Becoming self-employed and motherhood

How would you describe your work situation? Do you even have to? I’ve felt defined by this for a long time, since going from ‘full-time’ to ‘part-time’. I still considered myself ‘part-time’ until recently when I had a reality check with my diary and my toddler.

She doesn’t understand that she needs to have a nap in the afternoon so I can work. She doesn’t give two hoots. 

Neither does my 5 year old at bedtime, she needs to be in bed asleep at a decent time so I can work. She doesn’t give two hoots about that either.

I’m literally child-free for about 8 hours a week – I’m not including evenings here or half terms and summer holidays.

8 hours – what even is that? It’s not even part-time.

What or who am I now? A stay at home mum with a side hustle? Yuck.

Am I just working for ice cream money? (We live by the beach, so yes, we buy a lot of ice cream.)

Work has defined me for over a decade and now motherhood does – whether I like it or not. Frankly, I’ve resisted it. Before I become self-employed I worked part-time as PA in the city for over 3 years to ‘have a break’ from daughter no.1. Since having daughter no.2 I’ve set myself as a freelancer.

I’ve told myself for the past 5 years that ‘I could never be a stay at home mum’ but here I am, a ‘work at home mum’.

I’ve tried lots of different ways to make working for myself ‘flexible’ but I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. I don’t want to grab an hour here or there, I really want a good chunk of time to get my teeth into something. Something I feel passionate about, something I can learn, something I’m good at and is familiar and rewarding in a different way to motherhood.

I feel helpless, I can never fully focus on something for a long period of time without an interruption. I feel crowded, overwhelmed and just plain tired.

I’m not looking for sympathy, just solidarity I guess.

I chose to be a mum, I chose the buggy, the birth, the nursery furniture and all the clothes but I feel like I’ve been mis-sold motherhood, I feel a bit cheated because I can’t have it all. Can I?!

I should have looked at my own childhood for the evidence but when you’re unconsciously being drip-fed stuff on social media you kind of forget the reality.

Ok so it’s not impossible to be a mum and have dreams, a career, ambitions, passions and a hobby but there’s a lot of sacrifice and compromise to get there. A lot of inner turmoil and guilt to work through.

Life is just so much more complicated, and, we have too much to keep up with and maintain besides the kids.

It feels unfair. Like one half of the parent team goes through this, the other one doesn’t understand. Although fathers and partners are way more hands-on now and have more flexibility than ever before I just don’t believe they suffer these push-pull feelings the way that we do.

With fake ‘role models’, male-dominated antiquated society and structures, inequality and our own unrealistic expectations mean that making decisions is fudging hard.

You doubt yourself. You don’t listen to what you really need. Perhaps we don’t know how to and just settle for the easy option and do it all yourself.

I have friends that work, full time, part-time, own a business, work as freelancers and are stay at home mums and do you know what the one thing is that they have in common? They feel guilty and there’s also the constant pressure to get it right.

So, if you’re reading this for an answer then I don’t have one but I think something that would help is to make our lives simpler and focus more on the present. Spend more time in the real world, make your own community, because it really does take a village to raise a child, and be more honest and vocal about what you need.

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