This year I took myself by surprise. I decided I wanted to be a full-time mom. I’m still involved in the business, but I’m spending WAY more time focusing on BabyRoX than I had originally thought/anticipated/planned. I thought I would be one of those women who was eager to get back to work, at least part time. I didn’t expect to enjoy spending my days in mommy mode as much as I do.

But the decision to “just” be a mom for the past 10 months has some pretty serious implications when you run a business with your husband – a very busy business, whose income you depend on to pay all your bills. Running a business is not a one-person job. At least, not easily. Luckily for us, we have an awesome group of photographers we work with – the + photographers, the Intern Army, alumni interns, etc. We couldn’t do this without them. But, even with all that support, in choosing to step back from the business, I felt like I was placing a HUGE burden on Mark’s shoulders. Financially, emotionally, practically. Huge. It was like saying, “Here, honey, you go manage the whole business by yourself and make enough money to support us, and I’m gonna cuddle my son and play with playdough. Oh, and if you could massage my feet tonight, that would be swell.” Because of course I kept asking for foot massages, too.

And do you know what Mark did? He said, “Sure!” He supported me 100%. It hasn’t been smooth sailing this past year. Mistakes have been made, balls have been dropped, feelings have been hurt. But in spite of that, our business has continued to grow – to flourish, to thrive, to inspire and support and include many others beyond ourselves. And all because my husband has this vision and drive, and he works his arse off to make things happen.

So when an ad agency that Mark himself had looked to for inspiration and marketing ideas to grow our own business reached out to us and hired us for a real, official ad campaign for the High Museum, it felt like a big pat on the back. Like Mark’s hard work is paying off. And I’m a big believer in stopping to appreciate awesome moments and milestone like this. So I’m taking a break from parenting talk today to give a big high five to my life-and-business partner. It’s easy to get caught up in the to-do’s, to get bogged down in the day-to-day stuff that just has to get done, to get hung up on disappointments and frustrations. But that’s no fun. That doesn’t create the environment we want for our home or our business. I’m so proud of Mark and his talent and his hard work. I’m so thankful I have such a supportive partner, and the ability to spend my days being a mom during this all-too-fleeting first year of BabyRoX’s life.

We don’t depend on external validation to give our life and our work meaning, but it IS nice to be recognized, to get the job, to pull it off. This ad campaign was a big deal for us. To see our business – which started as a hobby, then progressed to a side business, then became our full-time jobs – grow to the point of being hired by a huge company to complete an important project. It’s big. I feel the same way I feel when my son reaches a new milestone in HIS development. I’m one proud mama. Yay, LeahAndMark.com (especially the Mark)