Well hello again, friends. I am back from my absence from blog land. From my baby cocoon, I have dipped my toe in to the world of work and social media occasionally but mostly I've stayed put here, thank you very much, with my chocolate, baby and books.
I haven't written a newsletter in months but I noted it and let it slip by. Blog post ideas have come, been half written on a note on my phone but remain unpublished. I marked the seasonal rituals and celebrations I would normally revel in and create content around, and watched them go by. I saw the invitations, offers of work and collaborations and let them slip by. Not having a laptop after our burglery (just uuugghhh) meant no access to telly so instead I have enjoyed the forced break, and have re-read a favourite series of books (13 books in 2 months!) And it feels kind of restful, sitting with my baby, by the side of that busy stream watching those things jostle together and slip by and away from me.
Auden’s babyhood is speeding by and I am savouring every drooly snog-kiss, gummy smile and milky cuddle. At 4 months old we are way out of the new born days now, he is laughing, ‘chatting’ and rolling (yikes!). I have a big bag of clothes he has already outgrown. And I want to grasp every second of it. But I am also starting to want to do things that are just for me, away from mothering and housework. Things that are creative and satisfying, that engage with different parts of my brain. Being a freelancer means no long maternity leave for me anyway. So I am starting to juggle a bit of work in with motherhood. Here is my plan.
How I am juggling freelance work and a baby…
1) I will bring Auden with me on styling jobs. I’ve already done a couple, working with clients I know well and who don't mind having a baby about. Both times Dave has been the photographer and this works really well as he is as competent with the baby side of things as the shooting side of things so between us we juggle well. The sling saves us! We also have friends and family willing to come along to shoots to hold him (I am very blessed, I know!). This year, we hope to work together more (with or without Auden) as we are a really good team and have had some very lovely feedback from our clients so far.
2) I want to breastfeed Auden until he is at least one and hopefully much longer. This limits the childcare possibilities but it’s not impossible. My efforts to get him to take expressed milk in a bottle have failed so far, so for now I’m only taking on work that I can do whilst he is with me or near by.
3) My husband will take on a fair share of parenting. Of course. He currently earns more than me, and this is often the justification I hear from families where the husband works full time and the wife stays home. However, for us, it isn't just about money. It’s about his active choice to be around more than “the average dad”, and about him wanting to know the kid details and sharing the domestic stuff. It’s about me doing stuff other than mothering, of being able to stretch my creativity, earn my own money, and challenge myself. My choice to breastfeed means I will be doing more of the domestic and parenting stuff and I'm happy about that for now. As well as working together on photoshoots, Dave will have Auden in the house whilst I work on client proposals or pitches or blog posts at home.
4) When Auden is older, around 7/8 months, I plan on working at a local co-working space which has an onsite nursery called Farm Work Play. This genius of an idea is the brainchild of my incredible friend Jo Jell. It is in the most idyllic location on an old farm. The nursery is run by lovely, gentle staff members and there’ll be more than a whiff of forest school about it. I’ll be able to put him in for short sessions whilst working very close by and I can feed him if he needs me. (um, everywhere needs a Farm Work Play! For more details see here, local folk, get involved!)
5) At home I will use some of my evenings and Auden's nap times to write blog posts and plan social media stuff (for it needs as much, or even more planning than blogging!) and use Auden's nap times too. I plan on trying to be home for nap times last least half of the time so I can use the time to work. (The other half I fully intend to be out adventuring, day tripping or enjoying long luncheons with friends!)
6) And I will be kind to myself. I will refuse guilt. I will. Writing that here will help to keep me accountable (!) I will be kind to myself when I'm too tired to work. I will be kind to myself when all I want to do is feed my baby to sleep then eat a whole bar of chocolate and read my book. I will prioritise my happiness and time with my family over the house work. I will choose rest over work when I need too and I wont feel guilty about it. I am painfully aware that these baby days are oh so fleeting.
But, but, but... I also won't feel guilty about my need to have a calm, relatively tidy space in which to live and work. (although happy for those standards to be flexible!) I also refuse to feel guilty about my need to flex the creative part of my brain. To do stuff outside of mothering and domestic work (yes, I refer to those things as work because, they are). I wont feel guilty for needing to challenge myself a bit and my desire to keep my toe, or indeed an entire leg, in the world of work.
Freelance mama's I would dearly love to know how to juggled it all!
So, this is my announcement that I'm back! I am in the process of merging my two websites and becoming hannahbullivant.com and focussing on soulful interiors, styling and events…..
I would love to hear from you though, about what you would like to see more of here on this blog. drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a comment below. Thank you, chums.