It’s been a little over two months since I left my corporate world to join the freelance universe, and I figured it might be a good time for a little update. The transition to full-time freelancer has been fairly smooth, all things considered. I think I’d been freelancing on the side for such a long time, it was actually a relief to be able to take it on more seriously. I know I am lucky, because we have my husband’s good salary to support us, but at the same time, he has been able to build his business because I spent years supporting us while he was starting up, so it’s not all luck. I’d say going for it included a mix of good fortune, hard work, sweat and laughter, because this life is so silly, you have to laugh sometimes.
My biggest struggle has been balancing work and my kids, which is obviously very unique and has never been discussed on the internet before! (I hope the sarcasm was inherent in that statement, but if not, here’s a clue…) Lucy is in third grade, so she’s in school five days a week from 8:10 until 3:10. Tate is in preschool, and goes three days a week from 9:00 until 2:30. This means I have 15 hours per week kid-free. Squeezing everything in during those 15 hours is so very challenging. And that’s not taking in to account my other obligations, like volunteering at school, running our household, service work and watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix! Also, there have been many (many) weeks where there are government holidays or in-service days so the kids don’t have school. Yesterday was Tate’s last day of school for two weeks due to Spring Break, and today is Lucy’s last day for 10 days. Deadlines don’t seem to realize that it’s Spring Break, the party poopers, so that is something I have to deal with and work to overcome.
Now, I’m going to be real about this…it’s hard. But it’s temporary. And really, it’s not that big of a deal. One thing I’ve learned is I like working as a freelancer because I control the amount of drama in my own head. When I was in an office, I had a hard time staying out of the fracas when there was drama or issues, and I found myself constantly stressed out. I think since I’m working alone in my own space, even if it’s on a project with a team of people, I’m better able to keep that drama at bay. So the stress levels are lower, even though I’m probably working harder than ever. Also, I’m doing work I love! The work fulfills me creatively, so when I look at my to-do list and feel overwhelmed, I look again and actually READ the items on said list. And you know what? I have a really fun job! I immediately feel better when I look at things from that perspective.
So, that’s where I am, 60 days into this crazy new adventure. Yes, there are days when I work at IKEA (see photo on the right) because they have child care and free wifi. Yes, I am that lady at the gym who drops the kids off in the play area and then sets up my laptop in the cafe to work. Sure, I have to trust the Power Rangers to distract my kids long enough so I can send an email or jump on a quick conference call. But for the most part, it’s amazing. I’m learning new tricks every day. My biggest one? From 3:00 p.m. to 8 p.m., I do my best not to work. That’s family time, and the whole reason I am doing this is so I can be there more for my kids. So from when I pick them up from school to when they are tucked in bed, I am all theirs. Sure, I hire a babysitter once or twice a week for evening photoshoots, but if I’m with my kids, I don’t want to be on my phone or obsessively checking emails. Am I perfect at this? Hahahahaha. No. But I’m trying my best and I’m aware, which is a huge part of the battle. And I think, at least for now, I’m on the winning team.