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I started freelancing when my current youngest was six months old. We’re now expecting baby number 8, and I wanted to share some tips I’ve discovered about freelancing while pregnant.
1. Dealing with Exhaustion
Growing a baby takes a lot of energy. I’ve always noticed that I’m more tired while pregnant.
Combine that with my oldest son who has a severe sleep disorder as part of his Angelman Syndrome, and it’s a one-way ticket to the exhaustion line.
While you probably won’t be dealing with the double whammy of pregnancy and not being able to sleep well at night, it is the situation I find myself in. Here’s a few ways I cope:
Rest at Night
Even when I’m up with my son at night, I’m learning to save this time period for rest. I get him changed, refill his drink, and crawl into bed with him.
I may spend the next couple hours physically keeping him in bed so he can’t crawl through the house making noise and waking everyone else up, but at least I’m laying down.
It’s not the season for me to try and be up and down all night putting him back into bed time and time again.
It’s also not the season for me to be on my phone in the middle of the night, researching, catching up on social media, or playing games.
I can get away with it occasionally when I’m not expecting, but right now the rest is essential. Even if I’m trying hard to beat a level on Two Dots.
Nap During Quiet Time
I used to work on my business during quiet time. But now when I try, I end up really grumpy mom. The lack of sleep combined with my exhaustion is definitely taking a toll.
So I’m back to napping. I shoot for an hour nap, which still leaves me 1/2 an hour to tackle my to-do list.
Add More Convenience Meals
I’ve always been a big fan of cooking from scratch. Except when I’m pregnant. It’s just too much to try and keep going.
So my shopping list now contains items like:
- Preformed, frozen meatballs to make spaghetti and sweet and sour meatball meals come together in a snap
- Boxed mac and cheese so my kids can tackle Saturday’s lunch
- Sliced bread (Which we really don’t like much–I’ve made it homemade for too long and our taste buds are spoiled!)
These are a few of the convenience foods I’m buying to keep my life more manageable. We can’t do it all all the time after all!
I’ll also add that I knew I was pregnant while making this year’s annual meal plan. That’s why you’ll notice:
- More simple meals for lunch–like make your own, leftovers, and picnic style
- The majority of the meals picked can be made in 30 minutes, OR made in advance
- The snacks are ones the kids can handle preparing
When your energy is limited, you have to do what you can and cut what you can’t. Don’t feel guilty about it!
2. Add More Padding to My Deadlines
I’ve always been a big fan of padding deadlines. With a large family, I never quite know what each day will bring. So, I add a buffer to my deadlines.
Now that I’m expecting, I’m really focusing on only having one major deadline each day. It takes a bit more thinking when I plan this out, but it’s been so much easier on me.
I shoot for tasks that I can complete in only an hour or two of work. That way even if I have to wait until my husband is home, I know I can get it done on time.
As my due date gets closer, I’ll continue to do the same. But, I’ll be working ahead more purposefully. That way I can take a day or two around my delivery and know that I’m not missing anything.
3. Accept that It Won’t Be a Period of Massive Growth
I’d love to be growing my business even more, but right now isn’t the time for that.
There are seasons in life, and we have to accept each one as they come and figure out a way to tackle it. Life changes, and that’s okay. We can either give up in defeat, or we can make changes to handle the changes.
As part of my changes, I’ve recognized that I’ll likely be stuck at earning $1500-$2500 a month until after baby is born. That leaves me room to take on one or two new clients. I don’t have to worry about missing an amazing opportunity, because I’ve left myself a little wiggle room still.
But, it means that I won’t be pitching as much right now for smaller, one-off gigs.There’ll be a time to do that again, but it’s not right now!
The amount I’m aiming for will help immensely with the household budget, and will help me not feel completely overwhelmed and worthless as I read what other people are doing.
I don’t have as much time to put into growing my business right now–that whole energy thing.
We have to be able to say, “it’s enough for now” and not stress.
4. Cut Back in Other Areas
It’s not just my business where I’ve been cutting back. I’m buying homeschool curriculum for all subjects for my kids this year instead of piecing together my own materials. (Definitely costs more money, but it’ll save me a ton of time and brain power!)
We’re also starting school now in anticipation of taking some time off when baby comes next year. With a freshman this year, I have to make sure she makes it through everything!
(Still can’t believe I’m homeschooling a high-schooler, but that’s a whole different post!)
I’m milking my cow only a couple times a week, a method where her calf is still with her and does the rest of the milking for me. If you’re interested, you can read all about it in this post on one of my other blogs.
I cut back on other farming plans as well.
It’s just not the season for growth–and I’m learning to be okay with that.
5. I Remind Myself It’s Just for a Season
I’m no stranger to working while pregnant. For my pregnancies, I’ve been:
- A full-time high school & Running Start student (baby 1)
- A full-time special education teacher in a high-school setting (baby 2)
- A full-time special education teacher in an elementary school setting (most of my pregnancy with baby 3)
- A full-time teacher in a parent partnership program working from home four days a week (birth of baby 3 and babies 4 & 5)
For babies six and seven, I was just a homeschooling, homesteading mama. But, the majority of my pregnancies I’ve been working.
During each of these pregnancies, I’ve noticed an almost immediate return of energy following the birth of baby. In fact while working at the parent partnership program, I resumed my duties within a couple of days of birth–that’s just how I roll.
All of that background to say, I know that my energy will return. I know that this is just for a season. And I can get through it! And if you’re in a similar situation, you can too!
6. I Rejoice in the Coming Baby
Children are indeed a blessing from the Lord, and we’re excited to meet this new little member of the Tanner family.
The joy of welcoming a new baby makes the struggle and exhaustion worthwhile.
Are You Expecting, Or Have You Freelanced While Pregnant Before?
What tips can you add to my list? Let’s build each other up mamas!
Oh, and on a side note, I’m looking forward to adding a new post to my “Freelancing with Kids” series once baby is born. I’ve never freelanced with a newborn before, so I’m excited to share what I find that works!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.