I'm Brianna. Pennsylvania based wedding + portrait photographer. My hair is typically in a messy bun, I usually have a baby on my hip, and I never say no to cake. I want photographs to feel as good as they look, and my overly sentimental, married, momma heart knows the weight of soulful photographs all too well.

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October 3, 2016

Full Time Mom, Full Time Business Owner

Here we are, October 3rd. It came entirely too fast. The past 6 weeks have been a sleepy, emotional, happy, crazy blur. I haven’t blogged a single thing since I went on maternity leave. I had high hopes of posting some senior & portrait sessions I had photographed at the end of summer to keep my blog “busy” while I was on leave, however, it just didn’t happen.

I have so many feelings on my heart right now. They are being clouded as Charlotte cries in the background with Justin. Cute as that little girl is & gosh I love her awful, she is just a needy handful right now. Our square social media images of life look so lovely but let me tell you, we are not perfect. There have been many nights of crying – me AND Charlotte. Thank God for Justin who is always Mr. Patient/Cool/Glass half full kinda guy. If I could have managed a selfie the other day on our first solo trip to the grocery store with my (wishful) third arm as we crossed the raining parking lot, poop oozing out of her diaper, while I’m trying not to get said poop on me (because I didn’t think to pack ME an extra shirt, lesson learned), on the way to the bathroom in the back corner of the store…well it wouldn’t have been the most pretty, perfect picture. Breastfeeding frustrations, growth spurts, gas galore, and just downright wanting her momma 24-7 right now has made it a tiring few weeks. Plus…newborns are tiring in the first place, right? I feel like she is my new appendage at this point :) All of this I’m okay with, however, I cannot accomplish much with a baby in my arms all the time….which brings me to my point of expectations.

I was expecting to go on leave and not work at all.
I was expecting to have a normal delivery.
I was expecting to not photograph anything while I was away.
I was expecting to cope much better with such little sleep.
I was expecting to be okay with a dirty, hot mess house amongst it all.
I was expecting to manage my full time business from home, by myself, AND be a full time stay at home mom with no day care, baby sitters, etc.
I was expecting to have a 6 week old baby, book my October and November solid, and manage it just fine.

My expectations were and have been wrecked.

I worked all leave long. The reality of owning your own business is that you can’t turn it off whether you so desperately want to or not. Your mind is always there, your emails are always piling up, people always need you, and the list goes on. Plus I’m just Type A and have a hard time letting go of control to others when it comes to my business.
I ended up with a C-section after 3 days of labor and 3.5 hours of pushing.
Turns out, I am not a productive human being when I’m up every 2-3 hours.
I am way too OCD to let my house go. As if we will all melt if there is dirt on the floor and dishes in the sink. *insert eye roll*
I realized I bit off a whole lot more than I can chew for October & November with a new baby at home.

In October, I have 4 weddings, 8 engagement sessions, 4 senior sessions, 3 client meetings, planning an editorial shoot, and a lot of these things require travel. Not to mention, my own life things: doctors appointments, family parties, visitors, and our anniversary. We wont even bring up November right now :) Some photographers out there may roll their eyes and give me the, “WELL I’M DOING….” spiel.

I’m listing this out simply because for me, this is a lot. For ME as a new mom to a baby who basically only wants to breastfeed every 2-3 hours and is very needy for me in particular right now, this is a lot.

Logistically and physically, I can barely manage hopping in the shower and feeding myself in between her really short naps/feedings let alone editing thousands of images, managing email responses in less than 24 hours, planning timelines, running business errands, designing albums, getting weddings on the blog in less than 5 days, the list goes on.  My expectations of myself, what our house *needs* to look like, what I need to look like, my work hours… is all having to change. I know that this is not convenient for clients, customers, brides, families, everyone and I am very sorry. I thought I could handle doing all the things, all alone, and I just cant as I don’t have a third arm or enough hours in the day or can function on zero sleep.

So now what? Well I’m on the search and praying it out.
Do I have a nanny come into our home a few days a week to help with things? But I’m way too paranoid and a control freak to bring a stranger into our house that I don’t know, who doesn’t know Charlie, oh that is just a topic in itself.
Do I hire an assistant to help with photography things – emailing, album design, blogging, accounting, etc?
Do I hire more of a hybrid, personal assistant to help me with both? So I can be with Charlie during this vulnerable time and they can help with house stuff / Charlie / and business stuff?

So many thoughts. So why am I telling you this and putting it out there? Because it affects everything in my business right now and this blog is my storefront & my heart. I should have not scheduled half the things I did for October. I should have known I’d need help and plan for it in advance. I should have done a lot of things to better prepare so I could care for Charlotte and continue to run my business with temporary different expectations. So yes, my maternity leave is over. However, it was never 100 percent there and my life will never be the same. I plan to get through Christmas and try my hardest to keep everyone happy and will be re-evaluating what I can/want to handle after that. I have met my 2017 wedding quota and will continue to decide how much more I want to add to that schedule. Maybe my business will take a different path in the future? Mmmm…

One last expectation that was totally blown out of the water: the feeling of being a mother It’s the most wonderful, best thing I have ever felt.  I am sure women everywhere are laughing as they read this post because they have 3+ kids to take care or have multiple at home and run their business effectively or will roll their eyes at what I have to say about motherhood as if it’s a totally new concept. But to me…IT IS! I could stare at this baby all day. I have a whole new patience for her that I have never had and I am not a patient person. You just immediately want the best for this new little life and want to do everything you can to lead them in the most Jesus like fashion, smother them with affection, and never miss a moment. All while being filled with an immense fear of anything that can hurt them and how to prevent it. Everything else in the world really does fade away and this little baby consumes you in the best way. I can also say that seeing Justin cradle this tiny little, pink blanket wrapped baby in his arms makes me melt. He is so delicate with her. I never thought I could love him more.

As overwhelmed and worried and stressed as I am about navigating how to be full time for Charlotte AND full time to my business (while not melting from the dirt on the floor)…I just sigh because I know the emails will always be there. I won’t be caught up for a while. There will always be a pile of images to be edited. Tucker will continue to shed at an exponential rate. I will continue to dream and scheme and wonder how I will make it all happen. But these moments with my baby girl are not always going to be there. She won’t be this little for long. The things we are doing with her now will have lasting impact. At the end of the day, she needs her momma right now.

So I ask for your grace and your patience as we figure out how to handle this new phase in life. I will do my best to answer your emails, edit your images in a timely fashion, and get things done. However, I just can’t do it as quick as I could before right now. If you want to see the latest of our little strawberry babe, you can always check out my baby infested instagram.

PS – Mothers of multiples are saints. Super women. They should be worshipped and have wine on tap and a live in massage therapist. And a magic wand to make all the house work do itself. Mothers of many little people that ALSO run their full time small business…they should run for president. And email me their secrets.

PSS – I love you Holly Wilbur. I need you now more than ever and you’re the best motherly example. HUG YO MOMMA PEOPLE! 

  1. These photos are all so incredibly perfect. Love this, and you!

  2. Laura says:

    You go girl. You will get through this. Charlotte is lucky to have such a hardworking, loving, dedicated and devoted mama! This too shall pass. And another favorite cliche, god doesn’t give us anything he can’t reach us to handle.

  3. Brianna Wilbur you are completely completely amazing. You’ve got your priorities 100% right where they need to be right now :) Will be praying for God to fill each day with enough strength to make it through the craziness of this season… with tons of joy and extra baby snuggles, too <3 Love you and so inspired by you, always.

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