Family · Work

My freelance life: MNC bus blogathon

Following the birth of my daughter I found myself at a crossroads when it came to going back to work.

As much as I loved my job, the hours were barely manageable with one child and the thought of going back to working long hours and travelling a lot with two children filled me with dread.

So with much trepidation, I decided my best option would be to go freelance.

I was lucky, I had the support of my husband.

But according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), for lone mothers whose youngest child is aged up to three, just 39% were in work in 2013, compared to 65% of women with children who were in a relationship.

The figures were higher once children reached school age but it shows there is still a huge gap in maternal employment when it comes to helping women back into the workplace.

I found that most mothers I know who went back to work ended up squeezing their full-time hours into three or four days, and were paid less for it.

Despite being offered flexible working by employers they felt pushed out, overlooked and under-valued.

I had 15 years under my belt as a journalist so I knew I had the possibility of using my skills as a freelancer.

But I also felt I needed to upskill and decided to invest in a six-month course to become a strategic social media manager.

Becoming self-employed has been one of the most liberating (and slightly terrifying) experiences of my life.

But, it has meant the flexibility to be around more for my children.

I don’t have to worry about not being home in time to pick them up for nursery, I determine my own hours, I can work after they have gone to bed so that the day is free for me to spend time with them.

Most importantly, I am far less stressed and a lot happier.

My advice to anyone who is considering working for themselves is to look at the skills you have, decide how you want to use them, and to go for it.

Speak to old contacts, talk to other mums, network as much as you can, as you never know what opportunities may be on the horizon.

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