Finding Balance with Rachel Whyte
When I wrote a post about how I schedule my work week and how I get it all done as a stay at home mom of a toddler and business owner of a growing, thriving business, the response was overwhelming. I quickly realized how many of you needed guidance for creating your own schedule and finding balance between work and life. I realized that we all want a glimpse of how others are making it work so we can better structure our own lives.
I believe that balance does exist and is actually necessary for our sanity and well being. Even though I hear often that balance doesn't exist, I feel that we each have our own version of balance and that we can find it in our lives. It's a process that we're all constantly living in and adjusting to in different seasons.
Because of this, I was inspired to start this series featuring other busy women and business owners sharing how they manage their schedules and work towards work/life balance. This series features talented and encouraging women like you and a look into what balance looks like for them. The idea is to share a real-life version of balance and how we each have our own variation of it depending on our life and season.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business or work.
I am a mom of three kids under four years old (Haven (3.5), James (2), and Jacob (newborn). I started my wedding photography business in 2012, and I photographed 95 weddings in 5 years. I just recently decided to take some time off from that. My husband, Luke, and I lead the college ministry as pastors at our church in Waco, TX. We also co-own a business called Waco Tours, and we are in the process of building a wedding venue, Old Bethany. Our lives are FULL to say the least.
Take us through your typical day and your main daily responsibilities.
Right now I am in the newborn fog, but normally I am a person of routine and habit. I've learned that it's important for my sanity to get out of the house every day. On Mondays, we go to bible study in the mornings, and in the afternoons I have a long Waco Tours meeting, so we have a babysitter for 4 hours. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my toddlers go to Parents' Day Out. On Wednesdays, I take my daughter to dance and we have a babysitter for 2 hours in the afternoon. Fridays and Saturdays are our family days, which usually consist of us going out to our land to check on the status of the wedding venue build. We are currently on a hiatus from weddings, as the last wedding I photographed was in September, but we will be starting back up in March when our venue opens! Sundays are also "work days" for us because we are on staff at a church.
How do you manage your schedule?
My husband and I have a shared calendar on our phones and it really helps. We also have access to many babysitters so this helps with all of our spontaneous needs. We have to communicate a lot and work as a team.
What is one thing you always make time for?
Family time. Because our jobs are flexible, we are able to schedule in family time whenever we need it.
How do you find rest?
I love watching movies and snuggling on the couch. I also love to read but haven't done it much since I became a mom and my brain often feels like mush (bad excuse, I know!). My husband and I try to take date nights and go on short trips a couple of times a year to truly rest and focus on our marriage.
How do you find the balance between work and home?
Ever since I took a break from photography, it's been harder to find healthy rhythms. When I work on photography, I only work when I sit down at my desk, which is really only when my kids are at school or with the babysitter, or out with Luke. But now that I'm focusing on our other two businesses, I work on a laptop which means I can work anytime and from any place! So it's not so much of a balance right now as it is just getting stuff done as it's needed. I'm probably only working 20 hours a week right now, though. That's the thing about balance-- you have to be willing to change and adapt as your work and family needs change! It's not a perfect recipe.
Tell us one thing that you have learned about finding balance in your life.
Like I just said, it's not a perfect recipe. I think it's interesting when people say "balance is unachievable so just forget it." If you view balance as some perfect formula for having a perfect life, then yes, that's true. But that's not how I view it.
Balance is defined as “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” Also, “to offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another.” That, to me, means when you have balance in your life, you are constantly reevaluating, always open-handed, ready and willing to shift if something is off. It’s not about finding perfection or striving, but finding the "distribution" that works for your family and brings you peace. An unbalanced life is a chaotic life, and I think most people desire peace over chaos. Seeking balance requires flexibility and adaptability, but not perfection.
What is one piece of advice you would give readers about finding their own balance?
It's all about trial and error. Whether you are single, married, have kids, or are a single parent, you can find healthy rhythms that work for you and your family. For me and my husband, the conversation is ongoing. Like I said, our lives are very full but we feel confident about the choices that we've made and the way we prioritize our lives. That is balance to us. We have to communicate and we have to really function as a team. If one of us slacks, the other one steps up. We try not to say “Well that’s YOUR job” when it comes to roles and responsibilities. Because that pins us against each other instead of bringing us together. It’s definitely not a perfect dance but it is a dance nonetheless.