How to freelance as a mother might be something that you have been thinking about. Film producer and writer Helen Simmons shares her personal story of how she has made it work for her. As a freelancing mother myself I understand the difficulties of juggle career and home life. You want to be the best that you can be at both, but that can be exhausting. There are ways that both Helen Simmons and I have discovered to make it work, and places that you can get help as well.
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Sometimes having children helps us to focus. As someone who has struggled with perfection in the past, I now understand how much time I wasted worrying before my son came along. A sleeping baby is the best alarm clock to get you going when you only have an hour to spare. Yes you can’t say yes to every little thing or else burnout is round the corner, but you can start to see what is important to you. Helen Simmons talks about how it has made her much more productive and explains how in the podcast below.
How to have a baby and work
If you are someone who has recently had a baby, or else you are working as a freelancer and are wondering how to freelance as a mother, here are some things to think about.
You might be able to get maternity pay from the government if you are based in the UK. You can find out more about it here: Maternity pay. It was something that I was worried about, until I discovered that I could claim it as a freelancer. Even a small amount of extra money when you are trying to juggle sleepless nights and buying baby supplies on line in the middle of the night, can help!
Ask for help. This is such a simple thing to do, but we feel that we should know everything, or else it is hard to make ourselves vulnerable. Helen Simmons talks about this one point really well in relation to both having a baby and building her career. Download the podcast to get all the tips.
You might not be feeling it now, but your productivity can actually improve. Yes you’ll be knackered and trying to multitask with a baby in your arms is never easy. But you start to see what is really important on that to-do-list, and what you want to do for the future of your career.
Working mothers are superheroes
Now we’ve touched on productivity, but you might be worried about how you are going to go back to work once the baby has arrived. There is no right or wrong way of doing this, you have to do what is best for you and your situation. I didn’t put my son into childcare until he was 9 months old. I also did a film whilst breast feeding him on set. (You can hear me talk about this in the podcast). Was it hard? Oh yes! Did it work for me? Yes and no. I loved being able to get back to work with the colleagues that I adored, but I didn’t have the energy levels I used to have before my son arrived. You might be different, and find it all flows for you.
First off, finding out how to freelance as a mother, get help from those that have gone before. This should be the motto that all new parents sign up to. Don’t share all the bad bits. Share the joys as well and the things that you wish you had known before you became a parent. Helen Simmons talks about this and the way that she reached out to other parents in her industry was brilliant. (Something I wish I had done!) People usually want to help. You don’t have to listen to everything that they offer; choose the parts that feel right to you and thank them.
What I loved about chatting to Helen about this, was the way that she had navigated a very time heavy industry with her son. Of course it doesn’t work for everyone, and she is at a level (producer) where she has some say over the way that the film set is run, but there are gems in there that you can use as well.
Paving the way for other freelancing mothers
Unless we start to ask for help, make ourselves vulnerable, ask for better childcare facilities at work, then nothing will change. It takes the first few brave souls who risk putting their heads on the line to make massive changes for everyone else. Think about the creative industry that you are working in. (it doesn’t have to be film) Ask the questions now about what they have in place for parents.
If you are worrying about how to freelance as a mother, or thinking about having children in the future, you can take action now. Ask what is available now to help you do that so that you can navigate your career at the same time. It might help you make choices about the types of clients that you want to work for. And the corporations you want to do business with.
Freelancing and parenthood isn’t always easy, but there are extreme moments of joy mixed into the madness. Will you be the same person after parenthood? Probably not, but experience tells me as an older mother and Helen as a younger mother, that you will be a more focussed, streamlined and positive version of what went before.
If you are working in film and want support and learn more about Raising Films you can access their website here: Raising Films
You might have an idea that you want to get off the ground before having children. Back Her Business will match fund what you Crowdfund up to a certain amount. You can out more about it here: Back Her Business
If you have been inspired by Helen Simmons, you can find out more about her and the work that she does here: More about Helen
Remember that you are not alone on this journey. Reach out to others and ask for help when ever you need it. There are always mothers and fathers that are your type of tribe, also juggling freelancing and home life, you only need to shout to find them.