Friday, November 9, 2007

Is it Possible to Freelance with Small Children?

I've got lots of work coming in. I'm incredibly excited and eager to tackle it all with a grin and giggle that I get paid to do this. One thing that worries me though is balancing my work with care for my girls ages 3 and 6 months.

One of the main reasons I became a freelancer is because I wanted to stay home with my children. I made this decision before I even had children and I continually turn down full-time writing jobs because I'm concerned about the impact it will have on my girls.

My family lives in another city and my husband's family isn't available to watch our girls while we both work from home so we alternate. I keep trying to set office hours and get everything done within those hours, but sometimes things carry over or pop up and then I'm juggling again. Anyone with munchkins know the drama of trying to check email while keeping baby drool off the keys. I wish there was a way to do a babysitting co-op with other writers - swapping office hours and childcare, like some freelancers co-op office space...

On really difficult days I wonder - is it possible with small children? Do you have to have outside childcare?


Dawn said...

It's totally possible but it's crazy-making. I didn't have childcare until last -- fall? I can't remember. And then I had two 2-hour mornings a week. I got A LOT done in four hours a week but not as much as I wanted to.

The things that kept me from ACTUALLY going crazy was being serious about writing time. I was too apt to shove it aside and meet someone's needs and I had to stop doing that. I had to be inflexible about work. That meant that I WAS NOT AVAILABLE when Brett had the kids, period. (It wasn't him disturbing me either; it was me coming back upstairs because I felt guilty when I heard the kids wrestling or crying.)

So yes, it's possible without childcare but *with* childcare a writer can be much more effective.

Theda K. said...

I'm dealing with a similar dilemma. I only have one child, but I'm a single parent. My daughter is 2 and a half, and I'm at my wits end. I can't work while she's home with me, which is most of the time. And I must work, or else we'll have no home. And I'm not very patient with her when I'm working. I can see the toll it's taking on her as she gets older and more active.

She craves my attention, so much so that today she purposely poured her sippy cup on the floor, and purposely urinated on the floor. She didn't use to act out, but I can hear in her voice and see in her eyes that she's desperately wanting my full attention 100% of the time.

It's time for daycare, if only a couple of days a week for a few hours. Her grandparents will watch her sometimes too.

But, have I enrolled her yet? No. So we'll see. I may try hiring a babysitter for a few hours just to play with her here in the house. I'd like a babysitting swap too if I could find one.

What a dilemma!

Terreece said...

Theda - Liv's 3 and I had a similar acting out situation a little while ago.

I had to stop and ask why I was freelancing - so I could be at home with my daughter. So I carve out exclusive time with her. No emails, no phones, nothing but me and her & now me, her & Bri and rotate those jokers :0)

I also work better once we've had our time and she's more comfortable playing or whatever while I work.

It's a tough one because at least I've got the hubby at home to take over when I've really gotta buckle down. But I use nap times and bed times like a drowning man's life preserver.

I think getting someone in for a couple of hours is a great idea. I'm looking into that for Bri. She'll know you're still there, you can get work done and then give her your full attention.