In Family, Kids, Motherhood


As a mom, a wife, and a home-based business owner, I realize that it can sometimes get difficult navigating those blurry lines between time management and priorities. A few more minutes of work automatically equal a few less minutes with your loved ones. A late-nighter with an iced latte and your computer can quickly become a waste of a planned movie night with your spouse.

Lately, when editing photos, reading articles and tutorials online, managing social media sites and fulfilling product orders,  I’ve found myself telling my exuberant, story-telling 7-year-old to “hang on just a second while mommy finishes something”. Or instead of coming to change the channel each time my indecisive 3-year-old wants to watch something new, I make her wait a few moments while I put the finishing touches on an email I’m sending out.

I sort of glossed these moments over in my mind and attributed them to the everyday woes of the work-at-home mom. Something that comes along with achieving your dreams. Who wouldn’t want to work from home and get to spend your entire day with your kids while still bringing in an income large enough to support them? Sounds ideal, right? So, what’s a little sacrifice if it means achieving your dreams and paving the way to financial freedom?

I realize that I consciously put extraordinary amounts of time into my business. The first thing I do in the morning is check my email, and the last thing I do before crawling into bed in the wee hours of the night, after a long day of sitting in front of my computer, is checking it again. Ultimately, all of this work is great for my business. It’s growing, flourishing and all of the dreams and hopes I’ve had for my career are starting to come to fruition. Great! Right?

But at what cost? How often is “too often”, when it comes to making your children wait for you to meet a deadline, or finish an email, or tie up a blog post before you get around to watching that movie with them? How often is “too often” when it comes to looking up from your computer to realize that your husband kissed the kids and tucked them into bed 45 minutes ago? How often is “too often” when it comes to your child getting upset and asking why you have to get on the computer “again”? How long before time starts completely passing you by as you sit mindlessly staring at your computer screen?

I received a wake up call today. It came in the form of a parent-teacher conference. My son’s teachers told me a lot of what I already knew. That I have a bright, talented, witty little boy who loves chatting with his friends much more than he enjoys writing. I knew that. He excels at math and thoroughly enjoys Science. I knew that, too. The wake-up call came after that, when I asked the teachers what I could do at home to help him get more excited about writing. The teacher’s answer was simple: listen to him. Let him tell you stories, and listen for the way he’s telling them. Ask him how he could use more descriptive words to make his stories have more detail. Ask him to tell you about his favorite shows and listen for the order in which he tells you the plot points. And I kid you not, my eyes began to well up as soon as she had spoken her first word. Listen. That’s all it takes.  And something I had been seriously slacking on. How often had I been making him “hold that thought” while I finished reading or writing some completely unimportant article or email? How often had I put my work ahead of my cherished and beloved time with my babies? How often had I traded a movie night with my amazing husband for a late-night editing session? The answer: way too damn often.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my love for my business is strong, it really is. I’m so blessed to have it and I’m so thankful each day that I can do what I love and have turned it into a career. I’m so grateful to all of the amazing people who have supported my business and helped me mold it into what it is. But my three main supporters? My wonderful, brilliant kids and my amazingly supportive husband? They are the biggest blessing I could ever hope to have and no more will they pay the price for a flourishing business. I am a mom first. A wife second. And a business owner last.  My children are the reason I was put on this earth. They’re the reason and motivation behind everything I do.  I have a handsome husband who loves to treat me like a princess and would be happy and completely content to spend all his waking hours with me. Without his love and support my business would not even exist. So today I make the vow that I am going to be the wife and mommy they deserve. No more split focus between a computer screen and life with my loves. There has got to be a happy medium and I aim to find it.

Starting today, I am going to be implementing some pretty strict business hours for myself. During the hours of 8:30am to 2:30pm, I will be Morgan Burks, business owner. I will be emailing. I will be facebooking. I will be designing. I will be editing. But from 2:30pm to my babies’ 9pm bedtime: I am mommy. I will be snuggling. I will be story-telling. I will be memory-making.  I will be listening.
After I tuck my little loves in at 9pm, on nights my husband works, I may be online. On nights my husband is off? I will be with him. My time is valuable and I need to invest it accordingly.

Now, this is not to say I won’t check in online every so often, or set aside a few extra hours for a deadline, but as far as returning emails or being available for immediate response, these business hours are going to be my guideline.

And to any other work-at-home moms: “too often” may sneak up you. Be vigilant and firm. Stay on guard and take control of your time and your priorities. If you get that nagging feeling telling you that your time management might need a little maintenance: listen.

Lots of love,

Morgan <3

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Showing 5 comments
  • sisko

    I loved this article it hit home with me and my thoughts lately. I am a full time teacher, as well as a full time photographer with a son o 7 and 21. My days are a blur and my youngest is letting me know he needs more mommy time. Your right we can not go back and get a do over. I applaud your for recognizing this and taking steps to do better. Your kids will love you and flourish from this.

    • morganburks

      Thank you so much. It’s very comforting to know other moms feel the same things. Motherhood is a worrisome business. I’m always wondering if I’m doing it right, or if I’m making mistakes. But I think the fact that I worry about things like that and want to make it right, probably means I’m doing it right. Thanks again, and I wish you the best of luck in navigating the tricky business of being a WAH mom. 🙂

  • candidhams

    I just found your site looking for photography resources…I won’t call it accidental b/c I believe everything happens for a reason. I too am that work-a-holic-at-home mom with an amazing 3yr old son & am guilty of the ‘just a minute buddy’ reply that often is more than just “a minute”. Kudos to you for putting this into writing on your site, hopefully helping to create some not-always-easy-but-much-needed self-reflection for Moms like us so we can be proactive in finding that ever-evasive fine balance between being good Mothers & successful businesswomen. Motherhood is the toughest – though most rewarding job…being a successful business owner isn’t easy either. Put them together and it’s quite a combo for stress.

    LATELY, every time I start hearing myself giving the ‘just-a-minute-buddy’s’, I remind myself that my son is only 3…once. If I miss these years now, I’ll NEVER see them again & then I put myself in his shoes… How would I feel if someone, especially someone I loved, kept putting ME off like that? Tell you what…I would be very, very hurt. The thought of my son being hurt kills me. The thought of ME being the source of his hurt makes my stomach turn & my body to push away from that desk… to play trains without even looking back.

    Thanks for sharing & inspiring!

  • kelly

    Reading this I started to well up too. I struggle running my business and look after my 21 month old. My partner works evenings so I work after my son goes to bed, but this time ranges. Lately he has been very poorly and we spend some time in hospital and all I kept thinking was that I felt so guilty about postponing shoots and not getting my editing done in time. My son should come first, I became a freelance photographer so I could spend all day with him but it hasn’t turned out like that. We don’t have family around us as we have recently moved so my partner and I do it all ourselves. I want to grow my business and I get around 50 messages a week regarding shoots but am struggling with what to do next. I think wanting to be successful as a business and a mum is a very difficult thing. Hoping I can make it work. x

    • Morgan

      Hi Kelly!

      I completely agree, it can be so difficult to find a good balance. Something that helped me was to create a schedule for myself. Allow yourself work hours, and stick to them as if you were actually working outside the home. As soon as that time is up, it’s time to clock out and be Mommy. It can be a struggle in the beginning with holding yourself accountable, but I have found that it helps me breathe so much easier and feel more confident in the time I spend with my kids.

      And 50 messages a week is wonderful! You might try to calculate how many sessions you are able to comfortably take on in a month while still leaving time for your kids. If this number of sessions is too low to bring in the kind of money you are wanting to bring in, you may need to increase your pricing! Price increases are a great way to add value to the hours you are spending away from your kids, while ensuring those hours are also beneficial to your family in regards to the money you are bringing in. If you’re spending the majority of your month behind your computer editing, but aren’t really seeing the benefits of all those hours in monetary form, you may begin to experience burnout.

      Start by considering your time and be completely honest with yourself:
      How many sessions can I take on per month?
      What are my expenses?
      How much do I want to make in a month?
      Then you need to add your expenses to the amount you’d like to make and divide it by the number of sessions you are able to take on.

      Now there’s your brand new pricing!

      Big hugs to you, just remember that you’re not alone! All mommies feel this way at one time or another. Just remind yourself to make some changes when those nagging worries start to plague you again.


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