When Freelancing and Motherhood Isn't Always a Good Match

I'm an active freelance copywriter and blogger, and one of the things I realized only recently is that freelancing and motherhood don't always go well together.

You'd here people saying that freelancing has helped them by giving them the opportunity to be with their families while working, but what you haven't heard are the trials, challenges, and even failures that come with the ability to work from your own home.  I've experienced these failures in particular for myself and to be honest, I still haven't come up with a better solution than to hire a yaya or to cut down on your workload.

Doing Both Can Be Just as Stressful

Here's what I think:

Being a mom and a freelancer is absolutely possible.  You can definitely find joy in being able to earn for your family AND at the same time spend quality time with your kids. That is, if your kids can walk, talk, entertain themselves, and attend school.

But if you've got an infant or a year-old baby who can't lift herself up without possibly hurting herself, you might want to reconsider working from home first.

Your child needs you to keep an eye on her while she explores the world.  She needs you to catch her when her knees buckle, cushion her fall when she decides to lie down, and steady her when her legs finally ose their strength.

It's going to be extremely difficult on your part to have to jump out of your seat (while in the middle of work) just to hold your baby and keep her from falling or banging her head.  You lose your momentum, your focus, and are left in a state of exhaustion from trying to entertain your baby and keep her from causing any more mischief.

So What's the Best Move to Make?

If you're planning on going back to work or starting a freelance business, think about what you need to do to be able to manage both motherhood and work first.  If you have family or a nanny to care for your baby while you're busy working, that's awesome.

But if you're still on your own and your child's in her 1st to 3rd years of life, I believe waiting till she's big enough to go to school, to carry herself, and to find joy in the toys and books around her is a better move to make.  This way, you'll not only spend quality time with her, you'll be able to watch her grow and witness her first milestones.  This, I believe, is vital and something mothers must never miss out on.

Of course, not all mothers are the same.  I may feel that freelancing and mothering babies isn't a good idea, but others who are able to manage both wonderfully might have a different opinion about this.  If you'd like to share your thoughts and opinion about freelancing and motherhood, please go ahead and share in the comments below.
Photo credits to Extension.org
Stef Gonzaga is a 20-year old mom, a freelance writer, an online shopper, and a tech maniac. Read about her life at The Steffi G. Blog, learn everything you need to know about freelancing at The Freelance Pinoy, or connect with her via Twitter @alexis0fdreams.

5 comments:

artnanay said...

That's the conundrum. Brave of you to tackle the problem here.

Stef Gonzaga said...

Thanks Mommy for the comment! :) This realization actually just dawned on me when Jayson and I were at Manila last March 13.

Justine R said...

I've always thought that freelancing was a blessing, since I could work at home and be with my daughter. However, things became a bit complicated when I went back to school, so I had to rent this office space (share it with a friend, actually) near XU so I could work in between classes. I've found out that working in an office setting makes me more productive, so I'll continue renting the office space even during the summer break,never mind if I have to commute and spend four to five hours a day for work. At least, when I get home I have the time to take care and have fun with the daughter.

I think I'll be freelancing until forever, but until such time that I'll have my own house (with a separate room to serve as an office), I'll be working/freelancing out of the house :)

Stef Gonzaga said...

Thanks Justine for sharing! I had a feeling that being in an office setting would make people more productive and focused than when working from one's bedroom. Come to think of it, that's a great solution/suggestion for freelancing moms who'd like to get back to work. :)

Let us know when you do get that in-house office. I'm aiming for that as well!

JoVeLL said...

Hi Stef,

I think I've read that somewhere in the US they have an office for freelancers only and it has all the amenities a regular office. It may have been from the magazine: Entrepreneur.

Re: your post, I totally agree with you. If your child is in his or her toddler years or younger, attending to both (freelance work and motherhood) is HARD! Right now, my children (14, 9 and 7 years old) are all able to take care of themselves and even help around the house, so there's not much obstacle for me anymore to find time for work.
For mothers who have no choice but to do both at the same time, I suggest you find only one or two clients first to work for, who will not demand too much of your time (let's say only 2-4 hrs of work) and then establish your relationship with them so you can have a "stable" client/income source. This will help in building your freelance profile too. And when your child is big enough that's the time you can cater to more clients or work hours. During your child's younger years you just really need to sacrifice some of your career or financial goals.

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