Rarely a day goes by where somebody in the media doesn’t have something negative to say about mothers getting the work/life balance ‘wrong’ – leaving women feeling guilty about returning to work.
How about congratulating those of us who are ‘getting it right’ and recognising the real benefits that our children gain along the way?
As self-employed parents, we have a unique advantage of being able to involve our children in our work and make those times we spend with them fun as well as educational.
I love that I’m able to spend holidays with the kids and not have to worry about work so much. But even when I am working (mainly updating the blog or creating more online courses), now that the eldest two (12 and 16) are Internet savvy, they like to help me source inspirational memes for me to share online. (I’d better watch out – reckon they’ll start charging me soon!)
Annie Manning, a single mum who has worked ever since her daughter was a baby, shares 7 ways she’s managed involve her daughter in her freelancing work over the years.
As a publisher, I am used to attending book fairs, so at PTA and Church Fates it is always me and my daughter running the book stalls. She can be found under the table rummaging through the boxes, sorting books into age ranges and helping children and adults with their selection. We are a dynamic sales team!
I have worked within Intellectual Property so understand the value of trade marks and branding. For some English homework, my daughter had a ‘Dragon’s Den’ project for which she had to develop a range of healthy fruit drinks and smoothies, create branding and produce a power point presentation. We spent a fun evening in the kitchen naming and making the drinks to sample at school.
I often organise fundraising events for a local charity. My daughter uses her computer skills to design posters for their outings and events. Our Chairman loves her little touches to what would normally be a boring notice.
We were watching television together, when an advert came on for Race for Life. My daughter, then a healthy ten year old, said “Let’s do it together Mum in memory of Nanny.” Within minutes we were on the website registering, buying our tee shirts and eagerly awaited the arrival of our pack with our running numbers and sponsor forms. I was amazed how many people sponsored both of us. Needless to say we had a wonderful time together.
5. Community Work
When our local church celebrated its 900th Anniversary, my daughter helped me price up the sweet stalls and walked along the avenue with trays of lemonade for the elderly, raising funds and awareness for the charity.
6. Local Politics
When I ran in local elections in the past, we both had a great time posting leaflets – with her on her scooter and me not far behind on foot. Soon after, she put her name forward as a class representative for the school council. It pleased me greatly to think that my own efforts had encouraged and inspired her in this way.
7. Social Care
I worked alongside a local Independent Councillor in fighting against the closure of respite homes for children with special needs. Through our work, my daughter has got to know a lovely boy with special needs and is comfortable in his company. His mother often comments on how much more animated and confident he is when she is around. One evening, Katie consulted me on a piece she wanted to write for homework -‘Prejudice against people with disabilities’. If she doesn’t fulfill her ambition to become a vet I can see her moving towards a social services role.
These are just a few ways that I’ve been able to juggle my career with my family life and at the same time, nurture important social skills in my daughter at the same time.
What ways would you add?