Whatever you do for work, having a kid forces you to re-prioritize everything. But when you’re freelance and work from home, that re-prioritizing seems to happen on an almost hourly basis.
Working from home brings an array of benefits to our work-life balance, but for those with new kids, working in the same space you’re raising your child can have a major impact on your focus and emotions both while at and outside of work.
Many new parents report a drastic change in priorities as soon as they have children. During the single life, clients’ needs are put first and social as well as work time is more flexible. A new parent, however, has much less time on their hands and therefore tends to be – with firm reason – very protective of their time outside of work.
Setting these boundaries is totally healthy and, honestly, necessary for parents and non-parents alike. However our modern work culture and obsession with the ‘grind’ tends to mean that setting those boundaries, especially as a new parent, results in guilt and feelings of unprofessionalism when it’s actually setting the total opposite.
Furthermore, shifting deadlines and managing expectations is already a big part of working freelance, and those deadlines and expectations need to be even more malleable when you’ve got kids. Letting your clients know the situation you’re in is really helpful. Of course you’re still a professional who delivers deadlines for your clients, but giving them some context about your situation and being clear about your limitations is vital, even if it seems like an awkward conversation to have.
Budgeting and tight scheduling are also crucial when it comes to balancing a freelance lifestyle with a child. A freelance career, as we know, means varied income each month. For this reason, you need to be on top of your savings accounts, direct debits and know how to put your money eggs into multiple baskets.
With new parenting also comes acceptance in many areas of your life and when it comes to freelancing, accepting reduced productivity is to be expected. Getting used to and accepting that fact is going to be key to reducing your levels of anxiety and stress.
Making time for yourself may feel absolutely impossible but its also super important. Time out of the house is also crucial for mind clearing, anxiety relief and grounding. If you have £20 to spare per month, go and get your nails done at your local salon and take that hour to pamper yourself.
Furthermore, we’ve all been taught to accept that a side-hustle is part of the millennial freelance working model. This was always nonsense, but now even more so. You can barely find the energy to wash and dress yourself each day. Seriously, a side-hustle? Who are you kidding? Go to bed.
Motion hatch recently released an article on the compatibility between parenthood and freelancing which included multiple quotes from freelance parents. The following are some of our favourite citations.
“They just suddenly give you this little human and nobody tells you what to do with it. It’s a bit like freelancing, really. Nobody tells you what to do with that either and you kind of muddle it out by hanging out with other freelancers and you muddle it out by hanging out with other parents.”
“The only predictable thing about having kids and being self-employed is that life is unpredictable. That is the one thing that you can count on.”
“I think there is a lot of pressure to try to do all the things, especially when you see people who don’t have kids doing all the things. But I think you just have to keep an eye on how you yourself are coping with that sort of stuff.”
“Certainly having children doesn’t make you less productive. I think it makes you more time-efficient. Then it’s what you choose to do with that time.”
“Your career might pivot and it might change, but it’s not the end — it’s the beginning!”