Freelancing with a toddler?

(5 Posts)
Starspread Thu 23-Jun-16 10:28:36

In that way that babies have of turning the world upside down, I'd always assumed I'd be keen to go back to work after having a baby, but turns out not so much.

I'm wondering about the possibility of going freelance for a couple of years - I've done it before so it's not a totally unknown quantity; I have a good reputation and a potential client list, so I'm not overly worried there. I am, though, wondering how realistic it is to get any work done at all with a toddler? Right now I have a 7m baby who's not (very) mobile, but it still seems like he takes up most of my day. Is it different when they're older? Do I assume that I just get work done in nap times and in the middle of the night?

drspouse Thu 23-Jun-16 10:34:41

You will get absolutely nothing done if you have to do it while she's awake. Even if your work never involves phone calls with clients, she will want you to play with her at least some of the time. I can get about 10-20 minutes done with the just-2-year-old playing in the same room if I keep giving her approved items from my computer desk (the large old fashioned calculator is "her" computer).

As they get older it gets worse, they actually want you to play with them and they will ask you to. Repeatedly. While you are trying to work.

You may get work done during nap time but assume nap time will be about an hour between the ages of 18-36 months (if he doesn't drop it sooner) and nothing after that.

If he goes to bed early and sleeps through you will get stuff done in the evenings but honestly with having your own dinner (we tend to have ours after the DCs are in bed if they go to bed early), tidying up after that, and being tired so you want to go to bed early because the DCs will be up early, there aren't that many hours. Plus you can't really ring clients then. If I have to do phone calls for volunteering/household stuff it's hard to squeeze that in and it tends to end up being lunchtime at the office.

I don't usually try to do much when I'm looking after the DCs but I do try to catch up on household paperwork (currently school forms) and I'm a Guide leader so paperwork for that. None of these are very intellectually demanding but it's still hard.

Montysaurus Thu 23-Jun-16 10:37:08

I'd recommend you have some form of childcare avail if you're going to do more than the odd bit of freelancing. I've freelanced from home since ds1 was 1 year old. He's always gone to nursery two days a week so I can get work done and not go crazy from working every night and weekend. I do still do some work during naps but really couldn't have done without the regular weekly childcare. It was scary committing to the fees but definitely worth it for us and we've never ended up paying out more in childcare than I bring in. There is absolutely no way I could work with him around playing/going crazy, other than the odd email, but that may depend on the type of work you do. In my job I need quiet and to be able to concentrate for extended periods of time. Ds1 is at school now and our younger child goes to nursery a few days a week while I continue to freelance.

SnowCurl Tue 05-Jul-16 20:50:20

In my experience it is extremely unlikely you would get much done with a toddler running around. As soon as they see your attention focused on something else for longer periods of time they seem to hone in on it and become very needy! drspouse is spot on!
Why don't you see if you can find a childminders willing to do 3 hrs at a time or so? That way you have some allocated time to do what you need to. Plus, if you are already on their books you might be able to get more ad hoc hours as and when you need them. X

Biscuitbrixit Mon 18-Jul-16 09:10:14

I used to freelance fulltime before children, but outside the home.
Now, with dc I find it incredibly difficult as I don't have specific set days which means booking childcare is impossible as they want set days each week and I end up paying for childcare I don't need.
I packed it in a month after mat leave.
I will go back when dd starts school though as after school club is more flexible

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