I started working again in October after my maternity leave.
Spending all that time with my boy those first few weeks was amazing and also? It’s pretty necessary. It easily takes 12 weeks to feel… well, to feel like a human again. It’s heartbreaking to think that many women are forced to return to work much, much sooner. Heck, after a somewhat complicated birth, I still sometimes feel like I’m not entirely physically healed even now.
Originally, I believed I’d be able to work without care for the kiddo. During a (telephone) business meeting in October, it became abundantly clear that this wouldn’t work at all, so we’ve hired a friend of mine to nanny for us.
Having her here means that I can have a professional life, while also nursing and having little pockets of time with Elliott throughout the day. It is THE BEST, and I’m incredibly grateful that we can do things this way.
All of my life, I’ve wanted to be a work-from-home mama. I never wanted to entirely give up my professional life, though I did hope that my work would be a creative endeavor.
Figuring out how to make that happen has been a challenge, especially as Elliott’s arrival birthed such a priority shift in me. Where money was secondary to me before, now I find myself more willing to accept jobs that utilize my skills, but don’t necessarily focus on my passions. That’s perfectly okay by me. Truthfully, it was time for that shift.
I’ve been asked often how it is that I’ve found freelance opportunities. It’s actually easier now than it ever was. Many companies are starting to offer telecommute positions.
In late September, early October, I began to put my feelers out there. First, I contacted other freelancers I know to tell them that I was beginning to take on clients again. Second, I brushed up my LinkedIn profile and resume. (I actually got one client the day after I brushed up my LinkedIn profile – it works, folks!) Third, I started checking my favorite jobs site, Indeed, a few times a week. (Hot tip: You will have better luck searching the word “remote” than “freelance” in my experience.)
As a result, I’ve secured 140 monthly hours with regular client work, leaving 20 hours monthly for passion-centered endeavors. (See the “Work with Me” page to learn more about what that is.)
I wanted to talk about this, because now that I’m a mama, I recognize the work/life struggle all the more. The pull to be with our babies, while also engaging in a full, professional life is strong and complicated. Yes, men feel this, too, but I genuinely believe this is harder for mamas.
For example, in early October, I applied for a job I really wanted and was absolutely suited for in both skill set and experience. When they saw my resume, the man doing the hiring immediately emailed me and said, “Wow. You have all the skills we’re looking for. I just wanted to reach out and ask how you planned to juggle this job with having a three-month-old baby.”
Despite my reassurance that I would have a nanny, they very apologetically decided not to even interview me. I wholeheartedly believe that I wasn’t hired specifically because I’m a mother. When are men ever asked how they plan to juggle a job and being a father? I’ll answer for you. Never.
Like I said, becoming a mama has changed things for me. It’s made me want to become an even stronger champion for my fellow women. I’ve heard people often overlook some of their best talents because they come so easily that we disregard them as common. Well, I think maybe cheerleading other women is a calling and talent that I have. I’d like to think that’s true.
So, anyway, I’ve added a little “Work with Me” tab in the upper right of this site. I’m combining skills I’ve used in my work for years with one of my passion ideals. If you’d like to learn more about that, check it out. If not, that’s cool too.