Nothing prepares you for becoming a mother. There is nothing else quite like it. The fear, excitement and total devotion. But, how do you balance raising your children with pursuing your career?
I am Kat, a qualified graphic designer working with wedding businesses to create eye-catching brands and websites, winning them their next couple. What I haven’t told you, is that 14 months ago I gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy. He’s my world, he’s the reason I work so hard every day and the person that encourages me most to excel at what I do.
This doesn’t mean it’s been an easy road. When he was born, I took 6 weeks off. I needed that time to recover, bond and figure out what being a mother is all about. Life se#led back down, we figured out some form of routine and slowly but surely I started to take on work again.
Let’s be real for a minute, newborn babies love to sleep – I mean, they don’t do much else! Work was o$en done with a coffee in one hand and a baby over the opposite shoulder. It worked. He slept and I had time to truly focus on my clients.
He grew up, by about 6 months it was getting progressively harder to focus on work. My son became more active, more reliant on entertainment and more aware of everything going on in the world. It was at this point that I decided to start time blocking.
Mother by day, designer by night. My son finally was in some sort of routine, bedtime is at 7 and from then onwards, it’s my opportunity to work. My clients know they can contact me during the day, but I make it clear that I work slightly different hours to your normal designer.
Is it worth it? Without a doubt. I get to raise my boy, be with him every sing day whilst still feeling as though I have a purpose in life outside of ‘mummying’. For me, a balance between parenting and work has always been so important but, my son will always be my first and foremost.
What made my mother/ work-life balance easier?
Whether it is within the home or my business, outsourcing has been one of the most effective time-saving investments. If you’re not ready to hand over the reins in your business at this stage, hire a cleaner, a cook or someone to help you run the home. Maybe home is where the heart is and you need a hand at work. Consider a virtual assistant, social media manager or somebody to help take the load off and do those jobs that you don’t enjoy quite so much.
If you are fortunate enough to have friends and family close by, ask them for a favor, even if its an hour a week, think about all you can get done with one completely focussed hour of work! Becoming a parent teaches you to adapt, to focus and get the job done, regardless of what’s happening with Dad in the room next door. But, having that small window of peace, quiet and time to concentrate is such a blessing. Don’t feel like you need to manage alone, we’re only human!
The day my son started going to bed at a reliable time was the day my work life got that li#le bit easier. All of a sudden, I wasn’t trying to juggle everything at once. My days are now time blocked. When my son is awake, it’s his time. He is my priority and the only thing I focus on. Nap time is housework and by the time he goes to bed, my workday begins. It’s manageable, I take the weekends off, I still get that break and although I would love more time in the evenings, it isn’t forever and the drive and enjoyment that I get from working completely outweighs that.
This is so important. I always like to make sure that both myself and my client are a good fit for each other. I hope that they are understanding of my slightly awkward hours and most of the time they are. I find that honesty upfront prevents any misunderstanding down the line.
Everybody will find themselves a different work/ life balance. Whether you work from home, two doors down or two hours away, parenting and working is always a juggling act. The takeaway? It is definitely possible. With clever organization and having realistic goals being a working mother is more common than ever, in fact over 71% of mothers are out there working.
If you are wondering how you are going to manage it all, I will tell you this… although nothing prepares you for motherhood, it’ll bring out the best in you and show you exactly how much you’re capable of achieving if you truly put your mind to it.
– Written By Kat Fraser, Owner of Fraser & Co. Design
One For Women is honored to have Kat Fraser, Owner of Fraser & Co. Design, share her voice and her important message as part of our One Voice to Hear series.