Being a working mum in the wedding industry definitely has its ups and downs! Being a working mum in any role is full on, but as I work within the wedding industry it made sense to write a blog on that!
A little background on my journey to parenthood and being a working mum
We found out we were pregnant in January 2020, I had big plans to work the year photographing weddings until my son was born in October. However, unforeseen by us, COVID reared its ugly head and scuppered those plans! Having recently quit my full time job with that ‘2020 will be my year’ attitude, I was then left unemployed, all weddings cancelled, no income, pregnant and not eligible for any government grants. Bugger. The one positive I take away from it all is that I didn’t have to be heavily pregnant and on my feet for 10hrs photographing weddings every weekend! But pregnancy was lonely, no one could visit, appointments were over the phone and Rich was waiting in the car whilst I had scans to find out if our baby was doing ok. Barney was born on 13th October 2020, healthy and happy and the cutest little jelly bean shaped head little squidge we could ever ask for.
I was back photographing weddings in April 2021. There were still restrictions on weddings but they were happening again and I was over the moon to be back doing what I love. I had 6 wonderful months off with Barney but was ready to get back to it! But my god, being a full time mum and full time photographer is HARD! Working in the wedding industry is wonderful and wild but also tiring and backbreaking. The pros of being a working mum in the wedding industry are that you can choose to work when you want and take on weddings that work around your family schedule. Or so I thought! The reality is that in order to make an income that is sustainable to live, I actually have to take on a lot of work and then have to try and find willing friends, family and childcare professionals to look after my son whilst I’m off snapping weddings. And that’s not even all of it! There’s the editing, admin, marketing, social media, training… the list goes on and on and on! It’s a huge juggle to balance it all, the 3 loves of my life; my son, my marriage and photographing weddings! (But I am oh so grateful to have those 3 things to juggle in the first place!)
My experience of being a working mum
I am so grateful to be in the working mum club and wouldn’t change it for the world. I love being a mum and I love my job. I know it sounds like a lot of moaning but that’s because it’s also bloody hard! A vast majority of employed working mums have full time childcare or family nearby to help out, and can leave their work at the office, and we have none of those things. I get up at 5:30am with Barney, go to a wedding at 10am, come home at midnight and then up again at 5:30 the next day to resume mum duties, editing in the 2hr (if that!) nap time slot in the middle of the day and into the night when B is in bed. To make it even harder, my husband works long shifts so is often not home to help out (but we are so thankful for his stable job!). Being a working mum is a double edged sword, that’s for sure.
Other working mums in the wedding industry
There are a lot of us working mums in the wedding industry, and this was really highlighted for me when I was photographing Marc & Anne-Marie’s wedding in July 2021 (see their colourful wedding blog post here!) I guess it’s like when you get a new car and then suddenly you see that car EVERYWHERE. My mum radar is whirring away now and we’re everywhere! Barney was 9 months when I photographed A&M’s wedding, and when they told me of their other suppliers I was thrilled to see other working mums in the mix.
Clare, from Petal and Bird made Anne-Marie’s bridal bouquet out of paper (honestly so talented, look her up!) and has a sweet baby girl.
And Lucy from the amazing Lucy Can’t Dance who made Anne-Marie’s dip dye wedding dress announced she was pregnant shortly before A&M’s wedding and now has a gorgeous baby girl.
Being a self employed, full time mum is both an absolute joy and an uphill climb. We are being pulled in all directions and just about keeping our head above water at all times. As the wedding season is starting to come into full swing for 2022, spare a thought for all the mamas out there working their butts off to be a good mum and to do their absolute best to make their clients wedding the best day of their lives.
Advice for working mums, from working mums:
Me: Prioritise. Make time for work and make time for family, even if that is literally booking time out in your diary to have a family day. Sleep well where you can and eat well and when that fails, Berocca. Also, outsource where you can! You physically can’t do it all. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Toni from Toni Searle MUA: “I’m currently working almost full time on top of weddings at weekends, and with a toddler + 1 on the way it is very tiring! But I have a huge goal to work for myself which keeps me going and I want to show my kids that they can do whatever they love, it’s always possible. My tip for other mums is to prioritise the most important jobs and don’t worry about getting every single thing done, give yourself a break when you need to.”
How can you support a working mum this wedding season?
Here’s a few ways you can support working mums in the wedding industry this wedding season:
- Send them a message of encouragement
- Shout them out on social media
- Offer to help out where you can, especially if they don’t have a lot of support around them
- If you’re getting married, book them for your wedding!
- And finally, but probably most importantly, chocolate is ALWAYS welcome
Some of my favourite wedding industry working mama shout outs:
- Nichola from GroveFlora
- Becky from OliveJoy Photography
- Jess from Jessica Lily Photography
- Hannah from Hannah MacGregor Photography
- Anna from Anna Rowlandson Photography