How many of us can recall the moment we “peed on a stick” and waited for news that could change our lives forever? I’ll never forget sitting on the floor of my bathroom waiting for those few minutes to pass so I could see if my little Clearblue Advanced pregnancy test had goodness to share with me. Or, how I absolutely freaked when the test said I was pregnant! Today I want to share with you how motherhood and makeup artistry can go hand in hand.
Although excited, I remained tightlipped about it. But as my belly grew and the pregnancy hormones turned me into someone I didn’t know, my mind wandered and worried. “How will I balance makeup artistry and mommyhood,” I pondered. “Is this even possible to do successfully with small children?”
I couldn’t have received advice from a better group of rock star makeup artist moms.
In this article, these ladies opened up to me and gave me real world advice:
- Veteran hair and makeup artist and educator Candace Corey who has three adult children. They are 22, 20 and 19 years old.
- Makeup artist and educator Jackie van Riet has two children. They are 6 and 4 years old.
- Hair and makeup artist and educator Jennifer Jackson has a 16 year old.
- Hair and makeup artist Nicole Rogers has three children. They are 16, 11 and 3 years old.
Wet behind the ears doesn’t even begin to describe this point in my life! I needed proven wisdom from makeup artist moms who’ve gone before me. How do I do this? How do I manage my increasingly complex life? Thankfully, I was very fortunate to receive wonderful advice from several successful artists that I know.
These wonderful women led by example, opened up and shared some of their secrets with me.
>>What are some of the benefits of being both a makeup artist and mom? motherhood and makeup artistry is a delicate balancing act.
Jennifer Jackson: Flexibility. And it’s great when you can have that creative mindset versus going to a more structured “nine to five” where you wouldn’t have a creative outlet. It’s easier to transition when you are dealing with kids in terms of the activities you do with them. You’re still feeding off of being in a creative space mentally.
Nicole Rogers: All three of my kids are not into makeup so for me there isn’t a huge benefit. But as a hairstylist, it’s amazing. My little baby was my guinea pig. But it will come in handy next year when my baby goes to prom. None of them wear makeup, not even lip gloss. They have no interest at all.
Jackie van Riet: It’s good for my kids to see me out and working. There is flexibility. I can take jobs when I want to and need to but then I’m also able to go to my children’s Christmas programs. I take them to school and pick them up. I do get a lot of time with them.
>>What are some of the challenges of being both mom & makeup artist?
Candace Corey: Anytime you have a family, it can be hard to balance career and home. Sometimes the challenge is not having enough support in the beginning of your career because your spouse and/or family don't understand that your work is a real job. Then when you grow in the industry, the challenges change. Your family can feel like they don't get enough of your time because you are working. My challenges have been similar, even though I bring my family with me when I travel.
Jennifer Jackson: Stability, in terms of assuring that I’m working enough to maintain our livelihood. It’s a double-edged sword. You want the flexibility, but it comes at a cost. You have to be more organized when it comes to time management and securing projects. You want to work smarter and not harder. It makes you be of the mindset to get the gigs that will be worth your time.
Motherhood motivated me to step up my game in terms of having a stellar portfolio. It also made me want to invest more on the front end with career development, like with Crystal Wright, and aligning myself with professional mentors so I’m not spinning my wheels doing nothing and getting nothing in return.
Nicole Rogers: Earlier challenges that I’ve since worked out was not being available for school functions. I did that a few times for a couple of years until I figured that out. I write down all my school activities at the beginning of the year.
Jackie van Riet: They don’t like it when I leave. It makes my daughter really sad. The hard part is feeding my passion for what I like to do and balancing that with the guilt of being away from my children.
>>How do you handle childcare?
Candace Corey: When my kids were little, I'd bring a family member on trips to watch the kids when I had to work because my husband couldn't get off of work to come with me. At other times, I'd leave them with my parents or my husband's parents when I would work. Most of the time, the kids would be with my family. I have a lot of siblings, so there were many willing babysitters.
When my kids were a little older, I'd bring them on set with me whenever I could, and they would assist me or they would assist my assistants. My daughter started modeling at the age of 5 when I worked on catalogs. So she started working in front of the camera but would still assist me behind the camera as well. My sons started working at the age of 9 and 10 years old. They would clean brushes, get me water, pack and unpack my kit. They would even help the crew. Eventually my clients started asking if they could hire my kids because they were great at working. So I'd have my kids work with me, but I'd never let them call me Mom when we were at work. I wanted to let them (and my clients) understand that this is business so act professionally.
My kids have worked with me on many projects like the Ellen DeGeneres show, HGTV, Travel channel, Cooking channel and even events like the Makeup show, the PPI event and the Olympic gymnastics events.
Jennifer Jackson: One good thing was networking with other moms who kind of had similar schedules or lifestyles. That worked well. We would help each other out because we understood each other’s plight. I used to use some of the high school kids in the neighborhood (to babysit) when he was a little older. They would watch him for a few hours at my house so I didn’t have to send him somewhere and pay a lot of money. After school programs, family and my mom…I probably couldn’t have done half the things that I have done without her support. Build a network of resources. You really need a network. You can’t just depend or rely on one source. You may need that source and they may not be available. You need a backup plan.
Nicole Rogers: At one point, I had my preschooler in KinderCare. I scheduled all my appointments before 3 pm. I built a lot of my portfolio during that time. I either use my mom or mother in law. I like to know that I don’t have to call back and check on them. When they can’t do it, I call my sister in law. I try not to make it for too many hours. I have a really wonderful support squad. And the teen watches the other two.
Jackie van Riet: We found a babysitter that I really, really liked and she was able to be with the kids while I was getting my education. I feel that education is really important. In order for me to be able to do a job during the week, it had to be paid so I could pay my babysitter. Bridal made the most sense because I stay home with my kids. So then I’m working on a Saturday or Sunday and my husband is home with the kids. It’s mostly just babysitters and relying on friends that are also makeup artists that will every now and then pick up my kids from school if I need it.
>>If a last minute gig falls in your lap, what do you do?
Candace Corey: Now that my kids are older, it's not much of a struggle because I bring my whole family with me on jobs. We were on the road for a TV series for 9 months straight before and it was great to know that I could have everyone with me (including my husband).
Jennifer Jackson: I would assess where I am to see if it makes sense for me to do it. I’ll assess the situation at home and then secure somebody to watch him….probably my mom. But I would have to make sure I have someone that will watch him and be responsible for the things he has to do in my absence. It’s a little easier now because he is older and more self sufficient. He isn’t an adult and I wouldn’t leave him by himself but he can kind of get around on his own and be more responsible. If it all added up and all made sense, then I would be on my way.
Nicole Rogers: Leave the baby with my mom who is retired. My mom and mother in law are very understanding of my schedule. They’ve watched me grow over the years. I used to have to drive all the way to the west side to drop them off with family. It was a definite juggling act when I first started out. People didn’t want to watch the kids because I wasn’t getting paid.
Jackie van Riet: If I can find a babysitter, I would do it. But most of the time, I refer it out to other artist that I know. I refer it out to people I know will show up to do the job. I tell them that next time if there is a little more notice, I’d love to be considered again. Usually by referring out the work, they do come back to me because I helped them find someone. And if they don’t then that is good for my colleagues who obviously did an amazing job.
>>What advice would you give to a makeup artist that is a new mom, such as myself?
Candace Corey: Incorporate your kids into your work as soon as possible. I started by having them clean my brushes when I got home. I would tell them “You are helping me so much. When you help me, you help the family.” That would teach them pride in doing a good job. It also let them know that cleaning brushes isn't a small thing. It contributed to the family.
I'd also tell them that how they acted, when I was at work can actually make the client not want to hire me again, so that means we wouldn't have money to eat. So they understood that work was not play time. It was serious and important. Now they know how to handle themselves, no matter if it's the CEO of a company or the assistant to the photographer. Those types of skills can help them their whole life.
Jennifer Jackson: Continue to chase your dream. Don’t give up. Sometimes I think that people get at that crossroad and they get overwhelmed. Stay focused and keep your eye on the prize. Invest in yourself so you can alleviate taking the long route to do a lot of things. Network with new moms so you can be a sounding board for each other. Find balance. Your child comes first. But work smart, not hard. Keep going. Find other creative ways to keep going. Don’t give up on it. Now you have even more of a reason to follow your passion. You have to be creative in terms of mapping it out. Think with the end in mind. Where do you want to be? Envision yourself there and work your way backwards.
Nicole Rogers: Make sure you take time for yourself. As moms, we are always running for our kids every moment of the day. But I have to take time and do things that make me happy as opposed to trying to make them happy all the time. Write everything down and not necessarily in your phone. I do write things down in my phone but I also have a little notebook that schedules everything. I really try to be meticulous about it because schedules can get wonky when everyone has something else going on. It’s good to keep everything organized. I’m always multitasking.
Jackie van Riet: The balance is tricky, but you need to be comfortable with the amount of time that you are giving to your job and family. If it’s necessary for you to be at work for you to thrive as a mom (which it is for me, because I’m not a stay at home mom all the time), then I have to be ok with the choice to leave my children with someone else and not to let others opinions of how much I work affect my choices.
>>What do you hope your children learn by watching you be a successful entrepreneur?
Candace Corey: I hope my kids can see that I love them a lot because I work hard, for them. I think they do because they are always wanting to help me. They tell me, “Mom you work so hard and do so much. Let me take care of that.” No matter if it's organizing my kit, carrying my cases or doing things for the family at home. They want to help because they see my sweat and hard work up close and first hand on set. They appreciate it.
Jennifer Jackson: I want him to see that I’m a fighter and that I don’t give up. He can be anything that he wants to be. There is value in being your own boss. Building a foundation is important. When you are working for someone else there is a glass ceiling, but if you are working for yourself the sky is the limit. Hard work and perseverance pays off.
Nicole Rogers: Right now we are having little life lessons where they have to get off their (electronic) devices at 5 p.m. I want them to take their heads out of it long enough for them to create something. I hope they learn that being an entrepreneur isn’t easy but it’s totally worth it. I hope they learn that they would rather be the boss than the employee. I hope that by watching me they figure out what they love to do and go after it. I’m happy and I want them to be happy to. To all the new moms, be encouraged. With children it will be a little difficult. But it will be worth it for your kids to see you living in your purpose. I like to think my girls look up to me.
Jackie van Riet: I hope they learn that they can follow their passion. It doesn’t matter what age you start at. I hope they realize that you can have a dream and go after it.
We hope these words of inspiration help you balance your artistry and family.
What tips do you have for balancing your artistry and family?
Leave us a comment and give us your words of advice!