It's working for Kristin B
"I wish I'd realized what so many had told me but what I don't think I understood fully: how much of the 'me' I knew before was going to have to change and adapt."
I wish I’d realized what so many had told me but what I don’t think I understood fully: how much of the “me” I knew before was going to have to change and adapt. Kids have a no return policy and they need us to be on our “A” game–that is hard to do all the time.
I worked for a few agencies, freelanced on the side and after some long commutes and talks with my husband, we decided becoming a freelancer offered so much more flexibility. It was hard. I wanted to climb the corporate ladder and get the fancy title—to me that felt like I would gain respect and show my worth. But my husband supported me and we looked at the bigger picture of life. Flexibility does come with its challenges. So I spent a few years building up clients, getting people to trust my worth and really getting the engine running on my studio—not easy. There is never a good time but, when we felt it was time we had our first child. I was scared—scared to lose all that I had built which now defined me. So, I had built strong relationships with my clients to trust that I could be both a full-time mom and a reliable freelancer. It isn’t all wonderful when you have longs days and deadlines to manage and a child that wants your undivided attention. That requires me to sacrifice things like; a shower, exercise, clean laundry, cleaned house or sleep to meet ALL my commitments and not let my creative work slip or clients will leave. I cannot say I fully planned or understood that was going to be the case.
I always knew I would breastfeed —it wasn’t a question. And I did for my first child. I would even hold conference calls on mute feeding her or pumping. She had to learn how to take a bottle and that wasn’t for work that was so my husband could be a part of that bonding moment and I could have a little freedom to leave her. I am planning on doing the same for my second, that helps my sanity.
I told clients I was taking 3 months, but I was still checking emails and doing small projects. I really never turned off my connection. That is a self pressure I did to myself.
For my first child, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was filled with emotions and felt like time away from her was neglecting her—so I had guilt. Now that she spends the day in a learning environment with other kids and I see her happy about it each day, that feeling is less. For my second (on the way), I worry about being able to juggle it all: giving both my kids and my husband the most of me. I worry especially about keeping my work commitments. As a designer, it’s hard to turn on the creativity in a timed window—but given the situation I’ve had to re-teach myself to do that. Sure I want to go out and sketch outside or get a coffee to be creative, but I have to really discipline my time. I know after my first child that sudden things like injury or illness can really throw a wrench into what I thought was how my day was going to unfold, so procrastination cannot be part of day.