THE BALANCING ACT...
Recently I've been struggling to juggle working and being a Mum. I'm not sure if it is because on the whole Stanley is easier to look after and therefore I can take on more, or if I feel like I ought to be doing more. Anyway my days without him now seem so rushed from start to finish. I never take a break and always eat my lunch at my computer whilst trying to check emails, blog, or catch up with the few blogs I follow! I've never been great at balancing things. I think the trouble with having only ever worked freelance is that you feel the moment you stop that will be it. Work offers will dry up and and no one will ever employ you again! I use to teach part time at Kingston University on the Foundation course there and I LOVED that. It was lovely to have a slightly more 'normal' job and work regular hours getting paid on time etc etc. When I got pregnant though I felt I needed to give it up as I knew I could never commute the hour and a half to work when he was little, or when he was old enough to get to nursery, the hours just didn't match up.
When I was pregnant I never stopped working. I had no maternity pay from an employer, just the teeny tiny bit you get from the government, so I felt like I should just keep going until my bump got so big in the last couple of weeks I was just too far from my desk to reach my colouring pencils! I took my first job on when Stanley was 8 weeks old, and it was for cbeebies, called Driver Dan's Story train (you can see the artwork for it here.) It perhaps wasn't my finest piece of work but they were happy with it and in the end I enjoyed doing it. I'm not sure it was the best idea, but I wanted to keep the work coming, and you know what it is like, as a freelancer you feel like you can't say no to anything! I don't know how I would have managed it if it wasn't for Grandparents help. I remember I took the call, said "yes" and then put down the phone looking at tiny Stanley thinking what have I done? I can barely get dressed and showered most days how will I work?! I breast fed up until he was 8 months old so that limited how long he could be away from me, so I used to do short bursts for maybe 2 hours here and there when someone else would take him for a walk. He never napped for long in the early days so I didn't have that luxury! It all went ok in the end though and I felt hugely satisfied having finished the brief and they were happy with it!
I always envy other mums with 'real' jobs as they have this specific time frame of 9 months or so where they get paid (however much that might be) and switch off from work a bit while they concentrate on just being a Mum. I don't feel I have ever done that. Perhaps I will always have a case of the grass is always greener. Maybe my job seems perfect to others as I can fit it around Stanley.
Now he is older he goes off to one set of Grandparents on a Monday and one set on a Thursday for the whole day. That means two full days a week to work, blog, make food and clean the house a bit. At them moment is is working so well and he loves spending time with his Grandparents. I feel very lucky to have this help nearby, I've no idea how I'd manage without it.
So other working Mum's out there. How do you all manage your time? Whether you are freelance working from home, a studio, a full time blogger, or you have a 'normal' job that you go out to. How do you find you manage your time best? Am I fairly normal for feeling like I could and should do more work? Or do you feel you have the balance just right? Any tips or words of wisdom would be wonderful!