January 21, 2020
In today’s episode, Lindsey and Evie are chatting about kicking booty as a mom AND a business woman.
Lindsey and Evie sit down for raw heart to heart chat about balancing motherhood and a career. Lindsey breaks down her journey of never wanting to have kids to wanting all the babies, balancing how to prioritize your kids while also running a business, maternity leave, breastfeeding as a busy entrepreneur, traveling with kids, mom shaming, and so much more.
I grew up as an only child which played a huge role in my motherhood mindset. I was never really exposed to kids and was always incredibly independent.
I watched others graduate and stay in the same town and I knew I never wanted to do that. I wanted to be successful and I think I always equated that with someone who didn’t focus on having children, but rather focused on a career. Even though this isn’t true, it was the lie I fed myself and believed.
When I first started dating Andrew, we were in a park chatting about having kids. When Andrew asked me how many kids I wanted, I replied, “zero”. He said he wanted ten. We were on dramatic ends of the spectrum and knew it was something we needed to figure out.
In the back of my mind, I knew I was being melodramatic about not wanting kids. If I thought about where I saw myself in ten years the same image always came to mind: me and my husband with kids running around an apple orchard in the fall. But, at the same time, I always dreamed of having a star in Hollywood on the Walk of Fame. There was a duality of what I wanted my life to look like.
I believed this lie that if I had kids, my entire life would be consumed by them. The examples of motherhood I was exposed to at the time was chaos and mess and I wanted my life to be prim, proper, clean, and put together. I drew the conclusion that kids prevented you from achieving your goals.
Deep down I always knew I wanted kids, but there was a disconnect from the apple orchard picture in my head and my mindset at the time. I knew I had to make moves and actions in my life to get to the picture of my family.
When we got married, we originally wanted to wait five years before having children. When we moved to Hawaii, I met my friend, Sena Nelson, who at the time had two kids and was pregnant and now has four kids. Through our friendship I saw an example of motherhood that was different than what I saw before. As I watched Sena be a mom day in and day out, even in the chaos, I noticed it didn’t take over her life. I think it was then that I realized that just because you have kids does not mean that it consumes your entire life or that you disappear, unless you choose to. God slowly started using Sena to chip away the wall I had in my heart around motherhood and learned it can be beautiful.
I found out I was pregnant in October 2018. Seeing the plus sign on the pregnancy test honestly made my jaw drop. I knew I was in a season of transition, and was ready for it, but it didn’t really hit until I saw the positive test. In that moment I knew my life was about to change. God used the duration of my pregnancy to open up my mindset of being a mom.
Now, little Eloise is here, and I’m even ready for more! I am so excited to be a mom but also have a career and show Eloise that just because you are a mom doesn’t mean that you have to let your dreams die.
First and foremost, giving myself grace. I don’t work near as much as I did before Eloise and that’s okay. I learned how to be more intentional with work. I use to work 15 hour days and not really get anything done. Now I need to get into the deep work zone when Eloise is asleep or I have a sitter.
It’s all about balancing and utilizing her nap times, when Andrew is home and can watch her, or when I have a sitter.
Overall, it’s giving myself grace. When I don’t get as much done as I did before, that is okay. Because I am more intentional with my time, since I do not have much of it, ironically I think I am technically getting more done.
I’ve learned to not be afraid to bring her with me. I would obviously never bring her to a wedding, but if I have a mentor session I might bring her along. It’s being flexible and figuring out the balance of it all. Giving yourself grace is key.
I do try to get away from the mom guilt that comes if I am working and not playing with her. This doesn’t mean I am a “bad mom”. Or if you are a badass mom and consistently being with your kids there is guilt that your clients are falling to the wayside or you aren’t working on your business enough. Guilt plagues both of those mindsets. I try to be strategic. When I am working I am 100% at work and when I am with Eloise I am 100% with her.
I can be an amazing mom and career woman. It is prioritizing and strategizing each role in a certain time.
We found out in October of 2018 that we were pregnant. At that time, I had 6 weddings and they were all in June and July of 2019. I had nothing booked the entire rest of the year.
I heard from other moms that taking a three month maternity leave is incredible. I know not everyone can do this, but if you can, I highly recommend it! If you are a mom, you understand. For the first two months you don’t feel like yourself and your child isn’t really sleeping through the night. You are pretty much up for three months straight.
I knew I wasn’t willing to sacrifice this time. I wanted to have those special moments with her in the first three months and so that is what I did. I blocked off three months.
When I found out I was pregnant I blocked off everything until after September 1st. For all the weddings I already booked, I emailed every single bride personally and laid out the situation. I already had it in my contract that if there was a life or death situation I would have an associate photographer, that the bride agreed upon, shoot their wedding.
Some brides were more understanding than others. I offered them multiple options of associate shooters so I could serve them in the best way possible. I gave them a ton of photographers that I knew would kill it on their wedding day. I told them I was still their photographer in every other sense of the word. I will still help you plan your wedding and edit your photos. I will do everything except show up to shoot the wedding.
I intended to not book anything after mid May, but the Lord was faithful in that and I didn’t even get any bookings in May. My last wedding was mid April and I just had a few sessions at the end of April.
I saw it happen even before I became a mom. There was one time I was storying one of my friend’s kids and they were in their carseat and my friend got mom shamed through me! Someone DMed me that my friend’s car seat seatbelt was not in the correct position. Like, no.
Calm down and stay in your lane. Let me do my job as a mother. That is how I feel about mom shaming and unsolicited advice in general.
I got another message when I was dancing. We are known for our dance videos and 99% of the time people are amazing and supportive. I was doing a few dancing videos when I was pregnant and I got a few comments that told me I was going to shake her. Again, like no I am not. I know what I am doing and I am not going to jolt her. I am in control and I know how I am moving.
Mom shaming is a real thing and because of it I am a little more careful about when I show her on my stories. I know how to parent my baby and I know whether she is safe or not. Everyone else can sit down and go home.
My journey has been interesting. Right when we got home after birth, Eloise had a bit of trouble latching. As a new mom it’s hard to know what to do. I was frustrated that she would start latching and break off and be fussy. I didn’t know what was normal and people don’t talk about these things.
For awhile we had a good stride and I prided myself at being awesome at breastfeeding. Then, we took a trip to San Diego and I didn’t bring a pump or anything. That whole trip, we noticed she would start screaming every time we breastfed. I thought it was because of my milk. I tried cutting dairy out and it still wasn’t working. I was so confused because she would still feed, but then start fussing.
We talked with our midwife and pediatrician to figure out what was happening. At the time, I was creating a stash for when I was shooting a wedding. My midwife had me do an exercise one day. When I was breastfeeding Eloise and she started to get fussy, she had me thaw out a thing of milk and give it to her in a bottle. I did that and she was totally fine. We realized it wasn’t the quality it was the quantity; she was fussing because there was not enough.
That was hard for me because I was getting more stressed that I wasn’t producing enough milk for her at the time, and definitely not enough to create a stock. As a working mom I knew I needed a stock, that was a non negotiable. There was a month that I was in a panic. I knew I didn’t want to switch to formula because I felt that if I couldn’t feed my child I was worthless. Even though this isn’t true it plays with your mind so much. I tried everything under the sun for a week or two to up my milk supply from supplements to pumping every two hours. Nothing happened and nothing would work. It was so soul sucking. At the same time I started working again so I was trying to balance pumping every two hours, watching Eloise, and running a business.
We talked with our pediatrician and she laid out the options of what we could do to supplement formula. Whenever she would start fussing we would top it off with goat milk to supplement. For awhile, I continued to breastfeed but eventually it started to get worse. I got to the point where I was losing my mind. I knew I wasn’t being a happy mom for her by stressing this much over my milk supply. Stressing diminished my supply even more.
I got to the point where we had to call it and go to formula. That’s what we did not too long ago. It’s so hard to not feel like a failure as a mom. I had to get over myself, because fed is best. She is happy. She is healthy. I am happy. I am healthy. Now, this is what works best for us.
It has been such a journey of giving myself grace and even in this season knowing I am enough. If my child is fed by formula that is totally fine.
Just give yourself grace and know that you are the best mom you can be. Someone told me once that I am the exact mom that Eloise needs. God gave her to me. No matter how I feed her and how she is getting her nourishment as long as I show up and am happy and healthy, she is going to be happy and healthy. This is what I had to remember. I am not a failure if I can’t breastfeed. I was upset for awhile because it felt like it was being taken from me. It wasn’t a choice to stop. I eventually had to give up control and stop forcing every situation to happen.
What we are doing works really well for our lifestyle. I do work and it is nice to have the option to hand the bottle to someone else and ask them to feed her if I need help.
But it was really hard. I wanted to be the mom that breastfed for a year or more and it felt like it was taken to me. I know so many people can relate. Honestly, however you want to feed your child is best. It is so important for people to know that you are not a failure if you choose formula over breastfeeding or if you were forced to go to formula. If you breastfeed for forever and have that bond, that’s amazing.
Right now I keep her at home with me. Mainly because she is so small and I want to treasure these special moments. I also keep her at home because I can. I have a job that I am blessed to have the flexibility to work the hours I want to work or take a day off when I want to. I am blessed and I know that. I really enjoy my time alone with her.
The way I balance that is chugging out work during her naptime or having a babysitter come once a week. When Andrew is home I will watch her in the morning and get a little bit of work done, but when he gets home he is on dad duty so I can have an intentional few hours to focus on work.
Right now I bring her with me when I travel. I am able to do this because she is so young and relatively easy.
I even brought her to our workshop in Seattle. A lot of people questioned how I was going to do this. If I had a session or moment I needed to be on, I had a friend take over.
If I had a destination wedding and Andrew wasn’t available I would probably hire a nanny for the week or have a family member fly out to help. I would recommend having your child stay with close friends for the week or having your family watch them or your spouse.
There are two different viewpoints of motherhood and they conflict with each other. There is one that we are really dealing with now in our culture where people shame a mom if she is “just a stay at home mom”. It’s the viewpoint that your worth as a woman is diminished if you are only a mom and don’t have a career. That is one camp of thought. The other is an older mindset. It is the thought that mothers are supposed to be the homemaker and stay in the house and you are looked down upon if you do work.
These two camps of thoughts are always conflicting with each other. As women and moms we can never win. If we are stay at home moms and don’t work it’s shamed and if you have a career as a mom you are also shamed.
In these two camps of thought it’s impossible to please anybody.
I recently shared a post with the intention of sharing how I brought Eloise to the workshop with me. It was just an encouragement to women out there who want to do both– to be a career woman and a mom. So many people were supporting that caption, but I had a ton of people saying that if you are just a stay at home mom you are not unworthy. I was just trying to explain that if you want a career and to be a mom, you can have both. And if you don’t want both, that’s amazing too.
It’s a struggle because you can never win when talking about that topic.
Being a mom is such a gift and one of the best jobs you will ever have. There is nothing more powerful than being a mother and raising up the next generation.
I feel like when moms get asked what they do they will often say they are “just a stay at home mom.” They insert the word “just”. Get that word out of your vocabulary because you are not just a stay at home mom you are “A Stay at Home Mom, CEO”. You are in charge of raising the next generation and there is power in that. Hold on to that.
Grossest is spitting up. I swear she waits to spit up until I hold her above my head and then I have to dodge the spit up.
Funniest is when she coos or smiles at strangers. On airplanes she is the talk of the town and the star of the show.
I just think she is the cutest baby. I know I am her mom and biased, but I think even if I was a stranger I would think she is the cutest. I dress her so she is especially cute and people in public always come up to her. She will always show that sweet smile.
I don’t have any siblings, so obviously Evie.
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