I work for myself as I know many of you guys do. I love it. I love the flexibility, my clients, my work & that I get to mould each day to my liking. I think I have probably made myself unemployable such is my love for doing things my way.
But….and there is a but….there are challenges. There are weeks when life takes over & not enough of the work I want to do gets done. Sometimes flexibility actually equates to headless chicken and then there are the school holidays. I have always loved being with my kids and I am so pleased that I ‘available’ to them. I know when I look back at my life I will be pleased I was able to be with them as much as I wanted to be. However, I struggle to get work done in the holidays in quite the same way. I try to carefully plan the time so that I get to do what I need to around their schedules and I am certainly able to take my laptop anywhere but I struggle to cut off from the domestics around me.
Today I am surrounded by teenagers. They are all being lovely, polite and no trouble. They are eating every 10 minutes and require guidance to help them strip the next layer from the food cupboard. They are also quite noisy and are unable to remember to clear away unless prompted (I’m not great a working in a mess). I swing between looking at them lovingly, thankful that I have this precious time with them and wanting to drop kick them into next week.
So here I am sharing my experience, trying to get a little work done before I taxi offspring this afternoon and allowing myself the ‘time off’ to enjoy them – after all my employed friends do get leave when they can be at home, relaxing without guilt.
Being self employed brings many amazing pleasures and thrills but it is not without challenges and being a parent is just one of those challenges. For me, I now try some of these tricks to make life a little less fraught and to avoid derailing my business.
- I reduce my client appointments to a minimum in the school holidays. Many of my clients are juggling too so I tend to leave the diary free to be flexible, present for the kids and get some down time.
- I condense meetings or important work into one or two days of intense work. This way the kids know that on the other days I am free to taxi/feed/entertain/feed.
- I set some boundaries for family life. I always let my clients know that I am a working Mum, that I run a small ship and that I will respond to their queries as quickly as possible but that I don’t have a 24 hours answering service. I have never had negative feedback from this.
- Finally I try to remember to take some holiday for myself. I try to remember to treat myself. I have learnt (sometimes the hard way) that if I don’t have my health and energy then the house of cards will fall.
I wish you all a great day and week if you are on half term and remind you to remember that working for yourself rocks and that you are never alone.