Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Working Designer Mommy: Harder but Not Impossible

When my daughter was born last October, I was already freelancing at that point. Her birth was part of the reason for freelancing instead of being tied to a fulltime job for someone else. I was able to set my own hours and schedule which meant I could maximize my time with her.

When I was in college, non of my professors had children and I always wondered why. Then I became a mother and I saw why some people maybe chose one or the other. But, it was not a choice for me. I wanted to be both an artist/designer and a parent. Some of my friends who are also artists, have asked me how I manage my time and pursue my career when I have a baby.

For one clarification, I do freelance, but I freelance fulltime. I am working pretty much as many hours of the day as possible, usually 40-50 a week. I also have my daughter home with me whenever possible, depending on my schedule. These are times that I have specifically set up to be only our time together. I do not work when I have my daughter, but that also means I have to really be efficient when I am working.

This is my list of the things I have learned about being a working mother, designer, artist, teacher and professional.

1. Have a good support - I could never do any of this without my husband. He also works fulltime as a designer/creative director but we approach everything as a team.

2. Be organized - I have to make a list of what I need to get done every day or every week and I need a really organized filing, invoicing and portfolio system on my laptop.

3. Don't give up creative growth - I try and do a drawing every week, keep updating my portfolio, pursue my own projects and photography and view new artwork and design. This is the most tough right now with the time I have available because it is the easiest to let go of when other things are the priority.

4. Multitask - I cannot emphasize this enough. I have had to learn to be really good at doing 2-3 things at a time and staying organized with it all in my mind.

5. Relax and let go what can be let go - I am overwhelmed somedays but I try and remember that some weeks I will get a lot done and some weeks, it will be a struggle. Some things need to be let go. This is also very hard for me since I can be very anxious when things are not just so.

6. Work hard - Make all of your time worth it and work hard when you can.

7. Work outside of the house when possible
- I find I am much more productive when I can interact with others and can have a new perspective out of the house.

8. Make choices that will positively affect my child and family - Almost every choice I make in terms of work, money, time and effort is related to what is good for them.

9. Do for yourself
- I have also learned that with all the changes, taking a break now and then to draw, take a jog or read can revitalize me for the week.

Life has really changed since we added to our family. But, overall this is only a positive. Priorities and timing have changed, but with planning, organization and a look towards what you want from the future, you can go for it will all of your effort and energy.

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