I’m pleased to introduce Jennifer Alison (aka Jenn) of Jennifer Alison Photography & Design. Jenn wears many hats including being a wife, mother, photographer, designer and a Registered Nurse. She started her business selling digital wedding monograms after being inspired by her 7/7/07 wedding! Her Etsy shop has grown into selling a little of everything including: business logos, wedding monograms, invitations, stickers, labels and party printables.
Jenn is also a very talented natural light photographer in the San Diego area specializing in children, families and couples.
I love Jenn’s story because she also maintains a job outside of home as an RN. Every WAHM does what works best for them and their family. Jenn was able to grow her business into something bigger than she had ever imagined, which has helped her pay down student loans from nursing school while investing in some big purchases to help grow her business.
Did you always plan to be a WAHM? If not, what made you decide to work from home?
I always knew I would be a working mom. I have no desire to WAHM on a full time basis. I truly love my business, however, I don’t think I would be so passionate about it if I did it full time.
How long have you been a WAHM?
I’ve been an RN for 4 years now, prior to that I worked in the insurance industry. I opened my Etsy Shop in 2008, and started my photography business in 2012.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have one child, a daughter, her name is Makayla and she just turned two. She is pretty much the best thing that has ever happened to me and she is the motivation behind everything I do.
What is your workstation setup like? (ie. In the kitchen, room to room, in an office/study, etc.)
Ha! We are in the final design stage of our remodel and hope to start within the next couple of weeks. My current workstation is actually in our “breakfast nook”, and that is where it will stay after the remodel as well. It will just look a heck of a lot nicer, and will flow into the rest of the kitchen with the same cabinets, and countertops. And, I will have a lot more storage to hide all of my crap.
I am the one behind everything – the emails, the printing, the cutting, the packaging, the shipping, the photography, the editing, and it’s all done from this little area.
What days/hours do you typically work?
I definitely don’t have set business hours. I answer emails when I can in between seeing patients at work, and do everything else after my daughter goes to bed, or during nap time on the weekends.
How does being a WAHM affect your husband/partner?
My husband encourages me to do my own thing. It’s definitely a passion of mine, and it provides the perfect balance for us. Our schedules have always been very chaotic, as he works in law enforcement and has a rotating schedule.
What are some of your frustrations with being a WAHM?
Time! There is never enough time! Sometimes I dream of taking a day off from my nursing job to get caught up on Etsy orders, to create some new designs to sell, or to edit the most recent portrait session and then I snap myself out of it. This is a hobby – not my full time job. The minute I start stressing about it – it does not become fun anymore for me. I try really hard to find that balance and I think I do a pretty good job for the most part.
What is the single most gratifying part of being a WAHM?
My little photography & design business has financially helped out tremendously with paying down some student loan debt 🙂
Describe a typical day in the life for you as a WAHM.
I am lucky enough to have a nursing job where I work during normal business hours with weekends off. The husband and I have completely opposite schedules but it works really well for us.
A normal day in the life would look something like this: Wake up at 6:30, hop in the shower, wake M up by 7:00, get her dressed, get downstairs by 7:10. The husband is just getting home from working graveyard shift. We fight for room in our tiny kitchen while I am trying to make coffee and lunches and he is trying to make breakfast. We have about 20 minutes to catch up with each other, and then we try to get out the door by 7:35, and the husband goes up to go to bed! I drop M off at daycare at 7:45 which used to be a breeze but since she moved to the toddler classroom a few weeks ago it’s been a total heartbreaking meltdown every time. I’m on my way to work at 7:55, drive through the post office to drop off packaged orders. I work from 8:30-5:00 in the mental health field which is emotionally exhausting. I leave work at 5:00, and pick up M around 5:30. We’re home around 5:40, and the husband is usually just waking up. We immediately start dinner, which is always something quick & easy. We have dinner from about 6:00-6:30. Then I unload & load the dishwasher while M plays with Daddy. Bath and bedtime starts around 7:15, and she’s in bed by 7:45. It really is perfect because he helps with bedtime before he leaves for work at 8 p.m. After he leaves I finish cleaning the kitchen, then finally get to sit down to start on designs. I’m not gonna lie, some nights I really dread having to “work”, and I often daydream about being able to lay in bed all night and watch some good reality TV. Gratefully so, my Etsy shop has been so busy – I am working at least 5 nights a week. I set boundaries though, and allow myself to only work until 9:30, or 9:45 at the very latest. I do everything I can in those 90 minutes, and whatever I don’t finish will have to wait until the next night. I am in bed by 10:00, and am catching up on social media and watching the news. I’m usually passed out asleep by 10:30 p.m., then wake up by 6:30 to do it all over again!
How do you think being a WAHM has helped you and your family?
My little business has been more successful than I ever imagined, and has allowed me to splurge on some fun business related items, and has helped me pay down a tremendous amount of student loan debt from nursing school.
What sacrifices have you had to make in order to be a WAHM?
I hope that I haven’t made many since it’s not full time. I do have a lot of mommy guilt for being a working mom, but I know that it is the balance that I need to be the best parent I can be. Plus, I absolutely love my job, so that helps!