5 essential tips for balancing freelancing and motherhood

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Mindset work, Motherhood

As mums, we have so much to balance in our lives. We’re constantly thinking about what activities everyone has on, ordering groceries, and making sure we get everything done at work. It can be pretty chaotic at times, so today I wanted to share with you my 5 essential tips for balancing freelancing and motherhood.


Tip #1: Time your work to fit your life

One of the biggest challenges that I had when I was working full time as a lawyer, was that I had to try and fit my life around my work. This did not work for our family and was a big motivator for getting out of a regular job. However, when you are a freelancer there is also the risk of setting up your freelance business this way. You don’t have to.

When I started doing freelance work, I decided that I wanted my freelance work to fit around my life. To manage this, I rely very heavily on a lot of planning and an easy to see calendar. At the start of the year, I put all of our family’s important dates on the calendar. The most important considerations for me are holidays and other days that children will be home, such as teacher-only days.

Once those are on the calendar I add in any existing work commitments, such as travel, training etc. This allows me to see what time I have available for work. I would not, for example, take on a big piece of work with a deadline in the middle of the school holidays unless I could do it in advance. The reason for this is that I choose to have my children with me for most of the holidays. I don’t want to have to juggle their needs with the needs of a client. I’ve tried it before and it just doesn’t feel good.

I also choose to only work during school hours, unless I am travelling for work. Occasionally I will do something urgent after hours, but normally I make sure work is scheduled during school hours.

You might think that this would limit your opportunities as a freelancer, and possibly in some situations you might be right. However, I feel like as a general rule people are pretty good about working around your timing. This is particularly so if you are still able to meet the relevant deadlines. Just be upfront about your availability and set realistic deadlines for yourself around your life commitments. This will ensure that your business doesn’t take over your life.


Tip #2: Choose work that works for you

There are lots of freelance opportunities, but some of them might not fit in with your life as a mum. Some freelance jobs require you to be physically present at a location specified for your client. If you know that it will be hard for you to commit to this, then don’t sign up for this kind of work. Choose freelance work that is going to suit your needs and those of your family. If you are the primary caregiver for your children then you may want to only choose work that you can do from home.

I’ve had freelance work that has required me to travel. My husband travels too, and just generally has a more restrictive work schedule. This means that we have to coordinate our schedules so that the time I spend travelling works in with his schedule too. However, there are times when it doesn’t work for me to travel (e.g. school holidays), so I’ve always tried to avoid taking on jobs that would require me to be away during those periods.


Tip #3: Get organised

As you can probably see from the last two tips, balancing freelancing and motherhood can take a fair amount of organisation.

The calendar trick I mentioned above has been a total lifesaver for us. The calendar lives on our fridge for all to see. It means that it is totally clear to everyone in the house when I will be away, when the school holidays are etc. It also means that I can see my availability at a glance if someone calls and says “Can you do this?”.

It also pays to get a bit organised with your other household stuff, especially when you have to travel or have a big project. When I’m super busy, I make the most of online shopping or get deliveries. Other times, I’ve chosen to opt for meal boxes to take the thinking out of meal planning. I’m not naturally an organised person, so for me, it is about how to make it easier for myself and my family.


Tip #4: Set office hours and make them known

Office hours can be a total lifesaver when it comes to balancing work and motherhood. You should set some for yourself and also make them known. Even if you do choose to work outside of those hours, having office hours reduces the likelihood of phone calls or meetings outside of those hours. I’ve always found that those out of hours calls come at the worst times and it is best not to take them.

To make your office hours clear, you could include them in your sign-up paperwork, website or socials. Even better, put them into your email signature. That way, it is clear to people working with you that you won’t be available outside of certain hours. If you stick to this, people are much more likely to call you before school pick up!

Don’t feel like this is unreasonable. Most big companies have office hours and we expect that if we want to talk to them we will do it at the times they specify. We can do the same thing as freelance mamas.


Tip #5: Outsource when you need to

There will come a time as a freelancer when you have more things to do than you have hours to do them. At these points in time, it is a good idea to find things you can outsource.

If you are new to freelancing you might be thinking, “How could I do that?”. You might be wondering what you would outsource, or how you could afford to outsource.

When I’ve been loaded up with work, I have outsourced jobs around the house such as cleaning and laundry. At times I have even outsourced childcare (aka school holiday programme or a grandparent) to get the work done.

Sometimes it is worth making some of these concessions to be able to get the freelance work. This is particularly so if it is an ongoing job and the money justifies the cost of the help. Also, sometimes the additional help is a very small amount. For one job I had, the cost of getting the laundry done was less than one hour’s pay. It was very well worth it for the hours it saved me in washing, drying and folding washing! In reality, I was prepared to work an extra hour of work to not do the washing!



I hope my 5 essential tips for balancing freelancing and motherhood help you to create more balance as a freelance mama.

If you want to learn more about freelance mama life, make sure to follow along with me on Instagram or Facebook. Feel free to comment there with your 5 essential tips for balancing freelancing and motherhood!

I look forward to seeing you achieve your freelancing goals!

Kellie xx


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