The Freelance Rollercoaster

Let me preface this by saying that, overall, I am much happier as a freelancer than I was as full-time staff. I enjoy the control I have over the projects I take and how much time to give to them. I like being able to be home with my kids (most of the time) and still have a professional life. I will most likely continue to freelance once both boys are in school full-day. 

That said, the emotional highs and lows associated with the beginnings and ends of projects as a freelancer can be intense. It goes like this. 

My project is ending. Relief. Happiness. Wait, I have nothing lined up. Oooo, I have nothing lined up. Freedom. I can make doctors appointments and volunteer at school. Wait, I have nothing lined up. I have nothing lined up. No work! No money! PANIC! 

Nearly every time this happens, it is followed by:

The project ends. Someone emails me and offers me a new project. Yay, a new project! Work! Money! Wait, a new project. Stress. No freedom. No doctor’s appointments or volunteering. PANIC!

I almost always take the new project. The fear of never getting another one fuels my need to take what is offered. I just started something new and am in the panicky, how will I fit it all in mode. One of my biggest problems is that I rely solely on my mother-in-law for childcare and lately it hasn’t been cutting it time-wise. I have no one to call if I need to see a doctor (which I’ve been putting off) or go in to Brady’s class (which I have lined up already). Having another source of childcare would probably make my work-life balance a lot more, well, balanced. I need to work on this. But the quizzes I need to edit are calling to me. I’ll work on it later, when this project ends…right? I also mostly work from home, while my mother-in-law is here with the kids. This is far from optimal. I think I may have to go back to working from Starbucks for the sake of my sanity.

Freelancer parents, or just freelancers in general, how do you handle the balance? Do you work from home or find another place? Do you hire someone to watch your kids while you work or work around them? Do you panic at the end or beginning of a new project? Share with me!

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2 responses

  1. Well, I can definitely relate to not having enough time to do everything at home with kids around. I have a small at-home job with a local small business and occasional freelance jobs. I wish I had constant projects coming in though! Are you with an online freelance company or do you do local jobs?

    • I’ve always done freelance work for the company I was full-time for before I had kids. I’ve only had one period where I didn’t get work from them so I’ve never had to look elsewhere. I’m really lucky to get such steady work, but it can also get boring 😉

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