As a stay-at-home parent, the idea of building a freelance career while parenting can feel overwhelming. You already have a full-time job watching the kids, so how can you fit in any more work?
Yet many parents are able to successfully balance parenting life and a freelance job.
With some discipline, time management, and a few tips and tricks, you can have the best of both worlds and make extra money while doing it.
Manage Your Schedule Like a Pro
Juggling childcare and a freelance career means every second of your time is valuable. Whether in a paper planner or an app on your phone, keep a calendar and a to-do list so you’ll always know when projects are due and what tasks to work on each day.
Share your event calendar with family members so they can track when you’re busy as well as family events.
If you find it hard to fit in all your tasks, try tracking your time for a week. See where you have downtime or activities you can cut out.
Not everyone wants to work in the evenings or on weekends, but if you don’t mind keeping non-standard hours, you can get more done. If your partner is home in the evenings, you can let them babysit while you focus on your work.
Whatever days your partner is off work altogether, consider splitting up childcare throughout the day so you each have time to focus on your own projects.
Other ways to manage your time better include:
- Work while your children are napping. One way to help older children nap easier is to plan activities during the first half of the day that keeps them busy and physically engaged.
- Wake up earlier in the morning to squeeze in some work time before your children are awake. These quiet hours provide an excellent opportunity to brew a cup of coffee and write uninterrupted.
- Set specific times to check email and social media. If you need to check email or update a blog or social media account for work, set specific times during the day for those tasks. Use a timer to ensure you don’t spend all your work time reading email or updating Facebook. For personal accounts, limit usage to short breaks throughout the day.
Keeping a schedule will make you more efficient, and the more efficiently you work, the more money you can make.
Make Every Minute Count
When you envision what a freelance writer’s day looks like, you might see someone in a home office hard at work for hours at a time.
Yet one of the benefits of freelancing is the ability to work from anywhere, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
When you have a few minutes to yourself, brainstorm, research, or outline your next article on paper or your smartphone. You can do this from anywhere, whether you’re waiting for your children after school or standing in line at the grocery store.
While you work on chores, you can take advantage of voice-to-text to continue writing even when your hands are full. Working during small chunks of downtime throughout the day can add up to a completed project.
Other opportunities to multitask daily tasks and work include:
- Dictate to a hands-free device while you’re in the car to capture ideas.
- Use a smartphone or tablet to write while waiting for appointments.
- Use voice recognition to write or take notes while you prepare meals.
Don’t underestimate the power of technology to help stay organized. A variety of apps, from planners to parenting tips, can help you and your family organize your lives.
Family members can add events to calendars and items to grocery lists. You can share appointments and travel plans. Your smartphone can be one of your greatest weapons for saving time.
Create a Support System
Sometimes even the best schedules and time-saving tricks can’t help you manage it all. If you have too much on your plate for even Super Woman to handle alone, consider a support system.
There are cheaper options for childcare than a professional sitter or daycare, including:
- Retired family members who live nearby.
- Other moms in the area willing to take turns watching the neighborhood kids.
- High school students out of school for the summer.
When you need to work and there is no one to watch the children, consider visiting a library or the local gym.
Gyms often have a designated childcare area included in the memberships, and it is much cheaper than a professional sitter. The library is a good way to research and write while your children read or play on the computer.
Kids can also work on their own homework during the school year. If your library offers activities such as storytime, your children can attend those events while you work on the computer.
Other ways to free up more time for your work include delegating tasks.
While your partner and older children can help out with household chores, you can also hire a professional.
Many grocery stores offer pickup and delivery services for a small fee, and this will drastically cut down on your shopping time.
Hiring an occasional cleaner will reduce the hours you spend on housework. Though it will cost money, sometimes your time is more valuable than what you spend.
Whether you need a second income to support your family or you have a dream career you want to pursue, you can successfully navigate a freelance career while raising your children.
Start delegating tasks to others and identifying the downtime in your schedule you can use for work. Soon you’ll discover you have more time than you previously thought.
By the time your children are older, you’ll have an impressive portfolio and the skills to continue growing your career to new heights.