Self-employed Mum – Salaried Mum: what is the ideal solution?
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How can you reconcile your personal life with your professional life? What is the ideal solution: to be a self-employed mum or a salaried mum?
I began to work for myself at the age of 26. No children at the time, no husband, no mortgage repayments to make. Lots of freedom and also a great lack of experience (but that is not what this article is about ☺). And I was a long way from thinking about the question of whether being a self-employed mum would be an ideal solution at a later stage.
I have grown older with time, as have my friends, and husbands and children have come along. With them came a major reassessment for all of us: how can you reconcile your professional and personal lives?
For many of my friends, I had found the ideal solution, the one that according to them would solve all their problems. Be a self-employed mum.
Self- employed mum: what are the advantages?
It is hard to answer them with a simple “Yes, I have found the ideal solution!” Yes, this solution suits me. Without drawing up an exhaustive list, I particularly like the flexibility that it offers me:
I can take my children to school on the first day back without taking a half day off work (this also works for making an appointment at the paediatrician’s without taking a sick day).
I can collect my children from school from time to time.
I can call my nanny from work. Nobody will judge me or think that my mind isn’t on my job because I am also a mother.
I organise my timetable by setting rules that allow me to combine my professional life and personal logistics:
No meetings before 9.30 am
No meetings that start after 5.30 pm
No breakfast meetings
Meetings as often as possible on my business premises or on Skype. This solution allows me to limit travelling time.
I can work remotely from home, if this is more practical for my personal organisation and if it saves me time.
Self-employed mum: the drawbacks
On the other hand, being a “mompreneur” does not mean less work, or reduced working hours. Let’s be honest; there are also disadvantages:
I didn’t take maternity leave. Not before the birth, when I worked each time right up to the day before B-day. Nor after the birth, when my children became acquainted with my business premises very early. This choice also left me very tired. Being a self-employed mum does not mean you are Superwoman. Giving birth is no mean feat, and I didn’t allow my body enough time to rest! Therefore, I took longer to recover.
I am home by 6.45pm to finish bathing my children and to put them to bed. To compensate for this, I often reconnect between 9.30pm and 11pm (after watching an episode of Narcos – I am under Pablo’s charm). I frequently wake up very early to finish some work or send some emails before the whole house wakes up.
I don’t take a lot of holidays, and when on holidays I am permanently connected (and I know that this is the case for many salaried mothers too).
I take advantage of my children’s holidays to put in longer days. I am incredibly lucky to have grandparents that are big fans of their grandchildren. They very often take them for 1 or 2 weeks at each school holidays. This frees up a lot of time for me. In this case, I don’t take advantage of these days to have a romantic meal in a restaurant or to go to the cinema. These extended days allow me to catch up on all the subjects that were not top priorities in my business day as an entrepreneur.
Finally, what I like about my situation as a self-employed mum is the flexibility that it offers me… and I am not convinced that this flexibility is exclusively reserved for entrepreneurs. Some companies offer as much, if you just try to raise the subject.
So when my friends ask if this is the ideal solution, my answer is simple – it’s a solution that suits ME and it is a choice that each person must make for themselves. There is no one situation that is better than another – that’s like comparing a working mother to a mother who works in the home!
And for those who may be tempted by this adventure, here are some interviews with entrepreneurial mums that may inspire you.
PS 1: The term Mompreneur has not been used deliberately. I find the term to be too limiting. Do we say that an entrepreneurial dad is a Dadpreneur?
PS 2: The question that I am often asked next is “Do you think that it is better to become an entrepreneur before or after having children?” Once again, I have a number of arguments for and against… but Pablo is beckoning to me now, so I’m off to join him.