It’s never easy being a single mother trying to juggle raising my little girl at the same time building a freelancing career. So today I thought to share with you why I decided to pursue my creative career and how I find the balance between work and being a full time mother.
So just over a year ago after my daughter turned one I made the decision to leave my full-time job, I know some people thought I was absolutely insane! After returning to work from maternity leave I really started questioning what it was I really wanted to do and why I was there. I was leaving my 8 month old at home to sit in an office four days a week in a job I didn’t particularly like just for a pay check at the end of the month and I just became really unhappy… literally everyday I left my house my heart would ache! So one day I thought to myself no one has a gun to my head forcing me to stay in that place so I decided to quit. It wasn’t an easy decision but I would say it’s been one of the best decisions… And no I am not here to start telling you to just get up and quit your job! Everyone’s circumstances and journey is different and you need to make the right decision for yourself.
Going for it!
I wouldn’t say I have always wanted to have a creative career growing up I was never really aware that it would be possible for someone like me to actually have one. I always took an art and design discipline throughout my education life and just loved it without any plans of actually making something out of it. Being out of work I started Illustrating every day again and started realising I really wanted to make this happen and I actually believed I could this time. Like many mothers would agree having a child changes your life! My daughters given me this courage and fearlessness that I never had before and one day I just thought to myself, if Zaina-Marie had a dream what would my advise to her be? I believe as a mother I am my daughters role model and the best role models lead by example. How can I tell my daughter to work extremely hard for whatever it is she wants in life and expect her to do so when her role model is doing the total opposite? Since then I haven’t looked back. I told myself I don’t know how long it will take me whether it is 1 year or 5 years I am going to make this happen and just take on temp jobs if I really need to.
Letting go of guilt and remembering your ‘Why’
Being a fulltime mother whilst working towards your career can lead to feelings of guilt, stress, anxiety and so many other unpleasant feelings! When I would be working I’d feel guilty that I should be spending more time with Zaina-Marie and when I was spending time with Zaina-Marie I’d feel I need to be working… like can I ever win here! This is where having a why with everything you do is the most important thing ever. I started reminding myself every time that the reason I am doing this isn’t just for myself nor the money (to be honest if it’s for the money I would be in the wrong career many creatives would agree!)… but it’s for the little girl that’s looking up to me. Knowing that my actions, my work ethic will help shape her into becoming the woman she will become and with everything she wants to do I want her to say if my mother can do it so can I. This is what motivates me and puts me in the right place to continue doing exactly what it is I am doing.
Plan, work hard and be DISCIPLINED.
Having a weekly plan and being disciplined has really helped me stay focused and balanced. Before the week starts I will right down exactly what I will be doing with Zaina-Marie then plan my working schedule around her. Of course there will be times things don’t go according to plan but I try not to beat myself up about it! I have also found waking up a few hours earlier before Zaina-Marie wakes up has really helped me get way more done. And avoiding trying to work whilst she is on my lap is something I’ve tried to get out of the habit doing, (although she is currently sitting on my lap now as I type this post) it only frustrates me and discourages me to work, as tempting as it can be sometimes I would recommend you avoid this.
Unfortunately not everyone has a support system but if you do I think it’s so important to utilise those around you. It’s ok to ask for help when you need extra time to get work done, I’ve come to realise staying up late, waking up early and working during her nap times just isn’t enough. And it’s ok to drop her off to my mums or sisters for a few hours to get work done.
There are days when I still get a little overwhelmed and think I am failing in all areas but I then take a step back and reflect on where I was a year ago, where I am now and the work I never thought I’d be doing at this present moment and most importantly look at Zaina-Marie and reminding myself of the amazing job I am doing raising her!