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Returning from Maternity Leave as a Freelancer

Returning from Maternity Leave as a Freelancer

When you're returning from maternity leave, going back to work is a lot easier for mom and baby if you're freelancing or working for yourself. Here's why.

If I hadn’t quit my job to start freelance writing from home, this would be my first week back at the office after a 12-week maternity leave (the max allowed by law — though embarrassingly short by other countries’ standards).

I remember vividly how painful and dizzying this time was three years ago, when I plunged back into fulltime “plus” mode at the office after 12 weeks off with Cassie. It was actually the subject of my very first post for this blog (“Memories … “) I marvel at how I (along with millions of other moms) was able to do it, and still do.

Returning from maternity leave as a freelancer is so different, and honestly, so much better. I didn’t have that ticking time-bomb date in my head, the day I’d have to rip myself away from my cozy family life and my sweet little infant for 10 or more hours, five days a week at the office. I could orchestrate a return to work that was comfortable for me and the kiddos (pictured here, looking adorable).

Starting last week, Cassie went to preschool in the mornings as usual, while James started going to Karen’s (his sitter’s) house. I pick up both kids at the school, bring them home for lunch, and try to get them to take coordinated naps in the afternoon (the jury’s still out on whether that will ever work). I have each morning to do some work, then try to squeeze in more work time where I can find it.

The first week I spent a lot of my freelance time reorganizing my home office and just taking a breath after nonstop childcare for 12 weeks. I did a little paying work, with more (hopefully) on the horizon. I didn’t have to experience that ripped-away feeling — more like a nice, comfortable break from the kids to be my “professional” self for a little while each day. Then I can do a lot more cuddling and playing (and of course butt-wiping and feeding), all while maintaining some semblance of order in my house.

I realize not everyone is suited for this kind of lifestyle, or able to swing it financially. For many moms, a return to the office is a return to normalcy and stability. But I believe more women should be able to choose this option if they want to. It seems like it would be good for a lot of families and the economy. (That’s why I’m a big fan of MomsRising, an organization that works to help moms succeed as “breadmakers and breadwinners.”)

I don’t feel the least bit guilty that I’m choosing to work fewer hours and spend more hours with my kids. This feels like the most natural thing in the world!

When you're returning from maternity leave, going back to work is a lot easier for mom and baby if you're freelancing or working for yourself. Here's why.


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8 thoughts on “Returning from Maternity Leave as a Freelancer

  1. Good luck in this new phase of your career! Or should I say good luck with that coordinated nap schedule thing, which is probably more daunting in some ways. Somehow, I got my very busy 4-year-old to stay in his room for an hour long afternoon quiet time once he'd graduated out of naps.

  2. Do you have a CV or portfolio online? I hire freelance writers for marketing projects, success stories, etc. from time to time and I'd love to have you in our arsenal as a possible resource.

    I freelanced for a few years when my daughter was born 5 years ago, and then when I was expecting my son and during his first 9 months. You are smart for getting some part time help right away. I nearly lost my mind thinking I could write two books "in my spare time as the baby napped". And that booger never napped! Ha!

  3. Kim, thanks. The nap thing — I'm pretty sure it's a fantasy. But a girl can dream, can't she?

    Dana, check me out on LinkedIn for my experience etc. I'd love to do work for you!

  4. Susan,

    good luck with everything. it's an interesting transition to say the least. there's a group of working moms who's stories have been nominated for the mutual of omaha, aha moments campaign. if enough people vote for them or any of them they'll be in the 2010 ad campaign. we'd really like to see the story of moms wrestling through how they're making it work.

    http://www.ahamoment.com/pg/voting?moment=ljaas

    if you like them please vote. if you really like please tell some friends.

    thanks

    cam
    cam@ahamoment.com

  5. Hi there – I'm doing something similar. I work as a lawyer from home with two little ones. I'm currently on maternity leave (telecommute from an existing job after a move). I'm not sure I'll get my two to joint naps, but do love the working half-time from home gig and am interested to see how it will go with two as I'd done it for a year with one and loved it.

  6. Thanks so much for the mention of MomsRising! We really appreciate it. This is a great topic. I work at home for MomsRising and am a big fan of the afternoon quiet time for toddlers that Kim Moldofsky mentioned. 🙂

    -Anita, MomsRising.org

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