I jumped headfirst into the world of freelancing just a little more than a year ago. At the time, I was pregnant with my daughter and still working full time. I just had one sweet, relatively agreeable 4 year old boy to contend with after work and on the weekends. I was also (shh!) able to do some of my freelance work while I worked at my full time job. It seemed like everything was going my way and there was no need asking for help.
Fast forward a little. I quit my full time job while I was on maternity leave with my daughter for a few reasons, but the biggest one was the cost of two kids in daycare. It was insurmountable on my current salary. I knew that freelancing had been fairly profitable for me, so I decided to give it a go while taking care of my son and new daughter. At first it was easy. My son was in pre-K 5 days a week for 3 hours, and my newborn slept for most of that time. I was able to get some work done, and whatever I didn’t get finished, I could complete in the evening.
Suddenly, I was inundated. That’s the thing about freelancing – it’s typically feast or famine. Last spring was a feast for me, to say the least. This is when I realize I absolutely needed to be asking for help.
At first, I was just asking for help from my husband and then my mom. That was great for a while, but then my husband got sick of having full-time kid duty all weekend, every weekend and my mom travels for work. My husband suggested that I look for a babysitter. I wound up using sittercity.com to find an awesome babysitter who was looking for something to do during the summer between graduating from high school and leaving for college. I was finally able to get something done!
Now, in addition to my freelance writing, I have started my own real estate business. This business requires me to be on-site several times a week, as well as shopping and planning. I started to get overwhelmed again, and decided that two days per week, while my son is in kindergarten, I would put my daughter in daycare. So far, it’s been great. Yes, maybe today I took a nap, went out for a burger for lunch, and had a cleaning marathon instead of working. But most days, I use my kid-free time wisely.
|What I do when I’m not working!|
Asking for help doesn’t often come naturally to moms. We are surrounded by a culture of moms who are expected to do it all without complaint. But please, let’s be realistic. We, especially moms who work from home and are freelancing in particular, simply have to have help to get everything done. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, to be a successful freelancer, you always have to be on the lookout for the next gig, because the one you’re working on will not go on indefinitely. You’ll need help to keep it up, I can almost guarantee it.
Here are a few quick tips about asking for help as a freelancing mom:
When Asking For Help…
- Don’t put too much pressure on your spouse or family – while it’s great to have help some of the time from your family, having them do it all can be tough. You don’t want them to become resentful of your work.
- Choose a reliable babysitter – at first, I put out the call for a babysitter on Facebook, thinking that someone I knew would be great for the job. Surprise! My Facebook friends have their own lives and no one was able to commit to a regular schedule. Using a site like care.com, sittercity.com, or even checking community bulletin boards for people who are actively seeking babysitting work can be more successful.
- Shop around for childcare centers – I’m lucky to live in a pretty urban area and have a lot of choices for child care. If you have the luxury, make sure that you find a childcare center (or home provider) that you feel comfortable with and can afford. I found a center that will take my daughter on a part time basis, and I can even call the day of for drop-in care if I need more time during the week to work.
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