For me, nothing beats being a stay-at-home mom. It is the best decision I ever made and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But I feel lucky that in addition to being a stay-at-home mom, I’ve found an outlet that lets me escape the hardest parts of the day – the times when you feel unproductive, flustered, lonely, or out-of-control. Being at home is worth it – but it’s still tough!
For me, that outlet has been through writing. It has culminated in this blog, but behind that are freelance jobs, pet projects, and other sources of writing for pleasure or pay. And I didn’t start out as a writer. In fact, I often can’t believe that I’ve even found myself here because writing was never something I actually enjoyed, nor was it something I planned on doing. It just happened. But thank God it did, because now I don’t know what I’d do without it!
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So, if you’re considering leaving the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom, or already are and are in desperate need of an outlet, here are all the reasons you need to seriously consider taking on some freelance work:
It’s Not as Hard as You Think
The beauty about writing is that you get to go over your work again and again to make it sound better before you hit the send or publish button. And it’s really not as hard as you think! This is especially true if you decide to go the route of blog writing because the style is much more casual. You basically want your writing to sound as if you are talking. So in addition to rereading your work, say it out loud to see if anything sounds awkward.
More importantly, actually finding your first freelance job isn’t as hard as you think. Being a stay-at-home mom is not the same as being unemployed and businesses are well aware of that. Believe it or not, there’s actually an abundance of freelance writing jobs for moms. The vast majority of my clients were actually specifically looking for stay-at-home moms! The decision to stay at home is an important one and it doesn’t reflect our ability (or inability) to stay in the workforce – we chose to leave. So don’t be intimidated or worried that you’re under-qualified. Most clients will ask you for a sample first and you’ll go from there. And don’t be intimidated if you think you don’t have “samples”. You do. If you’re ready to take the plunge before reading the rest of my list, here are the steps to get your first freelance writing job → How to Get Your First Freelance Writing Job.
You Can Take Time Off, But Keep Your Resume Active
This is a massive benefit that may be the best reason to give writing a shot. Even if you’re just spending an hour or two a week writing, you’re actively employed as far as your resume goes. And as we all know, one of the biggest concerns with becoming a stay-at-home mom is not knowing if you’ll ever be able to re-enter the workforce. This is an amazing way to keep that door open if you ever want – or need – to get back into the 9-to-5 grind.
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I’m not just talking about being able to write while you’re overlooking the ocean or late at night when the kids go to bed. That flexibility is a dream that everyone hopes for (which, for the record, you can totally achieve as a writer). As a stay-at-home mom, flexibility is more of a requirement than a dream. Writing can happen during the 10 minutes of overlap between your baby’s nap and your toddler’s nap. It can happen during the 20 minutes that your toddler discovers a new trick that his car can do. When my son was a newborn, he only wanted to sleep in my arms…so I literally started my blog from my phone. I would just quietly type away with my thumb while he was snoozing. Writing is one of the few outlets that doesn’t require a lot of setup, accessories, or gadgets. It really truly can be done anywhere, anytime…and for as few minutes as you can spare.
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Mental Stimulation & Satisfaction
Without a doubt, one of the biggest struggles as a stay-at-home mom is running around crazy all day and looking back to see that nothing productive occurred. Sure, you cleaned the family room 6 times and did 4 loads of laundry, but you can’t even tell.
If you are able to carve out some time to write, you are doing yourself two favors. One, you will be creating something tangible that proves you were productive. Whether you’re paid right away for your work, have added another chapter to your book, or created another post for your blog, you’ve built something that will be there forever. Trust me, it feels really, really good. Two, you actually have an opportunity to stretch your brain, work with “adult” tools, and potentially dive into topics that have nothing to do with Sesame Street.
It Can Give Your Career a Boost
I know this may sound crazy because it’s often believed that nothing kills a career like having a baby, let alone leaving your job to raise it. But in all honestly, making the decision to stay at home with your children while also taking on some freelance work could actually be good for your career. First, it’s really easy to get caught up in a job and forget about your career. Before you know it, you’ve spent years doing something you don’t love and you have no idea how to transition. Leaving gives you a chance to refocus and shift yourself back into the direction you want to go. Second, and more importantly, with writing (or any freelance work for that matter), you get to decide what you’re working on. You get to pick your specialty and you get to build your expertise. Ironically, this is something that many jobs just don’t offer.
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This is the exciting part! You get to make a little extra money. And whether you need it or not, once you’ve given up a regular paycheck, it feels really good to earn something on your own. If you go the route of strictly freelance writing, you will usually be paid per project and thus have a relatively predictable pay schedule. If you go the route of a blog, your income can be a bit all over the place, but it is often passive and has much higher potential. Either way, it’s an extra source of income which is always a great thing!
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Gateway to Other Job Opportunities
Whether you’re writing for money, a distraction, or a creative outlet, doing something outside of being a mom can be really fulfilling. It’s just a nice change of pace. One of the greatest things that has come from freelance writing has been the opportunity to do new and different things. Almost every single one of my clients has ended up asking me to do something different for them (in addition to writing) at one point or another. I’ve learned WordPress, launched KickStarter campaigns, and attended trade shows. This is a great addition to your resume and bank account, but more importantly, it feels so amazing to learn something new.
There Is So Much Variety
Trust me when I tell you that you will be blown away by all the different writing assignments that people are looking for. Even if a topic seems dull, it feels good to write about something different (and it will do amazing things for the quality of your writing). In the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve written about backyard fences, social media apps, american made steel, honeymoon locations, breastfeeding tips, name tags, mutual funds, and countless other topics. It can be challenging to write about something new, but completing the challenge is what feels so good.
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I hope I’ve convinced you to give it a try! We all need a little extra fulfillment in our days and this is such an easy way to achieve it. Good luck!