"The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason"

Slow season. It is a season I always crave but always struggle with. A season that I get triggered by and brings me down this rabbit hole of questioning all my why's and reasons.

I said to my husband recently how being a photographer is hard because your either so busy that your burning yourself out or your so slow that you go stir crazy and end up going through this Spiraling Out Of Control web of emotions. I know this is not the case for every photographer and so many have found ways to pivot but for me its always been a struggle. Slow Season for me equals questioning of not feeling enough.

Admittingly I have always struggled with feelings of not being enough or feeling enough but it wasn't until recently that I started to piece it all together. To be honest I think this struggle came to a head for me when I came back into the workforce after having a baby. I haven't really written about my struggles during this time before but I truly think this particular transition to a slow season of my life years ago is the reason I struggle so personally on a yearly basis. I also truly believe in the power of vulnerability and I think for me to truly move forward I need to acknowledge my past and let it go. So here we go.....

Coming out of my maternity leave I applied and got my dream job for an organization I wanted to work for forever. I was thrilled. I had all these ideas and visions about how I could apply all my past experience to this position. I was just so excited about all the possibilities that laid ahead.

However, the position I applied for was a maternity leave position, and therefore it wasn't permanent. I went in with these high hopes that I'd make a difference like I had done before and it would all work out. Sadly that would not be the case and it was made pretty clear early into the position that I was just going to be temporary. I didn't feel empowered, I was kind of told to do things as they were always done and not make any changes. I didn't really feel apart of the team or organization. I didn't feel celebrated or heard. I don't have any ill feelings they were just a very well oiled team and there wasn't really a role or place for me. I lost alot of confidence in myself this year, and was a version of myself that I didn't recognize.

I was also struggling mentally and emotionally with the transition of being a working mom. I felt like I couldn't give a 100% in any area, felt underappreciated, taken advantage of and just really struggled with the juggle of working, photography and motherhood. I was lost and disappointed and ultimately just didn't feel like I belonged.

I ended up connecting with the coordinator of this position a year after I left. I shared with her what I felt I could have done differently but I also what I had learnt from the experience. We talked about how there is always opportunities to learn and grow as individuals and as organizations and to this day its words of inspiration that have stayed with me.

After this position I stepped back into my old organization for a team that knew me and saw my worth. I was asked back for my relationship and skills that I had with the team as the coordinator at the time had been diagnosed with cancer. For the first time in a while I had felt seen, I felt apart of change that was welcomed and encouraged. Looking back I am truly thankful for this experience that I had with this remarkable team. I am also thankful for the director who saw my worth at the time.

In the end the coordinator who I was supporting passed away and to this day I have struggled so much with this. I have alot of moments that replay in my head that I wish I did differently. In alot of ways I felt like I let her down and should of been more of support for her and not so much focused on the team. To her family there is not a day that goes by where I don't think about your mom. She was affectionately what I called my work mom, someone who took me under her wing the moment I started at the organization. Her impact was huge and I truly wish I could have done more to make her see that and feel that.

Around her passing I got a lot of pressure to work full time and at one stage was told in front of the team that if I didn't they wouldn't be complete. Being centered out like I was, was difficult as I just felt like I was letting the team down. I felt in that moment that no matter how hard I worked or the work I had done it was never going to be enough for the organization unless I was full time employee. This wasn't feasible nor what I wanted as a mother so I stepped away from a team and role I truly loved and from a role that I felt good at. The feelings of worth and feeling not enough once again creeped its ugly head.

All of a sudden I went from a place where I was juggling and burning myself out to a slow season in my life, hello triggers :) Don't get me wrong I have been excited to focus solely on photography, to be a more present and available mom but the last 4 years has not been easy. I have felt like a shadow at times watching others achieve things that I wondered if I could of if I didn't chose the path I did. While I celebrated the people in my life I felt forgotten and unintentionally taken advantage of. I have felt at times that I lost a piece of who I was. It has not been easy.

Motherhood is hard y'all. Being a photographer and a business owner is challenging and slow season is a mental challenge for me. It has hit differently for me this year as I feel I am at a bit of a crossroads at the moment not entirely sure the direction I want to go. I have also seen so many photographers I follow recently announce taking a break and to them I see you and feel you. We all have our own stories and struggles that we are working through and slow season highlights that for alot of us.

I share my thoughts also from a motherhood perspective as I do think as a society we still have such a long way to go in terms of supporting moms in the workplace and societies general view of parent roles within the home and at work. I seriously could go on and on about this topic based on past experiences and is often why you will see in my socials me share this topic often.

For example Jillian Harris recently shared an alarming statistic about changes in parents employment status before and after the birth of a first child. Did you know that for every child a woman has her income decrease by 4% while men's income increase by 6% when they become fathers.

Did you also know that the average amount by which a woman's probability of being employed declines during the ten years after the birth of their first child. My daughter turns 10 this year and I have applied for a few different jobs this year and to be honest I am feeling this statistic to the core. I have gaps on my resume even though I have been a photographer ever since and I have done various social media positions my main role these past 5 years is not listed and that is motherhood. Not going to lie I have contemplated putting it on my resume :)

The bottom line and what I learnt from my above experiences is that workplaces need to do better, they need to be more flexible and supportive to moms and perhaps just a bit more aware.

But in all honesty I write all of this in an effort to truly let go of the past as I think I have held on to all of these feelings for so long that it has kind of stopped me from moving forward.

So even though there are days I wish I could change some things that happened in the past. I truly believe this quote that "There's a reason the rear view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big, as where your headed is much more important than what you've left behind.