Earlier this year I lost three of the best performers of my freelance team, just a week apart. They were excellent writers, performed consistently for me since 2011 ghostwriting hundreds of papers and grew financially as well as intellectually. Of course, dealing with each other professionally for so long also meant that we nourished a personal bond, sharing our life stories, sorrows and happiness together. They would often tell me how finding freelancing work has helped them enjoy the feeling of independence which they would otherwise have found impossible, confined to their home for various reasons. Even as they resided hundreds of miles away from our office premises, I tried my best to liberate them through creative writing jobs while they beautifully managed their homes and jobs. It therefore came to me as a huge setback when they resigned from their responsibilities rather abruptly (I at first thought someone was playing a rude joke on me). I was disappointed that three of my most treasured, valued writers were suddenly leaving for the same reason- childbearing & raising. Not that motherhood isn’t precious, but I find it unacceptable that women have to give up on their necessities, wants, desires or hobbies to perform their duties as a housewife or mother better. Giving up on your previously held interests is by no means the only way to be a good wife or mother.
Yes, freelancing while cherishing motherhood is definitely possible. Haven’t you heard of Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo who took just two weeks’ maternity leave before she resumed her duties as the most important person of the company? If a new mother can resume her full-time responsibilities as the leader of one of the biggest companies in the world, then is it really impossible to juggle a freelance career which requires you to spend a few hours a day working? Certainly not.
The beauty of freelancing is that you have the freedom to work as you wish, when you wish. Although I am not yet a mother myself, I do have a few freelance mothers on my team whom I look up to for the fact that they manage their homes and work beautifully. Based on my interactions with them, I learnt how, if chosen wisely, you too can manage your freelancing opportunities even as a new mother.
Limit your freelance work
Take projects which interest or appeal to you. Reject those that you feel will be long or laborious. Decline those which seem risky. Don’t accept assignments which require you to venture outdoors. This will help you feel energized right until the end of the project.
Play to your strengths
If you feel that you can’t spend enough time in developing new skills or learning new techniques, then the best thing to do is to play it safe. Accept assignments that you are familiar with or feel confident of doing justice to. That way you will save about 2-3 hours every day in learning new things.
Keep weekends exclusively for family
Two days a week exclusively for family refreshes your mind. Request your employer for entirely work-free weekends so that you will not feel that the job is taking up all of your time/ attention.
Stop feeling guilty
Spending two hours a day for freelance writing is not injustice towards your home or child. In fact it will help you retain a sense of independence by being productive and distract you from the monotonous way of life. It also sets a good example to your baby as he/she grows up, to strike a balance among all things in life. So there is no reason to feel guilty about the time not spent with your baby.
Work when your baby sleeps
The quietest hours are the best hours for a freelance writer. Schedule your works as far as possible, when the baby is fast asleep. Get as much work done as possible when there are no distractions and keep the rest of the day for your family.
Limit unimportant interactions with outsiders
Guests will drop unannounced for many reasons but restrict the time you spend interacting with them. No matter how important they seem, prioritizing other tasks for the day is also important. Avoid making freelance work an occasional bout rather make it a habit.
Limit the hours spent working
Spend no more than 2 hours a day in freelance writing. Optimise your work time, work in such a way that you are able to gather data, analyse and form words in this time. If you successfully do this, then there is no way you will feel tired of this job.
Negotiate for better pay
Do what makes you feel motivated to take up a job. If money is a big motivational factor, then play the cards accordingly, negotiate with your employer for a better remuneration. Explain to them how it makes you feel motivated about spending time in this job rather than attending to your personal responsibilities.
Most mothers find midday and late evenings (post 9 pm) the best time to work. If you find yourself unable to write at a stretch, then you can split your hours between the two shifts. However, make sure you do not compromise on your sleep or health while freelancing.