That’s a really nice idea, right? Being at home and working full time on content creation. Picture me sitting at an old desk with the sun streaming in from my beautiful manicured garden with tended raised beds that support us in food throughout the year. At least that’s the dream. Here at the cottage, life is a little bit more…well let’s just use the word ‘busy’.
The question I receive most from listeners and readers is ‘How do you do it?’ usually followed by ‘Where do you find the time?’ I always find this funny because if you follow me on social media or listen to some of my earlier podcasts then you would know that for the last eight months there has been very, very little sleep here at the cottage and like always the dream isn’t exactly reality now is it?
If you are a blogger, writer or work from home I know you are nodding along with me. Anyone who has worked from home will know exactly how hard it is to stay motivated and how isolating it can be. That freedom that you have been striving for does come with a price. If you are a stay at home parent and you run a blog, well you, my friend deserve a day at a spa resort, paid for by your readers.
The Early Months
I have tried to describe my work day previously and in the early months, it was chaos. Complete and utter chaos, wait am I supposed to sugar coat that? Well, I won’t. I was building something for myself while trying to mind a toddler and a newborn in a cottage that needed to be renovated. I’m still in the early stages as the blog isn’t even a year old yet but I have built something I’m proud of. That came from the need to use my brain for something other than changing nappies, bathing the children and being everything in the world from cook to cleaner, emergency cuddle giver and constant baby feeder. While I love being a mum that didn’t change the desire for me to want something of my own to be proud of and to create the life I wanted while the early sleep deprived, zombie days of parenthood slipped by. I really don’t understand why having children would somehow nullify the life I wanted for myself, as if by giving birth I no longer had the right to put myself first for a few hours a day.
I didn’t have the luxury of working a day job and having a hobby on the side. Yes, I said luxury because it does mean a second income and in most cases that will allow you to make a choice, to stay working or become a stay at home parent. Like many LYS workers, I had to stop working to mind my children as childcare is just insane here in Ireland. I also wanted to be around my children while they are little. Does this make content creation easier? Eh no but it can lead to some epic Instagram images. Most days I’m juggling lots of things from the toddlers new and inventive ways of giving me a heart attack to getting them to sleep so I can work. Thankfully, childcare has been sorted now but in the beginning, if you have an image of me in my PJ’s feeding a baby and writing a blog post while encouraging the older toddler to draw or paint or plant seeds then you would be pretty close to a day at the cottage.
Why put yourself through that?/ Don’t you think you’re taking on too much?
I promise you, if you ever say this to me in person it will be met with an icy cold stare of doom. No, I don’t think I’m taking on too much and furthermore let me ask you a question; Do you think a two-parent family where both adults work full-time hours take on too much when they have to get out of their beds, get their kids to creche/school, work all day and then collect the kids, cook, do bedtime and then whatever is needed before getting up and doing it all over again? No? That’s acceptable to you? And as an aside from that let me say just one more thing, my choices are my own choices and they do not in anyway validate or invalidate your choices that you made when you decided how to raise your family. Hopefully, you did/are doing what felt/feels right for you.
I juggle family life like every other parent out there. I’m a freelancer. That allows me to work in something I truly love and raise my kids. I really am very lucky to be able to run the blog and podcast and meet with guests but do not be fooled, this does come with a price and I am willing to pay it. My days are long, much longer than a 9 – 5 F.Y.I. It’s 23:37 right now as I type. I get amazing support from my husband, who right at this moment is editing a podcast while I write a late blog post. My kids do get TV time so that I can finish a last minute job but I can always log off for on demand cuddles, go for a walk in the sunshine or play when I’m needed. I get to be both a professional and a mother in the same hour, usually switching between the two more than once.
Then comes night time and the quiet hours were I am tired but I work for the love of what I do. That jump from full-time job to freelancing didn’t happen quite the way that I thought it would but nothing in this life has so far so why should it? I’m supposed to be a chemist right now, working in research with lab partners analysing data or synthesising new products. Would I change any of my decisions, no but ask me in a year from now just to be sure.
That leap into full-time content creator/writer for me was sudden and demanding. I may be tired but I love what I do. Did I stop and think about where I wanted to go? In the beginning no but about 3 months ago, yes I did. The difference was I knew I could do this. What I was doing was working and I was building a portfolio, I just hadn’t realised it until collaborations started happening and I was suddenly doing what I do every day. I got here through the help of some wonderful friends who take the time to write/talk to me on the blog or podcast. I did not create all of this on my own. Yes, I did a lot of the heavy lifting but I had support.
Finally, for all the working parents out there, you are doing fantastic. It doesn’t matter that there is banana smeared on the couch, turn the cushion and deal with it tomorrow and make yourself a cuppa.