Being a freelancer and being a mom

The Wealthy Freelancer has two excellent posts by Dianna Huff on “Tips for Making Money as a Work-At-Home Freelance Mom.” Part one is here and part two is here. Having freelanced since my daughter was an infant, I heartily agree with almost everything Dianna says, but I’ll chime in with some of my own agree/disagree thoughts here:

  • I can’t agree strongly enough about the need to present a professional image when you are a work-at-home mom. If you want to play with the big guys, you have to play by the rules of the business world, which do not include having a screaming child hanging off your leg while you’re on a conference call. There are ways to work around this; try to steer your clients toward using e-mail to contact you, etc. But in my opinion, a work-at-home mom absolutely needs a) a dedicated business phone line or phone number and b) some block of time where she knows she can be uninterrupted in the office.
  • I have to slightly disagree about the day care issue. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I couldn’t stomach the idea of putting my daughter in day care when she was really little, and I felt that one of my main reasons for freelancing was to be able to spend more time with her. Granted, a major factor was that my husband was able to take a year off working after she was born, but even after he went back to work, I really preferred to use an in-home babysitter who came several mornings a week while I was working. Between 2-3 hours with the babysitter and my daughter’s afternoon naps, I was able to get in a pretty decent work day without using day care (and no, I’m not trying to ignite a debate on whether group day care is positive or negative for very young kids, just saying that it didn’t appeal to me!).
  • A shared frustration: as Dianna alludes to in several of her points, I wouldn’t trade working at home for anything, but I do think that we work-at-home moms are often caught between the world of the working mom and the world of the at-home/full-time mom, without exactly fitting into either category. It frustrates me as well when people seem to feel that because I work from home, it’s unreasonable that I can’t volunteer for their activity/pick up their child/have a lengthy phone conversation during the work day because I’m, um, working! However, I do really enjoy that when my daughter needs or wants me to participate in a school activity during the day, I can almost always be there.
  • I also think it’s important, for those translator-moms who have very young (below school age) kids, to realize that things get a lot easier as the kids get older. There was a point when my daughter was 3-4 years old when I was working at night 5-6 nights per week in order to have her in half-day preschool instead of full-time day care, and I felt as if I was constantly teetering on the edge of sanity. At that point, I really debated whether I was doing anyone any good by freelancing, or whether I should just put her in full-time day care and work regular hours. Now that my daughter is in school for a full day, life feels much more normal; I work while she’s at school, then we spend the afternoon together doing something fun. A couple of nights a week I work for a couple of hours, but I feel that this is a worthwhile trade-off for the extra time that I have during the day. Fortunately, my husband has been able to negotiate a 4-day work week with his job, so he uses his day off to spend an afternoon with our daughter too, giving me one day a week when I can put in a long day without arranging for extra child care.

Other translator-moms, any advice out there!

18 Responses to “Being a freelancer and being a mom”
  1. Kelly Wester May 21, 2009
  2. Karen Tkaczyk May 21, 2009
  3. Corinne McKay May 21, 2009
  4. Marianne Reiner May 21, 2009
  5. Marinkina May 21, 2009
  6. Jennifer Baker May 21, 2009
  7. Corinne McKay May 22, 2009
  8. ebodeux May 22, 2009
  9. Judy Jenner May 23, 2009
  10. Tess May 27, 2009
  11. Corinne McKay May 27, 2009
  12. ebodeux May 27, 2009
  13. Dianna Huff May 27, 2009
  14. Corinne McKay May 28, 2009
  15. Kerry May 29, 2009
  16. Clara June 10, 2009
  17. missappletart November 17, 2013
  18. Natalia Aleynikova March 21, 2014

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