Written by Jessica Robinson
Are you mulling to begin a career in freelancing or to start your own freelance business? Well, if you are, empower that thought and go for it! As a freelancer with a family to raise, I can tell you that self-employment is the best alternative for mothers. We should be grateful for technology and for the ongoing digital revolution that has empowered mothers to work while staying at home and raising kids. Who would have thought ten years ago that this was ever going to become a functional reality?
Today, with the help of the internet, we can work for an employer-based out of a different country. You can offer consultancy online, run a knitting business from home, teach online, and whatever else on the sidelines whilst also raising your family. This is the kind of emancipation we women have always needed, isn’t it? For us, technology and the paradigm escalation of the freelancing culture are our instruments of women’s empowerment.
We no longer have to choose between our parenting responsibilities and reaching the office on time. We can pursue our dreams from our homes while having our children right in front of us. I feel that I could not ask for more.
It has been around five years since I left a full-time job and switched to freelance blogging and teaching. Until I had made this move, I, too staunchly, believed in the idea that work-life balance is a myth. So, before switching to freelancing, I would stress about the need to maintain the correct work-life balance, fail to do so, and stress even more. But now, when I am freelancing, I can tell you that there is a great sense of balance, autonomy, and empowerment linked to freelancing.
I now feel that this is something I always wanted to do to make sure that I kept working for my self-esteem, and I also do not miss out on the priceless opportunity to see my kids grow up. In short, the work-life balance has been amazing!
In this blog post, I will share my perspective on freelancing and how my career has supported both my passion and motherhood. A lot of people have already explained the various benefits of a freelance job or business. However, I will rather speak from the purview of an ambitious mother in the context of empowerment and life balance. My freelancing career empowers me and helps me have a more stable and balanced life in many ways. Not to be forgotten, when I talk about my freelance career, I work six to seven hours a day on average! So, without further ado, let us delve deeper into my experiences.
Advantages of freelancing businesses for mothers
Being a freelancer means you can have all the flexibility in the world when it comes to work. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should procrastinate, but this flexibility leads to significant autonomy. Ever since I started freelancing, I have been my own boss, and I love that feeling. Because of this flexibility, I can manage my time much better between my duties as both a professional and a mother. I dearly love my family, as most of us do, and I also love my ambitions. I would never want to give up on one of them in the service of another.
However, in my full-time job, there were times when I had to make sacrifices. I didn’t have the flexibility back then that I do now. Being a freelance professional means that I can manage both my work and my family effectively. Freelancing while raising a family of course, can be challenging, but with the right mindset and resources, it can all be dealt with.
Although we talk about flexibility in the workplace in contemporary times, a mother would always expect greater autonomy from her job. In that case, freelancing works best because it provides you all the flexibility you need. I can adjust my household chores and work according to the need of the hour, and barring some days, it has never been a struggle. Having said that, trust me, you will always have enough time to look after your family parallel to your freelance business. Just go for it!
Ten to fifteen years down the line, I would like to ask myself what I gained in those years. I would then further like to ask myself about the magnitude of self-worth I gained and preserved in said years. I am sure I would be proud of myself when I reinforce the thought that I did not quit my career for a traditional gender role.
We women are always expected to do more for the house and kids, even in this gender-neutral world. That is absolutely fine by me, and in fact, I love doing that. However, when I work and earn money for myself and my family, it brings me a massive sense of self-worth. Freelancing has offered me the best of both worlds, and I have grabbed it to the fullest, I believe.
When I go off to sleep at night these days, I sleep with a sense of contentment. I cherish the fact that I could take care of my family and my ambitions concurrently. Life is grim at times, and I know people who had to give up on careers to raise their families. I am glad that freelancing opportunities have given me the chance not to quit in any of the two arenas. I can now be a mother gushing with self-pride and also a freelance professional making her mark. This self-worth is important for me to respect myself and to keep moving forward with zeal. This self-worth is even important for you to desire, and you can keep nurturing it with the success you gain as a freelancer.
3. Better life balance enables better stress management
I no longer have to stress about my work every day. However, I should tell you that when I was employed in a full-time corporate job, it took me one hour every day to commute to work. By logical extension, I had to undertake the same commute back home in the evening. In between, at the office, I felt incredible stress, despite performing well and receiving positive feedback in all performance reviews. In addition, I would stress about the absence of work-life balance and how I am not able to give enough time to my family. I have rarely had days of burnout in the last few years. Freelancing keeps me sane, mindful, and mentally strong.
Things have changed since I first began freelance blogging and teaching. Now there are only a few days when I feel a sense of overwhelming stress. Even if I ever feel any work-related stress, the joy of being with my family and having my kids around helps me overcome within no more than a few moments. Again, because I am now my own boss, stress has been diminished and the presence of family acts as a stress management technique. Now, in midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, we have ample time to provide one another, and we are trying to create new memories that will last a lifetime. I am relishing every bit of being a freelancer, and of course, it has also ensured stable income during these unprecedented times.
4. I can live every little joy of being a mother
I resumed my corporate job three months after the birth of my first child. My greatest fear was that my corporate life might snatch from me some of the best moments of motherhood. Not to mention, these moments were never going to come back. The best thing about freelancing jobs is that they allow you to not be distanced from your family because of work. Anyone who has switched from a traditional corporate job to freelancing can relate to this.
As a freelancer, I can drop my kids off at school, attend their parent-teacher meetings, take them on vacations, and see them grow up right in front of me. So, for me at least, a freelancing career is synonymous with great privilege. I can be a part of my children’s life journeys at almost all times. If you have applicable skills and a passion that you could translate into great things, go for freelancing! Then, you are free from not having to feel guilt over choosing between work and family. You can choose both!
In conclusion, the ideal balance of things, even in freelancing, is easier said than done. You need the right organizing skills, smart time-management tactics. And have to find ways for work and family not to interfere with one another. You will witness burnout on some days, even in freelancing. And also there could be some days where you will struggle for answers and support. You need to plan everything in advance, communicate with your family about work in a consistent manner, and set your boundaries and priorities straight.
Being a mother, you already possess excellent organizational skills; it is time you use them to significant effect. You should advance your plans for a freelance business without any further delay. Good luck!