In the world of limited parental benefits for freelancing parents, what are the good sides of being a freelance mum or dad? We asked YunoJuno members to find out more.
What Are The Benefits Of Freelancing And Being A Parent?
Carrianne Priddy, a freelance graphic designer is clear about the benefits being freelance has brought for her being a parent: "Going freelance has actually been a real breath of fresh air, and a great opportunity to work in a way that fits in pretty well with the kids. I am lucky that I have a husband that works full-time and so takes a bit of pressure off during the school holidays! I know so many parents out there working all sorts of hours to balance everything!”
Likewise, digital marketer Lexy Moore can see the benefits outweigh the challenges for her family too, allowing her to be available to her children at any time: “In my opinion, where parenting is concerned, the flexibility that comes with freelancing is invaluable."
"I’m always there when they need me and I don’t miss out on the little things (the important stuff) - school plays, open days, bruised knees, out-of-school/childcare activities, the smiles and the tears.”
Freelance front-end developer Stuart Garner also feels freelancing has allowed him to share parenthood in a more balanced way: "The ability to dictate your own working hours is invaluable and there is no way I would go back to the regular 9-5:30. However, you do have to accept that your daily structure will be affected and you might find yourself working some unsociable hours to meet those deadlines."
"You will have to work around feeding and sleep patterns.”
Freelance designer Greg Lewis also recognises the benefits of being freelance and being able to share valuable experiences with his family: “ I work a fairly conventional 9-5, three days a week. On the other two days, I work within the school and nursery hours. In the afternoons, I take the girls to their sports clubs.
It's generally easier for men to juggle work and parenting as we have fewer societal pressures when it comes to child-rearing. I have an amazing wife who does the bulk of the childcare. I am privileged and I found it extremely tough so I have the utmost respect for people in harder situations than I did when child-rearing.”
Many of the benefits centre around a flexible working day for your children’s needs which make obvious sense for parents looking for more of a work/life balance.
Whilst having the financial stability of full-time employment may seem more appealing, being able to shape your own workload and hours outweighs being salaried for many of our community members. Working rigid hours isn’t feasible for parents of newborns or even school children, so putting skills to good use via freelance work makes much more sense to many others.
Whilst large companies are starting to review their work approach and trying to create a more hybrid working environment, it’s clear that parents value their own working autonomy much more than relying on a regular or steady income every month.
Top Tips And Tricks From Our Community On Managing As A Parent And Freelancer
Whenever we ask our community of freelancers to share their own tips, they never disappoint and the advice from many of our freelancing parents centres around being kind to yourself too. Here are some of the top tips and tricks on managing parenthood and running a freelance business, from our busy community.
Lexy's tips for anyone considering freelancing and being a parent are: "Work as a team - both on the work and as parents. Sometimes parenting is taking your child away for a while so the other parent can concentrate and be their own person. Your schedule doesn't have to be 9-5, 5 days a week! Work out a schedule that fits around being a parent, but still allows you some downtime - you deserve to rest.”
Graphic designer Jo Spottiswood's tip to anyone considering running a freelance business and being a parent is:
“Get all your ducks in a line and go for it! It’s tough and it’s exhausting but also so rewarding. Those little smiles will turn your world upside down, life takes on a whole new meaning.”
Stuart has a few top tips for anyone thinking about being a parent and running a freelance business:
- "Forget 9 - 5:30. You will have to work when you have the time. In my field, I work with a number of freelancers with children and there is a dry spot between 3- 7pm where everyone seems to fall off the grid. It’s way easier, less stressful and more productive to organise your work schedule this way rather than try and organise your family schedule around work. Trust me I know."
- "Have a routine. This becomes a little easier once the kids are at school. Dedicate some of this time to getting some work done, even if it's just an hour."
- "Set some time out for yourself. Having children and working random hours can make you feel like you are always working so it is important to set time aside just for you to do something else. It’s essential to give yourself a little space."
Stuart goes on to share his final tip for anyone who is weighing up the balance of being a parent:
“For any freelancer thinking about starting a family, I say go for it. In my opinion, it's the only way you can be there for your children. The fact that I can collect my daughter from school every day and she has that consistency in her life is priceless and something we just couldn’t achieve when I was working in the permanent environment. It will be a challenge and there will be difficult and stressful times but, like with everything hard, the rewards are great.”