Today Ali from Mama Bear Photography tells us her Motherhood and Me (M.a.M) story about how she came to be running her own business. This is something I can relate to as Baby & Me was formed when I was made redundant from my job as an Arts teacher just after my baby was born. Thanks for getting involved Ali and sharing your journey!
Being made redundant whilst pregnant and the baby business that followed…
I consider myself to be an extremely lucky person. I married my childhood sweetheart in 2015, after being together for 12 years, in Orlando, Florida and we spent half of our wedding day on rides at DisneyWorld, eating fish & chips at Epcot and watching the fireworks. We bought out first house together when we got back from Orlando and after just a couple of months we found out we were pregnant with our first baby.
Other than living in a bungalow that resembled more of a bomb site than a home, and a couple of overnight hospital stays due to migraines and alternating low and high blood pressure, I had a wonderful pregnancy and we welcomed our gorgeous Solo (after Han Solo from Star Wars) into the world in January 2016. My husband and I worked together for the same company and although I wouldn’t call our jobs stable we were happy and loved our time raising our baby boy together.
In April 2017 we found out we were lucky enough to be having another baby and were over the moon! A little brother or sister for our Solo! In terms of our work, there had been numerous changes made so we finally felt like we had stable jobs and it was an exciting time for us to be welcoming another baby. A month later we were made redundant from the company we both worked for.
The prospect of not having jobs while raising two young children came as quite a shock initially, however I am lucky enough to have a very supportive Husband and we both sat down and thought about what we wanted from our lives and what would help us get there. For 6 years I was a family lifestyle and wedding photographer alongside my day job so going back into photography was a natural progression for me, but I had never done this full time before. How could we create a business that can support both of us while allowing us the flexibility to be there for our children when they need us?
I have a tendency to get carried away, so my initial thoughts on a photography studio involved either a huge warehouse space converted into a studio or a high street shop – my husband is the more sensible one so I compromised with a beautiful log cabin garden studio that he built for us and I am so glad he did!
We now work from home, in our garden, and I have been fortunate enough to meet and welcome some incredible Mummies and their babies, families and children into The Cabin for some really special sessions where we have created some great memories and had a lot of fun! Getting made redundant with a child and a baby on the way wasn’t what we had planned, but it made way for us to do what we have always wanted – work for ourselves, control our own fate, create memories for wonderful families and spend time with our boys!
As a self-employed, full-time working Mum, I didn’t have maternity leave, I was back taking photos days after giving birth, we don’t get paid holidays or have job security (does this still exist?), I’m working on my laptop or phone when I’m giving the baby a bottle or I should be putting my Son to bed, but we get to have spontaneous days out and I know that when they start school we will be at every performance, activity class and sports day cheering them on!
The saying ‘as one door closes, another one opens’ is great, but sometimes you have to be the one to open the door for yourself and make what you truly love be what you do every day. Don’t even get me started on ‘if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life’ – as a small business owner I have never worked harder than I do right now, but the difference is I love meeting Mums and Dads and getting to know their babies with them, dancing and singing with excited kids and making memories with lovely families – am I allowed to call that work? All I know is, if it happens to you, it is better to see getting made redundant as an opportunity; you just have to be ready to follow your heart and create what comes next.
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