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Whenever I tell people that I work with my mum, it’s usually met with two opposite reactions. The first being “omg, that’s so cool! What’s it like working with your mum!?” and the other “oooh, people say you should never work with family, I could never do that!”
And to be honest, it’s a bit of both. It’s equal parts cool and similar parts frustrating. But it’s also so much more than that!
My mum and I have always been super close. I don’t remember much from my early childhood (naturally), but I know that it wasn’t an easy time for her, and it always felt like that it was her and me against the world. We were a small team, even if I was in my own little world a lot of the time. Ever since then, we’ve had this powerful bond that I can’t quite put into words. I just know that it’s unbreakable.
I’ll also say that my mum definitely isn’t, and wasn’t, the most conventional mum. She wrote her own book and had her own TV show on parenting, and I’m sure she had some parenting techniques which would make certain types of parents recoil. We didn’t really have many rules. For example, we were allowed to choose our own bedtimes from a relatively young age. Still, we weren’t allowed to do anything that would modify our bodies until we were 16. If we forgot something for school, that was our problem, and she wouldn’t come and drop it off for us. We were allowed to wear whatever we wanted. I guess what I am saying is that my sister and I were raised to be responsible for ourselves.
I know some people may disagree with how we were brought up. I know a few of the Loose Women were and several commenters on a Daily Mail article. Some people may argue that this would encourage children to stay up late, run wild, get into trouble, and turn up to places wearing inappropriate clothing.
But in fact, it wasn’t like that at all. With my mum giving me this freedom, I learned how to be responsible for myself. I never stayed up to the early hours of the morning; yes, I forgot my P.E Kit at school sometimes, but I learned that you need to take responsibility for your own actions in the real world. Oh, and I was never inappropriately dressed for my age, either.
My mum knew that children and teenagers are a lot more capable than we think. That we have our own brains and can think for ourselves. From her parenting grew a very trusting and healthy relationship which was built on a lot of respect. I may have back chatted a little when I was 14 (oh, that wonderful age). Still, I was never disrespectful, and our disagreements never lasted very long.
I think the way I was brought up is what makes working with my mum so natural. We just have such a great relationship and understanding of each other, which I am thankful for every day.
If I were to describe what working with my mum is like, I always use the analogy of us being like two sides of the same coin. Our wants and values out of the @FromBeeWithLove business are the same, but we couldn’t be more different as people.
Mum is extroverted who thrives off being in social situations. I’m an introvert who isn’t a fan of being the center of attention. In theory, me being the influencer doesn’t make much sense!
Of course, our differences do lead to us clashing a few times. That’s normal. But the majority of the time, our differences are what make us such a great team. We’re good at what the other is not. We play to each other’s strengths.
For example, my talent lies in portraits, editing, aesthetics, writing, and coming up with ideas. While mum also comes up with ideas, her strength lies in the long-term stuff: strategy, what comes next, and how to get there. She does things that my brain can’t even fathom! I’m very much not a long-term planner, so I would be completely lost without her. Heck, she probably has plans that I don’t even know about yet!
And that’s why we work so well. Together, we make up one mighty team. Two heads are better than one and all! Mum actually believes in me more than I could ever believe in myself and can see the vision a lot more than I can. Hence, she inspires me to be motivated.
Even though I absolutely adore working with her, it’s definitely not always easy. There are times when we clash or bump heads and end up having a bit of a bicker. We are different people. It’s bound to happen! Sometimes we don’t agree with how a photo has turned out, sometimes, we don’t agree with the angle of a picture, or I don’t agree with some of the plans, but we always work through it.
Our working styles are also very different, I’m very particular with how I work, and mum is a bit more free-flowing. We often have to change something up to suit the other, and that’s okay too!
I will say, though, the last few months during lockdown have been quite different, challenging, and sometimes frustrating. We can’t always get the photo that we want because we can’t be together to take it. We can’t go outside and travel to locations, so we aren’t really taking the photos that we want to take right now. And during this time, we have had to really push ourselves and try out different working styles. I take a lot of the photos myself now and found that I feel more comfortable taking close-up portraits by myself, but I really miss having her with me to take them.
So, what is it like working with my mum? Well, it’s a lot of things. It’s a lot of fun. It’s comforting. It’s exciting. It’s frustrating. It’s hard. It’s easy. It’s so, so many things, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mum.