I’m a work from home mum, and I suspect that a number of you who follow me are also work from home mums or want to be, so this topic is one that will be close to your heart.
I used to work a regular office job. I was in the office long hours, and my friends and family knew that beyond my work and family duties I had very little time to do anything extra. Often times it was difficult even to make it to the regular family occasions (one year I worked both Mothers and Fathers Days – I cringe just thinking about it).
Having left my job to focus on my family and to work freelance style I do have a load more flexibility, and this is absolutely awesome. I work when I want, where I want and mostly this means that I am at home in the hours where most people are in the office. But there is something about this that I wanted to discuss with you all, and I think perhaps it is an area that a lot of people don’t understand.
Working from home DOES NOT mean I am always available.
Since I have been working from home I have found that I do get a lot more visitors during work days. I also often get requests for help with little jobs here and there.
I love my friends and family. I love that you want to spend time with me. I love that you want to catch up for coffee. And I love it that you feel like I am the kind of person who will support you when you need it. That is the kind of person I want to be for you, and the work that I do allows be the flexibility to be there when you need me. BUT, and it is a bit of a big but … I do work!
I feel like a lot of people misunderstand the work day of a work at home mum and I thought today I would write a few words to express this as it is important.
The fact that a freelance mama works from home does provide her with a lot more flexibility than what a regular job allows, but freelance work still has its commitments. Sometimes I have meetings to attend, sometimes I have online meetings or phone calls at set times, sometimes I just have a whole load of actual work to do. Even though I am physically at home, I do still need to get that work done. If I don’t get it done in my working hours (which are pretty limited as I only work during school time) then the only time I can make that up is in the evenings, which kinda goes against what I am trying to do with creating the freelance lifestyle.
I certainly do make exceptions, and when work is not so busy there sometimes is time for that extra week day catch up, but I think it is important for people to understand that even though we do work from home us freelance mamas still have work that we need to get done just like everyone else.
If you are a freelance mama yourself and this is something that you struggle with then you need to make sure that people know your working hours. Try to set up office hours, or block our working times or days and let other people know that you are unavailable during those times. You could put your working hours into your email signature so that people who email you know the times and days you have set aside for work. Or maybe you would prefer to let people know when you are available? In that case, you might prefer to use an app like Calendly to let your friends and family know when is a good time to contact you so that they don’t interrupt your work flows.
Sometimes managing your time is as simple as saying no to the things that people ask you to do. It can be really hard to say no, and you won’t always want to, but it can really help you to manage your time if you minimise your interruptions, and the best way to do that is to make sure you protect your working hours.
So, if you have well-meaning family and friends who don’t understand your freelancing commitments then do what you need to do to protect your work day and let them know that, as much as you do want to spend time with them, you do have a job to get done and you’ll have to make another a time to catch up that isn’t during your working hours.
Have a fabulous week ladies!
P.S. If you’re a freelance mama and you’re struggling to get your business off the ground, I’d love to hear from you. I’m always on the lookout for blog post inspiration, so message me with your troubles and I’ll create blog post or video to share with The Freelance Mama community.