Well, being responsible for two small humans means that I spend a lot of time working from home, which has its challenges. But while it is not all unicorns and rainbows, I wouldn’t change it for anything. Let me talk you through what it is really like to run an online business as a mum. Read on!
Hello, laptop lifestyle
As I started freelancing, I moved to Madrid and spent the next few months teaching English part-time as I found my feet in the world of self-employment. It was one of the best experiences of my life!
The change in scenery and pace felt like a breath of fresh air in my life. I loved the extra freedom I had with my new schedule. Being able to sit at a cafe in the middle of the day while I typed away on my laptop confirmed that I was not made for the 9-5. I was more determined than ever to make this into my permanent way of living.
Once my teaching contract was over, I had a small portfolio of clients and I was able to dive into the digital nomad lifestyle. For the next few months, I travelled around Europe and Buenos Aires while I made money working as a freelance writer.
It wasn’t long until I was hooked! The laptop lifestyle was everything I had dreamt off and I knew that I would never work 9-5 in an office again.
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How things changed when I became a mum
It is now more than 6 years since I last set foot in an office as an employee. I am still living the laptop lifestyle, but I am now also the mum of two gorgeous little boys. While things are a bit different than when I first started my own gig, the essentials remain the same.
Let me talk you through the good and not so good things about being a location-independent working mum.
The best bits are:
1 – Freedom
This was the main reason why I decided to leave the corporate life to start something of my own. Working in an office was making me feel claustrophobic and I craved the freedom of working on my own terms. For me, this meant being able to choose:
- my schedule
- who to work with
- which projects to work on
- where to work from
These foundations still apply now that I am a mum and are the reason why I can enjoy all of the perks below.
2 – I can spend more time with the boys
This is the obvious benefit. I am so grateful that I was able to have the boys at home when they were babies. Working from home meant that I didn’t have to send them to day-care until they were a bit older. We had the help of Au Pais/nannies which allowed me to work while also being there for them during those crucial first 2 years of life.
3 – No schedule
Being able to set my own schedule also allows me to be very involved with my kid’s activities. I can do kindy pickups, go to playgroups, organise play dates and go on kindy field trips (like the visit to the rubbish dump we did last year. Fun!)
I can adapt my working schedule to the boys’ schedule without having to ask for permission.
4 – I can travel when I want
Travelling is one of my life’s biggest passions, and having children hasn’t tamed my wanderlust. Over the past few years, we’ve been on some really cool adventures. I love the fact that I can pack my laptop and take work with me without having to apply for leave.
We are already dreaming of the places we will go once the borders open up again! In our list are:
- Spain: CANNOT wait to go back to Madrid!
- Bali: we were supposed to spend winter 2020 there but COVID had other plans! We will spend a few months there as soon as we can.
- Buenos Aires: going back to my birth country is always on the cards. I want the boys to spend as much time there as possible.
5- Work-life balance
I love this lifestyle as it allows me to work on my business while also being able to cuddle my little ones whenever I want. You cannot beat that!
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Having said all of the above, I am not going to lie: Juggling my own business with two kids has its challenges.
While the positives outweigh the negatives, there are times when everything gets a bit hard and I need to take a minute to breathe. It doesn’t take me long to re-focus, but the challenges are real. Here are the main ones:
1- The interruptions
Working from the living room table while my toddler is playing with the Au Pair next to me is lovely, but it also means that there are lots of interruptions.
My toddler doesn’t understand that I am working, and there are numerous occasions when he desperately wants to show me the truck he’s built, or give me a flower that he’s picked up from the garden or simply demand a mama hug.
Juggling deadlines with a toddler grabbing onto my leg going “mama, mama” can be a challenge. It requires a lot of patience to navigate the interruptions!
2- Bye-bye lazy weekends
Juggling my work responsibilities with my mummy duties means that almost every minute in the week is accounted for. My husband also works from home and we have to be super organised to get things done.
As much as I love being able to set my own schedule, it is also true that I work every day. Even though I don’t work full days, I do some work 7-days a week. Some days I will work more than others, but it is very rare for me to go through a day without doing at least a bit of work.
3 – No sick leave
If one of the kids has a fever and needs extra cuddles, it is hard to just take a couple of days off work to look after them. When this happens I normally end up working on bed next to them and attempt to get stuff done when they sleep.
If you are a mum you know that once one member of the family gets a bug, then the whole household goes down! This also means that a cold can turn into more than a week of sleepless nights and disruptions with no paid leave to ease the load.
What is your ideal lifestyle?
Running an online business as a mum has its challenges, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love working this way as I can spend time with my boys while taking care of my business. And having the freedom to pack the family, jump on a plane, and work from anywhere if I want to is absolutely priceless!
What does your ideal lifestyle look like? I would love to know! Get in touch and let me know
Want more tips and inspiration? Read these articles:
- 15 signs that it is time to start your own business
- What is the best age to start a business?
- How to start a business while working full-time?