Finding the Work/Family Balance; An Open Discussion

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As someone who thinks of herself as a strong, opinionated, passionate person… I find myself giving advice a lot. When I write my articles, I’m usually full of what I hope are helpful thoughts, they do not always apply to everybody in every situation but I try to give solid advice. Well… this time…I am feeling a bit more thoughtful and curious. I find myself in a place where I do not have all the answers.

I am pregnant. Yep…there I am putting it out there. I am overjoyed, excited, happy beyond belief and completely bonded to my baby. Am I scared and in a state of shock even though this was planned? Yes I am. It took a long time to feel real, and I still haven’t quite come to terms with finding my work/family balance.

My career is very important to me I enjoy what I do and I do not want to let that go. I want to keep creating and working with others who are also passionate about creating. I want to work for myself and my family. You might be thinking I am coming off a bit selfish here, I am not saying I am not going to make my baby a priority, I am. I’m working on figuring out what my steps are for my future and my family’s future.

We work in an industry with lots of long days and possible travel. We get called for last minute meetings across town and sometimes get called to work in eight hours. As a woman with a husband who also works in this business our hours can be pretty weird. This could be a difficult thing to try to work a baby into.

Also, as a woman who tries to stand up for all women making strides in our field of work, it can be hard to tell coworkers you are pregnant. The reactions have been across the board, most people have been excited and very encouraging when I tell them. Others, not so much. A lot of people have reacted towards me like now that I will be a mother that I can no longer work in this industry, like I am voluntarily quitting. I have gotten looks of sympathy, like having a baby is a bad thing, like wanting to have a baby is a sign of some sort of weakness and that there is no way I can have a baby and work in production.

I am publishing it here… YOU ARE WRONG. It is my choice to have a baby and I am doing it… just like I have done everything else to get me to where I am in my life. I will also use this same determination to continue the onward and upward journey of my career. Will I make mistakes? Yes. Will I have moments where I think it would be easier to not have to take my kiddo to daycare? Yes. Will I struggle and probably cry? Yes. Will I love my baby as much as I possibly can? Yes. Will I continue creating? You can be sure of it. Is this a “set back” as some people have called it? No, this is my life and I choose to be a woman who is passionate about her work and her family.

So, now I ask you… are you a mom? Are you continuing to work? If not, I would love to hear what lead you to that decision, if you are, I would love to get your thoughts on finding the balance. Are you in a similar place, where you are maybe thinking having kids might be in your future but are curious what life brings? I would love to hear from you.

I am hoping that by posting what I think is a very honest and open letter, I am helping someone else to know they are not alone. Today, I do not have advice for you, but I do have an open ear. I would love the readers of Ms. In the Biz’s thoughts about finding the balance between working in our industry and having a family.

Ashleigh Nichols

About Ashleigh Nichols

Ashleigh Nichols resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Eddie, and their Chihuahua mix, Nova. Together they work on their own projects as a wife-husband directing/producing/writing team. Through Owlet Pictures, they created the web series Coffee Shop Squatters, and the award winning short film Summer of the Zombies. Ashleigh is also working on a dramatic feature and creating a new web series, set to shoot later this year. While not working on her own projects, Ashleigh is currently an in house Production Manager at Ampersand Media. Before going in house she Production Managed several shows/Pilots for Comedy Central, HBO Go and Vh1, some of these include: The Jeselnik Offensive, The Burn, The Ben Show, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! and Parental Discretion S2. Ashleigh is also honored to have Co-Produced the indie film The Historian, currently touring on the festival circuit.

  • Keiko Elizabeth

    I’m a mama actor! And it’s a totally doable and beautiful and courageous journey to balance artist and mama. I have a blog called The Mama Actor where I don’t have a lot of answers, but I tell stories and talk about how I do it, interview other mama actors to hear how they do it and create connections. I find it’s easy to be isolated as a mama actor, so I’ve had to be very conscious about building community. Feel free to email me I’d love to stay connected!

    • lukduck

      Hey Keiko! Thanks for reading my “thoughts.” I would love to stay connected, I think that as a working mom I will need that to get thru all my days sometimes! I will shoot you an email!

      – Ashleigh

  • Beth Fraser

    I am a new mom/actress too! (that should be a new slashy) It’s been difficult to find the balance in these seven months since my little girl has been around. On one hand it has been amazing to be here with her everyday, helping her grow and nurture all the ways in which she is learning so quickly. On the other hand it’s very hard. As someone who was used to many auditions a day and always taking every opportunity that came my way I am now finding I have to weigh things a lot more carefully. I am also finding it’s not so easy just to head out to an audition like it used to be…or anywhere for that matter. I am finding babies are very expensive and I am super concerned for her well-being. I am stubborn and want to continue to make my living via acting – but it’s a lot harder than I anticipated. At this point the balance is still a work in progress.