Running a freelance business and raising a family can be a great fit, but combining those roles can result in a lot of stress, and requires planning, prioritizing, and of course flexibility and a good sense of humor! For this episode on being a freelancer and being a mom (stay tuned for our next episode on being a freelancer and being a dad!), Eve and Corinne spoke with two moms who balance their significant family responsibilities with extremely active professional lives:
Elena Langdon is a Portuguese-English translator and interpreter and a former chair of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters. She grew up in Brazil and now lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three children, ages 2, 4 and 7. Elena specializes in medical, legal and social science work and is an active interpreter and translator trainer.
Jennifer Nielsen is a Spanish-English translator and interpreter and the immediate past president of the Mexican Translators Association. She is originally from Colorado and now lives in Guadalajara, Mexico with her husband and her twin sons who are almost a year old. Jennifer works with Mexican businesses that are expanding into the US market, especially in the areas of law, marketing and academia.
We pulled Jennifer and Elena away from their extremely busy lives and asked them for their insights on:
- Maternity leave: how long to take off and how to talk to your clients about it
- Child care: what their child care situations are, and whether they try to work with their kids at home
- Managing the uncertainty of freelancing with small kids: what happens when the kids are sick, or the babysitter is sick, or there’s a snow day?
- Client relations: how much their clients know about their personal lives
- The boiling point: how do they avoid being overwhelmed by stress and exhaustion, and what do they do when they are overwhelmed?
If you’re a freelancer and a mom, we think you’ll really enjoy this episode!
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Being a freelancer and being a mom
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Perfect timing with this podcast, as I am expecting my first in about 6 weeks and you raised excellent points! I have a question for Corinne: During the 3 hours you had the baby sitter, what happened if you didn’t have any actual work? Did you still do some kind of work (marketing, invoicing, etc.) or take that time off?
Thank you all for your sharing your experience!!
Silvia, thanks for your comment; glad you enjoyed the episode and congratulations on your baby! To answer your question, I forced myself to do some sort of work during the time that I had a babysitter for my daughter. Because I was only a year into freelancing at that time, I didn’t always have 15 hours of paid work a week, but then I just worked on marketing, or learning new software, or something productive. At that time, I felt that I really could not afford (financially or business-wise) not to work, even when I had no work.
Thank you, Corinne!
Silvia, congrats – that is so exciting! And, since you are more established at this point when you have your baby, I think you should feel free to take some time off for yourself. As a new mom, you will need it and should not feel guilty about taking a break from both work and your new baby to rejuvenate, in any extra time you have free. Please post pictures and all the best as your due data approaches.
Thanks, Eve! I’ll try and follow your advice 🙂
I loved this podcast episode and so glad to have found this treasure-trove as a work-from-home translator & single mother with 2 businesses and my sanity to keep.. thank you! I’m sure I’ll listen again… it’s made my day today.,..
thanks for this! It was a great conversation 🙂
my situation was completely different. no family around to help, husband working full time. So I was a full time mom when the kids were awake, and a freelance translator when they were in bed. it took a massive toll in my personal life though. 😦
When my third was born I couldn’t do it anymore. I gave myself maternity leave from when I was 7mo pregnant (and physically exhausted), thinking I could come back when my baby was around 6mo (with a 5yo and a 2.5yo) but that didn’t happen too. No nap shedule worked with her, she didn’t sleep at night, and I still had the toddler along (and childcare costs a fortune here.) I had to drop my work until I recovered my sanity. Good thing we didn’t need my income to survive 😀
Just now I’m taking on my business again. Having to start over basically. Seeking new clients/partners.
But, as my husband usually says, that’s the life I chose, and I don’t regret investing those 3 years only on my children.
Thanks, Mariana! Glad you enjoyed the episode!