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When babies teeth, they often need more from their caregivers. Here’s how I avoid delays in my freelance mom work when littles need me.
Teething is painful and uncomfortable for babies. But it’s also challenging for caregivers. As a stay-at-home mom and a freelance mom with a thriving copywriting business, it can be tough to keep up when disruptions change our weekly schedules.
My 16-month-old is getting his canines. It led to him snuggling in our bed all night, which means I can’t get up and be productive like I usually do to keep up with my writing business. It meant I lost an entire day this week, which was challenging.
If you’re evaluating a freelancing job as a stay-at-home mom, here are some of my tips for maintaining work levels while giving your littles exactly what they need.
Tips for Freelancing Stay-at-home Moms
Freelancing is tough business no matter what. But add in being the primary caregiver for little ones and you’ll have a perfect storm some days when both your work and your children are demanding. Here are tips for freelancing stay-at-home moms.
1. Leave Room for Disruptions as a Freelance Mom
I do my best to allow an extra day or two in my deadlines than what I think I really need. Some clients find it a little annoying that I deliver work early 90 percent of the time. Others see the need to leave room for the unknown.
Even if you don’t have children at home, I highly recommend this for freelancers. You need to have room for issues with internet, last-minute requests from another client, getting sick, etc.
2. Call in Helpers
When children aren’t feeling well, calling in helpers can be tough because you don’t know if the child is contagious. In this case, my son was running a 103-degree fever. I couldn’t call in my helpers in this case, but I have a network in case of disruptions or unexpected delays get in the way.
I did work over lunchtime though on the days my husband worked from home. He could oversee lunchtime while I got stuff done. While I don’t like doing this because it wastes an opportunity to connect with my spouse, it’s still important to get the work I’ve committed to done.
3. Never Over-commit
I try to keep my workload at about 80-90 percent of what I think is realistic. This keeps my stress levels down. That way when I had to sleep with my son, I knew I could do so without issues in paying bills or hurting client relationships. It wasn’t ideal, but it’s the reason why I work from home with my kids. I want to be here when they need me.
4. Know How Long Every Project Will Take, Even if You Bill Using Flat Rates
Scheduling your days will help you feel less stressed when the unexpected happens. You should know how long every activity takes you from start to finish. This way you can squeeze it in where you have time.
During this particular instance, it meant doing work after my children went to bed. I knew I could get things done in those two hours between their bedtime and mine while still having brain power to get up and get to it the next morning.
5. Choose Your Clients Carefully
Thankfully, I’m surrounded by clients who just get it. They know my kids come first and that the whole reason I freelance is to be with them. That wasn’t always the case. I’ve dealt with people who were annoyed with background noises from my kids. They are no longer with me because it wasn’t a fit.
While I don’t like asking for deadline extensions, sometimes it’s a necessary part of freelancing as a stay-at-home mom.
6. Say No to New Work
If you have clients who need work from time to time, you might need to say no to this unscheduled work for a few weeks while you get everything back on track. It’s sad because it’s an opportunity to supercharge your budget for the year, but ultimately you don’t want to overcommit yourself.
Saying no took me some time in my freelancing career, but I’m so thankful that I’ve gotten pretty good at it as the years have gone by.
7. Remind Yourself Why You’re a Work-at-home Mom
In this case, I soaked in all the snuggles and knew that I was doing exactly what I should be doing at that moment – snuggling my teething baby. These moments are the moments I work so hard for and I’m so grateful to be able to balance work and caring for my kids.