. It’s also where I add on the weekends when my work blocks are going to be. I have a standing appointment that I call my CEO date, so he knows that I have work scheduled during that time.

Elizabeth: It sounds like you get most of your work done on Monday, Friday, and the weekend. Do you find any challenges not working more of the days “most people” are working?

Ashley: I forgot to talk a little more about Wednesdays! They are kind of my “flex day”. In my group coaching program, we do our coaching calls on Wednesday mornings. On weeks we don’t have a call, we have “adventure days” or a “field trip day” where for the kids if we want to go out and do something, we can. 

The nice thing about being an entrepreneur and a homeschooler is that I can change our schedule any time I want to. 

So this “ideal week” that I have, it’s in place for the majority of the time, right? But I can always move things around. On top of that, my mother-in-law is retired, and so she will take care of my kids for me as well sometimes.

Elizabeth: I love the ideal week concept. How frequently does your ideal week change? Because, for example, your kids are a bit older than my son, who is a toddler. How has the ideal week changed?

Ashley: It has changed a lot (and I have learned a lot). I so wish I would have known about this concept when I was raising my little ones. But I would say beforehand, my schedule was really limited. I was always working in pockets of time, like when my kids would take a nap or if I had like a friend that could come over and swap babysitting with me. It was more haphazard. And honestly? I prioritized my motherhood and I just didn’t prioritize my business at all. 

Stop working in the pockets of time

If I had advice for people who have young ones, I would absolutely still recommend creating an ideal week, but I wouldn’t count on nap times. Nap times would be a bonus. Instead, I would find other ways to get that protected childcare time because something that I see a lot of educators teaching is “glorifying working in the cracks”. It’s kind of like, “Oh, we’re just moms. We work in the pockets of time”. 

But honestly, it doesn’t work that way. You’re always going to be feeling overwhelmed. I remember that feeling. I remember even feeling resentful towards my kids because I had to work, and of course, they just don’t understand. It wasn’t from a need of “desperation” like I needed the money either. It was more like, “I need an escape outside of motherhood. I need something for myself. I have a purpose outside of just cleaning up noses and changing diapers.”

I want to encourage all these mamas that are reading or anyone listening that it is so important that you have protected time so that you can be a mom when you’re in mom mode.

Separation is going to be what really helps to decrease overwhelm and also increase your efficiency in both areas.

So to answer your original question, I would say it’s changed a lot. I started from the chaos that felt like, “oh, I have a few minutes; okay, quick, let me do something”. But there was no plan/intention, and it was always reactive. Definitely not what I recommend.

Elizabeth: I can relate to so much of that – especially during the 6-12 month age when we did not have any significant child care help. I was always working in the “pockets of time” or when my husband was watching Colin (but his work schedule is more set in stone). I love what you said about nap time being a bonus. It’s hard to account for nap time because you might be looking at one or two naps a day and then sometimes they are 45 mins, and other times they are an hour and a half. It can be really overwhelming if that’s your everyday experience.

So it’s nice to like, almost say like hey, naptime is going to be like for you to rest and do something else you want to do and then work time or if you want to work during it but then work time has like the set time for it. Exactly what that. Okay, so let’s get into like the tips you have. So I know that like, and I know again, I’m experiencing this like I’m in the early days of all this but like balancing family life and also growing your business is really challenging. And I’ve said it on my podcast many times. Like I think for me adding a baby to my business, like becoming a mom was harder than I thought it was gonna be. I think a lot of that was that we don’t do like 40 hour a week childcare. So it is a little bit more like, Okay, I’m, I’m actually like somedays, I look like a stay at home mom more than a business owner because I’m doing both pretty intensely. And there’s a lot of ups and downs to that. And so I’d love to go through the strategies you have for like maintaining our sanity as moms and business owners. And I know the first one has to do with our self care. So
let’s talk about that.

Ashley: Yes, absolutely. And I know that like a lot of people don’t want to hear this, because they know that they need to work on it, right? Like I asked moms so often, like, what do you do to take care of yourself? And they’re like, what, like, their eyes glaze over. And they’re like, I eat, like, that’s what I do to take care of myself. And I’m like, if you do not prioritize yourself care, no one else will. And I hit like a really low point in my life, probably like four or five years ago. And I just remember crying in my closet asking myself that question, like, who is going to take care of me? Like, I need I have needs, right? Like, there are things that I want for my life. And like, I don’t want this life like I don’t want to stay at home. Like I got to this point where I was just like, I felt stuck, almost like I had to stay at home because someone had to take care of the kids, right.

But I also like, just got to a point where I was like, I don’t, I don’t want to only be like a mom, that’s not what I want. And I just felt so stuck. And so I just felt like God speak to me in that moment that he was like, you have to take care of you. Right? Like, I will sustain I will support you, I will be there. But like you have to make movements, you have to take steps to take care of yourself. You have to advocate for that. And I was like, oh, like, I don’t know why I forgot that. Right? Like, before you have kids, of course you take care of yourself, because it’s only you, maybe a spouse. But when you have kids, it just feels like their needs take over.

And so I finally was like, Okay, what is it look like to prioritize my self care, and self care beyond like going to get your nails done and getting a massage or things like that, like those are bonus things. But those are not the things that are going to sustain. And so creating a self care routine for you, that fills you up before the day starts. Or maybe your self care routine does look like naptime. Or maybe it’s at night, whenever you have that time you have to protect it, it’s not something that you’re ever going to have left over. So protecting yourself care time Mine is in the morning, I was actually just talking to a fellow mom photographer about this. I have a wake up boundary with my kids. They wake up if they wake up at 6am. Like they’re not allowed to come bug me till 730.

And of course they’re older. And you think like, oh, that’s probably really easy for them. It’s not it’s really not it doesn’t matter what age your kiddos are, it’s not easy for your kids to entertain themselves, unless they’ve been trained to entertain themselves. And so from a very young age, my kids have known that, right? Of course, the boundary has looked different. Maybe you know, when you have a younger toddler, they’re going to need You more.

But you have to set that expectation and let your children know that they are important. Yes, but so are you. And you are important. Because if you’re not functioning properly, of course, you can’t be the mom you want to be you can’t be the spouse and the wife you want to be. You can’t be the friend, you can’t be the business owner. It has a huge domino effect. And a lot of moms are running on caffeine, and a prayer. And they’re just hoping they can get through the day to survive. And that’s not what I want for you guys. I want you to thrive in your motherhood. And it starts with taking care of yourself.

Elizabeth: Yes, I love that. And I’m glad you shared about the morning boundary thing because I heard that on your podcast and I literally thought I was like Ashley said this about like the morning boundary thing. Like we need to try starting to do that sort of thing. Because you’re right that it is like and I think too as like a lot of us as business owners even like we bring that energy into motherhood of how we want to please people we want to help people and you can like self sacrifice of like, you don’t get anything because it’s all like my kid needs this. My child wants this. They’re crying about this. I gotta do this. And absolutely I’ve had to like kind of fight against the motherhood a few times in life. You know, he really wants to nurse right now, but like I’m trying to eat and like, I need to eat this meal and I want to eat in peace and like we just nursed 30 minutes ago.

I want to ask you, like, you know, you said your self care time is mainly in the morning and that, you know, things like getting a manicure and massages are extra, like, what are some ways that you see moms maybe like neglecting their self care specifically?

What is self care for you?

Ashley: Absolutely. So I think the basics of self care are going to be what you need, right? So it could be like, I just need 15 minutes in the morning of quiet so I can drink my coffee. I need 30 minutes where I can read everyday because reading is really important to me. I want to study my Bible, I want to do a workout. I want to not have to cook dinner every night, right? So like those things, whatever the things are that you notice. And sometimes you don’t really know you need that until, like, in the middle, right?

So you’re like making dinner and you’re frustrated. And you’re like, Why do I always have to make dinner? Like, why is this falling on my shoulders? So maybe a self care boundary for you is going to be like, I’m not going to just be in charge of dinner all by myself anymore, right? How can I include my kids in the process, like my kids are eight and 11. But like, they’ve always helped us make the meal plan. And I’ve told my husband so many times, like making the meal plan for the whole family is stressful, because everybody likes something different. And I need everyone’s input.

And this needs to be a family thing, not just falling on my shoulders. So self care is really anything that you need. That’s not being met that self care. And it’s something again to that I think I’ve said this a lot on my podcast, but self care is not selfish, right? I think a lot of people think like, they get really guilt, they feel this guilt, like, I just want to go out with my friends. And I want my you know, my spouse to watch the kids. And I feel so guilty. And I’m like, Why? Why do you feel guilty? Like, you should be able to go out? Not every night.

Of course that would be selfish, right? Leaving your spouse to take care of the kids every night. But there’s a balance to it. And I think also partnering with your spouse and saying like, what do you need, right? Because his needs are going to be different than your needs? And how can you work together? My kids know that self care is really important because I use that word a lot.

They even have their own self care time, which is we call it quiet time. But it took the place of their nap. They have always had a nap time even when they stopped napping. And it’s just time where they can just spend by themselves and quiet doing what they want to do self care time is what we call it. So using that word, I think is really helpful.

Elizabeth: Yes, I feel like a lot what you’re saying too is like we can be reactive as mothers and then the you realize, hey, this isn’t working, because you’ve just been like doing all the things and since I’ve been in more control of like, like you were saying realizing like hey, maybe I don’t want to cook dinner every night. Maybe I don’t want to always like feel like I can’t go out with friends or whatever it is. So yes, I love that. And I love the practicalness of that.

So, #1 is prioritizing our own self-care.

What’s a second strategy for maintaining our sanity as moms?

Ashley: I love this one because it kind of surprises people.

#2 is to give your kids what they need first.

And people might just be like, Okay, you just told us to like take care of ourselves. And now you’re telling us to give our kids what they need.

Here’s what I mean by this. Kids need a few basic things outside of like, you know, food, right? Shelter, they need attention. They need control, and they need present parents, okay, those are the three things that your kids need.

Now, the one thing that you guys will notice and this will totally speak to you and relate to you is when your kiddos are kind of annoying you like you feel that agitation almost where you’re like, oh, just leave me alone, right? Or they’re like tapping you on the shoulder. They’re like Mommy, mommy, watch me. Watch me. Look, Look, Mom, when when you feel that sense of like annoyance, that’s when you know your kids need attention. Okay? Attention is huge.

Kids will look for attention, even if it’s negative.

So if your kids throwing a fit, if they’re throwing something across the room, if they are doing anything that’s just annoying behavior, you know that they’re just seeking attention. Now, the way you know if they are in need of more control is if they are defying you, right? And if you’re starting to feel really angry, and you’re mad at your kids, that’s when they need more control.

And so this is really apparent right out of the womb, right? Like when your kiddos are born, like you can tell when they’re upset. But as they get a little bit older, and you’re probably starting to notice this, Elizabeth, as your little one is getting into the the two year old stage, which I like to call terrific twos. But it is really hard, right? A lot of people say terrible twos. But I really think it is a pivotal moment when your kiddo starts to realize that like they have autonomy, they have a say in what happens, and they can defy, and it gets a huge reaction.

And so I think it’s really important that we start to recognize that and hopefully you guys will start to see that when you’re like, oh, they just need attention, or oh, they’re really needing some control.

And so giving your kids the positive attention they need up front at the beginning of the day, as early in the day as you can, is going to be a game changer in their attitude, and in their willingness to comply.

So that’s a huge one too. But when you notice that your kids are being defiant, it’s that they need more of that control. So you’ll hear experts all the time be like give your kids choices, right? Like, why do kids care about the red plate versus the blue plate? Like why is that always a battle? It’s because they want to choose right?

And they are feeling like every decision is made for them as a child. And so they need more control in their lives. And so being able to step into that and giving them that positive control is really important. And you’ll notice like when your kiddos are starting to push boundaries, I have a lot of episodes on my podcast about parenting, specifically where I can go more in depth.

Because this podcast obviously is not about that. But I just get so passionate about sharing about that. So if you are giving them that upfront, your kids are just going to be way more likely to follow your directions and listen.

For the present parents idea, it’s basically that you are available, and that you’re not always shooing your kids away, that you are inviting them to be a part of what you’re doing. Like my daughter the other day in the car, we were talking about how I’m launching this brand new coaching program that I have coming up and I was talking to her about like my masterclass ideas and she wanted to help brainstorm with me because she wanted to help me.

I just hosted an in person meeting last night and she was like, Mom, how did your meeting go? How did everyone like your talk?

Invite your kiddos along to be present with you on the journey because it just makes life so much more enjoyable.

Your kids just want to be a part of what you’re doing. And I know it’s easier to just shoo them away and say, oh, you know, you wouldn’t understand or, you know, it’s too grown up for you. But honestly, our kids can learn so much from us if we’re just willing to be present, put our phones down, shut our laptops when they’re talking to us and just get on their level, look them in the eye and give them the time of day. That is huge for our kiddos.

Elizabeth: Yes, I love to thinking about talking to your kid about like, what you’re working on that. So I talked to Colin about what I’m working on. But he’s obviously not like giving me feedback on what to do with that business situation.

Ashley: My kids helped me like pack my gifts for like my summit that I’m doing. I always do my speakers, I send them a gift. And they always helped me pack the boxes and take the labels on like they think it’s so fun.

Elizabeth: You’re right that kids, regardless of age, he does want to be involved in what I’m doing. And there are ways like lately, we’ve let Colin help us unload the dishwasher. It’s like, yes, he’s holding a fragile plate.

Like, as long as we’re like close by and we put we put the knives away first, like before we let him help. It’s like he loves being involved in that. So yeah, I love that though. Giving your kids what they need first.

Okay, let’s talk about the third thing.


#3 is one of my favorites too. And that’s just getting really organized.

So I mentioned earlier that I only work 15 hours a week, and I have to be organized. And that’s just something that doesn’t come naturally to a lot of creative people. And myself included, I did not used to be organized, I used to be very overwhelmed with all the things I had to do. I used to just fly by the seat of my pants I wanted, you know, a quote unquote, like spontaneous Miss to my day, like I didn’t want to plan out everything. But what I realized was living in that chaotic state was not good for my stress level, also was not good for my productivity level. Because I was just always frazzled. That’s honestly how I felt like I didn’t know what I needed to work on. So getting organized is so important. Knowing the specific things that you need to work on. Also making sure that you have a plan of when that’s getting done. So that was a problem that I had too is like I had this huge, never ending to do list. But I had no plan for how I was going to execute all of it, I had no strategy behind how I was going to prioritize those things. So it’s really important if you want to be a mom and a business owner to be organized, even though it might not come naturally to you.

Elizabeth: Yes, I love that. And it’s so true that like, I feel like I’m pretty organized person, but then having a child made me have to be like more organized, because it like requires a different level of like planning when you do have less time to work with being or more organized to how like, you’ve had to prioritize things working less hours.

What are some things you would say that maybe you’ve cut from your business? Or you would like say that listeners might would be like, hey, you know, say someone was seems like I have, you know, eight hours a week, like less than you even like to work? What are things they should consider cutting? Or like, maybe things that they’re doing that are that you’ve experienced in that aren’t really moving the needle forward? Possibly. Yeah, how to evaluate that?

Ashley: So I think the very first one that everyone can work on is social media consumption, and social media creation, that honestly took so much of my time, I spent so much time thinking about what I was going to post and creating content for that. And like just over like an overwhelming amount of time feeling like I needed to be on the platform all the time.

So that would be the first thing is I would really check your social media consumption, how much you’re consuming it but also how much you how much time you’re spending, being on it for your own business. And then I think a big thing that took a lot of my time to and this is more specific to photographers who are listening, but would be the post production of editing. Like that just took me so long and I think I was so fixated on it had to be perfect.

And that’s something I think that can just resonate with everyone listening is like that perfectionism of like, oh, it’s not done yet. Like I need to go do it again like three more times because it’s not perfect. And that just took too much time and now I’m like, I don’t have time. So like perfect is not an option perfect is not even available to anyone.

So I don’t know why I was always striving for it. But being okay with B work, right? It’s like you’ve heard that before, but it’s something that I really truly had to just be like, okay, I’m okay because it’s done and I can perfect did more later I can polish it later at least it’s done. So I think that that was really helpful for me too, is letting go of that perfectionism and just saying, okay,

Done is better than perfect.

Elizabeth: And that’s thing for so many of us like when we say like doing be work that can feel scary, but you’re doing work is probably a work when you’re like obsessing over it being so perfect. And that’s what you think a work is.

So find comfort in what Ashley saying that like you can do the work and it still be absolutely amazing for your clients and customers. With the phone and social media aspect of things. I’m curious, especially now with older kids, but even with younger kids, if you can think back to then. And I wish that many years ago, social media was also a lot different. But like, how do you not be on your phone when you’re working too much?

Like just scrolling Instagram, like we’re saying, or when you’re hanging out with your kids. And you’re like, Hey, I’m trying to have intentional time for you now it’s like, they can be very well like mom’s on her phone. I wouldn’t be on my phone, maybe you know, or whatever. Like there’s different situations and I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

Ashley: Oh, it’s it’s so hard. And it’s something that I have been struggling with for a while. And I think you guys can probably all relate to this. But I feel like Instagram has this like weird power over me. Where like, I open my phone and, my hand just gravitates to it, no matter where I put it, my finger finds it. And I’m like, why am I on Instagram? It’s weird. And I actually just heard someone else talk about this on the podcast. And as she was talking, I was like, yes, it literally has this like weird pull on you. And I don’t know what it is.

But it’s just anytime that I find myself grabbing for my phone, it was like I was going to Instagram. And I was scrolling on Instagram, comparing myself to every other photographer out there. This is something when I was I still struggle with this. But I think it was worse when my kids were little is that I would look at all these other photographers, all these other business owners who are so successful, and I would compare myself to them. And then it took me a long time to figure out like a lot of those photographers that I was comparing myself to they didn’t have kids, right? They didn’t have this really important piece to their life that changes everything. And like you said, you don’t know how much your life changes until you become a mom.

And so I think like, the biggest thing that I did that has helped me was delete the Instagram app, I just actually did an experiment and I deleted it for four weeks, and I didn’t have it. And it was actually really glorious. Like I loved it, I loved not having the pressure of getting on, I still feel this pressure of like you have to be there.

You’re a business owner, you have to be there. So I still have that pressure. But I really do feel like God is working in my heart that I need to let go of that. So I’m I’m back on Instagram for a while I’ve got my Summit coming up that we can talk about more. But it I feel like I should be on there right now. Because I have all these speakers that are counting on me to promote the summit. And so it’s I really honestly just feel like it’s this app that is controlling a lot of us. And so deleting it has been honestly amazing. But boundaries, I think are really important.

So one thing that I did to help just limit my own consumption was I started charging my phone in another room at night. So I wasn’t going to bed on my phone. And I also wasn’t waking up on my phone. And so that has been a huge game changer for me, like I’ve seen my screen time decrease just because of that.

I also tried to just put my phone down in our charging drawer when my kids are home. Otherwise, I am really really like just tempted to just grab my phone for no reason, like you can see on your phone, how many times you pick up your phone, and it’s just insane. So keeping it out of sight. And just having those boundaries, I feel like has been what’s helped me stay off of it.

Elizabeth: Yeah, I’m glad I asked you that, because you had insightful answers there. And when you’re off of social media for those four weeks, were you literally not posting from anywhere, or were you just not using it on your phone?

Ashley: So I was I’m trying to kind of use Facebook more, honestly, because I feel like Instagram, people are going on Instagram to be entertained. And I feel like their attention span is just so short on Instagram. And I’m noticing that on a lot. I would say probably like 90% of my conversions are coming from Facebook.

And so I kind of was like I kind of want to stop using Instagram and more focus on like my facebook community and being in more like local Facebook groups and like really cultivating more local relationships versus, you know, being on Instagram where I’m just competing with a lot of noise. So that was kind of the experiment is like be on Facebook, but not Instagram.

So I got on Instagram only to check messages like on the desktop site. And then every week that I have a new podcast episode I would at least you know, upload. So it’s on my feed of my most recent episode.

Elizabeth: I like that balance and how Yeah, explaining that. And yeah, I can see that. Well, Facebook. Yeah, I still love Facebook. And I also love Facebook groups and all that. So I’m with you on like, I think Facebook’s great. Okay, I love that though. And I love the thought of like, you know, you’re off Instagram for those four weeks, but it was not like, I’m telling everyone, I’m deleting Instagram forever, and you’re never gonna see me again, but still showing up in some ways to continue running your business. I mean, I’d love to be kept in the loop of what you end up designing about, like doing Instagram for your business.

What is the fourth strategy for maintaining our sanity as moms and business owners?

Ashley: This one’s really important, too.

#4 Is to Be Realistic

because I can’t tell you what my capacity used to be like before having kids, but man, it was greater, I had so much more energy, I got so much more done. Obviously, there were less distractions, and I was so much more productive.

However, having kids I really do think has helped me be more efficient, because there’s a huge difference between being productive, and being efficient. And productive is basically just meaning you’re getting a lot of stuff done. But efficient means you’re getting a lot of the right stuff done. And so that is what I think is more important, especially as moms, so I have become way more efficient. Since having kids I have had, you know, I have to be more clear on my priorities, because I don’t have a bunch of time to waste.

But I want you to be really realistic with yourself about your capacity and what you can handle. Because what you can handle now is very different than what you used to be able to handle. And for you, Elizabeth, what you can handle now with an 18 month old is going to be very different than what you can handle when your child is eight, right?

And when, like so you just you have to take into consideration your season and how much time you actually have to devote to certain things. And giving yourself grace to know that it’s okay that you can’t do everything right now, doesn’t mean you’re not going to be able to get to it in the future doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility tomorrow just means you need to be really realistic about what you can get done and how much you can do. I also think this is really super important when you’re even just talking about like a time block.

Like I used to sit down and time block my schedule and be like, Okay, I’m gonna batch all my tasks in this time block. And then I would look at the tasks and I’d be like, there’s absolutely no way I can get six things done in three hours. Why did they think that was possible?

So being really realistic, helps to know and I think just a really quick, practical strategy of how you can be realistic is to actually track your time. How long is it taking you to write your social media captions? How long is it taking you to create that blog post? How long is it taking you to edit that session? And then you can be realistic, when you sit down to block that out, oh, I have this session I need to edit, I have this thing I need to do. Normally it takes me about two hours. So now I’m going to be realistic about the amount of time it will take me to get it done.

Elizabeth: I love that because it is when we are doing work we really love and we get in the zone with it. We will like you’re saying you might be like I’m gonna get all six of these tasks done. But then once you really get rolling, I especially as creatives, I know for me, like when I’m designing something, it’s like I could say I’m only gonna work on an hour, but then I’m like, here’s three hours. I’m like, I can keep going because it’s so funny. Get in the zone. So yeah, tracking your time is huge. What do you use for tracking your time? I use toggle. Yeah. Okay, I use toggle as well. It’s cool too, because I’m sure Asana has this as well. clickup has a way to track time in it, where it’s like you can track it on the task, which is really cool. So that’s another.

Ashley: I think it comes back to that ideal week again, because in your ideal week, there should be margin, there should be time for your self care, there should be time for all those fundamental needs, right. And your work should only fit into those containers that you have set aside for work. If your work is exceeding the amount of time you have to give to it, then you need to pare down your work.

That’s my thought process is like, creating this ideal week has really given me the freedom to be like, Okay, this is my time to do household things not to work, this is my time that I’m going to go out with my friends not to work. And like I have that scheduled in there. Because I know that’s what I need. And so I just have to be really diligent about the fact that I have those time blocks for a reason for my work. And again, I can only fit what I can fit in those time blocks.

So what I would also recommend is to just regularly assess. So if you’re seeing that you are adding a lot of tasks and a lot of tasks are getting bumped, then you need to go assess and say, What do I need to change? Because clearly, I can’t have 18 tasks due today. That’s not realistic. That’s not going to happen.

So what do I need to do? What do I need to delegate? What do I need to let go of what perfectionism do I need to release? Because a lot of this I feel like is pressure we put on ourselves that no one else is putting on us. Right?

Like I always want to over deliver and give my clients their galleries way far in advance. But that’s pressure I’m putting on myself, that’s not something that they’re expecting of me. So I think it’s just regularly checking in with your to do list and making sure that it’s reasonable and realistic and not out of control.

Elizabeth: Yeah, I love that. And I love how you’re, I mean, the thing I’m hearing from myself in that even is like just creating a lot of structure to where you’re not letting work slip in. But you’re like to find out ahead of time that like I’m doing this other thing right now. And so this thing has its place here work has its place here. It is a really is just so different once you have kids with that, because I am like, I can feel like time scarcity, sometimes even when it doesn’t exist just because I’m like, Oh, my God, naptime started.

Now what am I going to do? You know, because you’re trying to like manage it all? Well. And for me, sometimes when I’m feeling that way, the best thing I can do is like nothing, like just be like I’m gonna let myself be like, not productive right now. Even around the house. I’m just gonna, like sit here and give myself some time to just do nothing. And that’s been helpful for me. Yeah, I love that though. Yeah, that’s awesome.

Okay, so another question I have for you to kind of close this out really, before we get into rapid fire questions. But for a mom listening who is feeling like, I’m really burnt out right now, I feel like I can’t do the business and mom thing. I’m not doing well. I’m juggling too much. What would you say to her?

Ashley: Well, first of all, you’re not alone. We all feel like that. Every mom that has a business, if they tell you that they don’t feel like the work life balance is impossible some days, they’re lying.

Oh my gosh, it’s so hard. Like some days I’m crying. And I’m like, why am I doing this. And the next day, I’m like, This is amazing. Like, it’s just a roller coaster ride. And you have to have people on your side that get what you’re going through.

Because that’s actually why I started my in person community was because I was like, I just need to know that there are other moms that are ambitious, that are killing it in business. And that also like struggle. Like I need to know that I’m not alone. So that’s why I started that community. But I think there is beauty and hope and knowing that you’re not alone, and that it’s not easy. Like it’s not for the faint of heart to do both. It’s it’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

And it’s all about, as we mentioned that prioritizing this self care and giving your kids what they need and being organized enough that you’re getting the most important things done first. And then you’re putting your business in. It’s all about that prioritization, that organization and then being realistic. Like I just I think these are the keys.

This is what I have found over my almost 12 years of being a mom and a business owner is that when you get these priorities straight, everything else falls into place.

Mama, I hope these 4 tips for self care really spoke to you, and you enjoyed my conversation with Elizabeth!

Make sure to go check out her website template shop Elizabeth’s Showit Templates | Use code ashley10 for 10% off

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My mission is to help fellow mom business owners experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for mompreneurs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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