Tips for successfully freelancing from home with kids
My life has been full of unpredictable days ever since my son was born fourteen months ago.
Every morning feels like unwrapping a surprise gift box. Will the day be as sweet and predictable as the box of Patchi chocolates your aunt sends on your birthday each year? Or will it be as frustrating as unboxing your annoying cousin’s gift? One that has empty boxes stacked inside one another? You never know!
I was 26 when I found out about my pregnancy and was over the moon about getting to hold my own baby! I couldn’t wait for the sweet baby smells and cuddles even as I sat to find motherhood groups on facebook amidst bouts of nausea. Luckily, I have found a few amazing mom bloggers along the way too!
However, with pregnancy also came a long set of worries about how I would manage my time between motherhood and work. I work as an exam prep instructor which means that I’d be gone for a good part of most of my evenings including weekends.
This, obviously, had to change once the baby arrived. I first took a good 6-month break to bond with my son and eventually switched to freelancing from home. Initially, it was a struggle to get over the mom-guilt and set time apart for work while being at home with my kid.
But with time and proper planning, I can now say that it is indeed possible to manage a successful freelancing career along with motherhood.
If you are looking for some inspiration to start working from home, here’s my list of Legitimate work from home websites in India.
But with this post, I would like to discuss a bit about balancing the work-home lifestyle (and low-key try to convince you as to why freelancing from home is a good idea! )
So, here we go…
Set clear boundaries and strict hours
The best thing about being a freelancer is that you are your own boss. But it is also easier to sway a little too farther off into work or spending time with family if you’re not strict enough. We’ve all been there where an hour-long work break in the noon ends at dinner time.
Before I became pregnant, I could easily take up last minute teaching schedules. I was fairly flexible and hardly ever called in sick at work. However, after I became pregnant I realized I also had to look after my growing baby along with my students.
In the initial days of me getting back to work, I only took up classes that fit into my son’s schedule. Of course, I missed out on a lot of opportunities due to this restriction. But I was happy nonetheless! At least my son’s routine wasn’t getting hampered this way.
And now that he is growing more independent, I find myself being able to take up more work.
Create a dedicated workspace
The benefits of setting one are endless, trust me. Before I began working from home, I thought I’d be at my productive and creative best. That I would have dedicated time slots for work and managing chores along with spending time with my son, easy peasy. I was proven so wrong within the first week itself! I would simply sit with my laptop wherever I fancied- mostly on the bed. Along with dozing off on the couch several times, it even gave me severe backaches due to bad postures.
Moreover, having a dedicated workspace also helps avoid distractions, especially social media! I make it a point to put my phone away and sign out of all social media platforms on the laptop the minute I am on my workspace.
Don’t shy away from seeking help
Be it with work or household chores, never hesitate about seeking help wherever needed. During pregnancy and afterward, I was surprised at how much support I would need to keep things going smoothly, both at work and at home.
In my earlier days of motherhood, I was shy about asking for help from my husband for the fear of being judged. But, soon I saw through the hesitation and realized it made things so much better.
Moreover, I am lucky to have had a chance to work with the most amazing office team. My colleagues have always been supportive of my extremely flexible and erratic schedule.
In the process, I discovered something I hadn’t realized- many of the people I was working with were parents. And that they all were happy to provide help.
Take a break
There’s a saying that goes, “the fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one.”
As a new mom, you will worry about giving the best you can to your child a lot. The same overwhelming feeling took over me as I set to begin work again. I wanted to give my best professionally too. But there were days when no matter how hard I tried, everything seemed to fall apart.
There is serious pressure on moms to not let their professional life affect parenthood. But know that you are far from alone in feeling the pressure. On days like these, I take a break! I cherish the ones where I have managed to balance parenthood and freelancing successfully. This encourages me to start afresh and play my best shot each day.
Learn to say “no”
There are times when one task takes precedence over the other. That’s just how it is with freelancing from home. My team at the office would readily vouch for how many times I have had to turn a class or assignment down since Ani was born!
Similarly, I have also had to refuse to hold my son during work hours with a heavy heart. It is a tough call on most days but one that needs to be taken at times when I must meet deadlines. In the end, however, everyone understands. As for my son, one hug at the end of work hours does the trick!
Learn to take a “no”
This one is important to learn too since everyone’s busy and have deadlines of some sort or the other to meet. Know that just because someone refuses to help doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care about you anymore.
There are times when my husband and I are both busy. That’s when coordinating with him plays a major role. Unless if I have an urgent deadline to cater to, I usually put work away until later. However, I also make it a point to catch up on work later the same day to avoid piling it up for the next.
Reassess your plan
Just as how auditing your work is important for performance improvement, similarly it is important to reevaluate your work-home plan too. You must figure out every couple of months whether this work model is working out well for you or do you need to take more/ less time out to focus at home? I usually take my work lifestyle into consideration every 6 months to enhance my performance on both fronts. So far, it has been working out fine. I even get some time for my blog, just the way how I like it.
Lastly, there are tough days for sure but I have found that working to give my best regardless of the outcome keeps me wanting to give my best shot at work as well as home. And turning to my “son-shine’s” toothless smile at the end of the day is what makes all the hard work worth it.
Okay, chime in!
If you, like me, are balancing parenting along with working from home, chime and let me know what other tips you use to make your work-life balance easier. I would love to hear from you!