Freelancing itself can be kind of a hassle sometimes, despite its advantages.
One of the best aspects of working from home, especially when you’re a parent, is that you won’t miss out on anything with your children. You’ll be able to spend time with your kids and pocket the money you would have given to someone else to care for them.
But that’s also the dilemma. You’ll have to care for your children while you work, and the logistics seem impossible to figure out.
Thankfully, plenty of people successfully navigate life as both a parent and a freelancer.
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Here are a few tips to help you on your journey:
Have a special workspace
You won’t get anything done if you’re sitting in the living room with your laptop, watching the same cartoon for the tenth time in a row. You need your own desk at the very minimum, even if you don’t have your own office.
You can always bring your baby monitor with you. Things like video baby monitors are invaluable tools in this situation. If your children are old enough to play for a while without a constant eye on them, just make sure they know they can come get you if they need you.
Seek out the most flexible clients
You need to be able to work around your commitments.
Picking a client who needs to conference call with you every day around the same time you need to make lunch for your kids is probably not a wise move.
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You may not be able to take on clients who need rapid turnarounds on larger projects.
When you’re browsing through Gumtree, keep an eye out for clients who have a more casual approach to work. You’ll want someone who can send you a list of what they need done during the week.
If you finish early, that’s great, but you may need some padding on your deadline.
Get a great planner or whiteboard
Kids do a lot of stuff! Ballet, soccer practice, and birthday parties are also a part of your schedule.
As a parent, you also know that things pop up out of the blue. You need to set yourself some guidelines to adhere to. Write in important commitments you have with your kids, and write in your deadlines for your freelance work.
When you see it written out on a calendar, you’ll be able to plan your work much better without having to make sacrifices.
Don’t set an impossible standard for yourself
The Brady Bunch wasn’t based on a true story, and even if it were, Carol and Mike still had Alice to prepare the meals and handle the chores.
You’re not going to be able to work a predictable 9 to 5 every day, and because of that, you probably won’t be able to cook a four course meal every night and wash all the dishes by yourself.
Consider prepping weekly crock-pot meals that you can set and forget for a few hours while you work.
If your kids are at the age where they can use a little pocket money, pass some more chores off to them. Five dollars here and there is a lot less than what you’d spend on childcare or transportation if you worked away from home.
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Remember to take time off
With a job away from home and a preset schedule, you took off the days that HR gave you. If it didn’t feel like enough, you knew to take more time off because you missed your kids.
Take at least one day off a week. For the future, schedule and save so you can afford to take off a week or two, just like cashing in your vacation time.
Quality time still means a lot, especially with your family. You won’t be able to enjoy the small moments if you need to rush through them to finish your work.
It’s important to remember that there will always be days where you’re ready to tear your hair out. You’re busy, the kids are arguing over the cheapest toy in your whole house, and you just want to wrap up a big job.
Not many people have the luxury of being able to care for their kids as they financially support them, and believe it or not, you are lucky!
Over to you – What advice do you have for balancing freelance work with parenthood? Leave a note in the comments below!
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