Part 7 of the 12 part series on balancing your life.
When you are single your family are your mom, dad, and siblings. When you are married your family is your husband (and kids if you have any) and everyone else is extended family. The hard thing about any family not living with you is that they become their own issue to keep up with in your life; and a very important one, too. I list this group right after your home. Spouse is first, then your kids, then your home, then your extended family. Sadly many people get the first two out of order. They would say their kids come first, then their spouses, their home, and then extended family. The reason this is bad: kids will grow up to not understand what a healthy relationship because you are catering to them first. They need to see that they cannot infiltrate the solidity of you and your spouse. This will build a very strong relational foundation for them.
So, onto your extended family. While important, they can, and sometimes will impose on your life too much. They need to know your boundaries and everyone needs to respect them. Okay, who am I kidding. Extended family can get kind of messy. We all have our issues, however the best way to tackle them is to let people know how you are feeling. It is not important how they interpret what you say, but that you are okay with your relationship with them. As a business owner you will need to let them know how they can support you.
Also, be very careful what you do and don’t do for your family. What I mean by this: they will expect you to do everything you do for your clients at top dollar for them for free and without thanks. My advice: 1. do everything for free without thanks and move on. 2. Do nothing at all and move on. 🙂 I have a policy with my family. If the event is important enough where they want photography, they need to ask me, otherwise I may or may not show up with a camera. While I love shooting anything and everything I do sometimes like to just hang out. Could you imagine if your brother who is a doctor had to do mini check ups with every family member at Thanksgiving? It would never happen. Your family can easily expect too much without saying a word. On the flip side they may not want their photo taken at every gathering. Where you think of it as a huge benefit, they think of it as “Here we go again with the family photos. Do I have to?” Pick your battles wisely with your family. Be generous but don’t expect any pats on the back. You are stuck with them for life.
Copyright © 2010 by Jen O’Sullivan http://www.jenosullivan.com
Beverly Hills Wedding Photographer, Jen O’Sullivan is a boutique wedding photographer who specializes in portrait journalism.
Jen O’Sullivan Boutique Wedding Photography | 357 South Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California, 90211 | 310-494-6547