Freelance Life-a Juggling Act

family time

Family time!

You know what they say, “You want something done, give it to a busy person” and that person is usually me…and I love to be busy. I’m so lucky that I’m able to keep up the juggling act of kids and my freelance career, achieving (most days) the best of both worlds. I can only do it because I have a lot of help. A LOT.

My folks are hands-on with the childcare and my son attends nursery school four days a week which he LOVES. We have a cleaner who irons and we do get a lot of takeaways (all healthy from my parents’ award winning restaurants The Olive Tree).

Like I said, I realise how lucky I am and I couldn’t do it without my support network. Not for a second. This was one of the reasons we moved from London to Leeds- I was pretty lonely and isolated when I had Oliver and couldn’t quite see how I could merge my life as a busy filmmaker and writer pre baby without moving closer to family.

So life is packed to the core but I love it. I run this blog and I’m developing and co writing a TV series with a renowned production company based in London and New York and I often guest lecture at universities. It does sound manic but the thing is it isn’t. Not every day anyway. I tend to write when the baby sleeps in the day and at night when both boys are in bed and my husband can help.

I stop working when Oliver is home from nursery and we all eat and play together as a family. I spend two hours on Saturday and Sunday morning catching up on deadlines be it paid posts for the blog or script deadlines and it works.

It works because my husband is amazing and helps with the kids and cooking and everything else. It works because my family help me with childcare. It works because I know when to switch off and the rest of the weekends are all ours. The fact I can do all this makes me happy. Of course not on the days when I feel like I’m failing in everything, motherhood and work, but luckily these days are far and few between because I get down time between commissions.

I must not forget these jobs offer me a living and being on maternity leave as someone self employed, means little government support. I need to be creative in whatever hat I’m wearing that day to be the best Mum I can be in general.

I need this other identity to feel fulfilled. That’s just me. I’m fit and well and I get plenty of time with my baby and toddler and the beautiful thing with freelance life is it veers from full on tight deadlines to days in the park being a Stay at Home Mum. I can’t promise the guilt goes away but it does get easier!

…I’ve been a director since graduating in my MA in 2003 so I’m used to freelance life (although of course that was before kids) but I’ve decided not to take on directing projects right now as days on set are 12 hours long… but I will return when Alexander is old enough. I went back when Oliver was 1 and chose my projects carefully so short bursts of intense shoots which paid well. It’s a balancing act and just so you are not TOO impressed, these are all the things I’ve yet to do today:

1. Buy new Pj’s. Losing baby weight is good but I’m still in maternity nighties and look swamped. As a lot of my days are often spent in them in front of the computer, it’s time I got some pretty ones which fitted!

2. Arrange Oliver’s and Alexander’s wardrobe. Both boys have grown out of a lot of their clothes so bags need to be filled for the charity shop and from Oliver’s wardrobe, clothes that Alexander will inherit, need organising.

3. Arrange the office. My office in the spare bedroom is totally and utterly cluttered. Script notes are mixed with blog post notes and at least ten different notebooks are piled on top of one another. I think I need an assistant. Any offers?

4. Complete the episode I’m working on and arrange London meetings.

5. Write the lecture I’m giving at a University on Monday and amongst the rubbish in my office, find the DVD of my work I will be screening.

At least I can tick off this featured post and have saved time killing two birds with one stone!

So what do you have to do today?

Photograph© Peter Broadbent.

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