It’s all about a healthy balance, isn’t it?
While the term “Work/Life Balance” seems so fashionable, fresh, innovative, a bit on the lentil-eating-hippie side of things, day-to-day life as a busy freelancer (or even self-employed) with children to look after virtually the same roof can be any thing else but balanced.
A good friend and mum to three children, also a translator, once said to me: “If my client had known that I was expressing breast milk with my left hand while translating a million-dollar contract with my right, he probably would have had a nervous breakdown.”
A child in your household changes the pace and rhythm of things, that’s nothing new. And it doesn’t take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out that having a home-career while trying to be a wonderful, caring, dedicated parent can have its tricky moments. Sleep deprivation! Oh, joy. Multitasking! Absolutely.
The healthy balance between work and life, especially family life, is hard to find. I am not claiming to have the ultimate formula, but the past year as a self-employed new mum has worked out well for me and my baby girl, and both baby and business are growing increasingly.
Maybe not a formula, but some general rules I try to stick to for my and everyone else’s sanity.
1) Plan your work week with plenty of hours for “family time”.
2) Take breaks. I know it’s easy to say when your deadline is around the corner, but a nice stroll and some fresh air will work wonders for yourself and the little one(s). Never forget to be nice to yourself too. Have a cuppa. Or a nice bath after a long day in front of the screen. A happy parent is a good parent.
3) Don’t accept too much work. That almost never works out to your advantage. As a parent, bare in mind that your child might become ill, needs special attention or a changed sleeping routine. All factors that can keep you far away from that job that’s waiting for you.
4) Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are multitasking, after all. It’s always healthy to set yourself goals. I’m a big fan of lists. Don’t beat yourself up if some of your goals didn’t quite work out last week. As a freelancer, every week can be a new beginning.
Stay balanced & healthy!