How To Have A Portfolio Career As A Parent

My experience of balancing a portfolio career or being a slashie with parenting. How I feel about having a career, blogging, freelancing and parenting.

 

There’s lots of things to love about the kind of world we live in now. One of them is the flexibility when it comes to our careers, jobs, passions and how we make our living. I love being able to mix my marketing career with my hobby (blogging), and make some time to take on exciting freelance projects too.

It’s taken me a while to get into a rhythm with it all, but I’m definitely feeling more comfortable these days with my ‘slashie’ life and I wonder if I’d ever feel content in doing just one thing again. I love the variety of having (at least) three strands to my career as it were, and find that every day I walk into it feeling refreshed and more creative than before.

To give you a bit more background on my work-life mix, here’s a run-down of the sort of things I do every week. I start off on Mondays in the office, where I’m a marketing executive in a really interesting company that has lots of good people and values. I mostly take care of our social media and digital content, but there’s a few bits of design and other marketing bits and pieces too. Tuesdays are my mid-week day at home with the kids. On Wednesdays I make time for a bit of me-time (currently driving lessons, eek!) and schedule in any freelance work – at the moment it’s a lot of Pinterest marketing which I’m really enjoying. Thursdays and Fridays I’m back in the office, and then the weekend we tend to keep free of work.

You’ll notice I’ve not mentioned blogging… well, that’s because it’s something I tend to fit in around everything else throughout the week. It’s something that I want to change – I’m thinking about creating some time on Tuesdays or Sunday mornings to focus on my blog.

Reading my weekly schedule back through it sounds so organised and structured, but one of the pitfalls with being a ‘slashie’ or having a porfolio career is that it doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with being perfectly organised. Everything changes depending on which part of my career needs the most attention, or depending on which season we’re in. It feels like blogger event season at the moment, so it’s meant booking annual leave to travel and being cautious about taking on freelance projects. You’re always balancing and adjusting.

Another drawback I’ve found is that I’m having to fight a constant battle against the desire (or perceived need maybe?) to be a parent all the time too. To always be putting the kids first, to spend all our downtime with them, to dedicate our lives to them from breakfast ‘til bedtime. Being a parent is a wonderful but challenging ride, and when you’re trying to work, bring home the bacon or launch a business it’s harder still.

Where do we find enough hours in the day or energy in our bodies for it all? It’s something that I struggle with every day.

Some weeks I wonder if I’m spending too much energy on my career. Other times I’m doubting my ability to write anything worth reading or cringing at my shocking ability to stay consistent with my social media (sorry guys!). Then I have days where I’m wondering if life would be easier and more fulfilling if I headed in the opposite direction, swapping working at my laptop for playdates and playing small worlds with the little ones. Sometimes it becomes completely consuming, like I can’t stop wondering whether I’m doing the ‘right’ thing.

Luckily, there are also lots of days where I think YES! and that I’m on my way to getting the balance just how I want it. Being able to blend a career with staying at home a few days a week watching my kids change and grow, plus pursuing my blog, feels like such a gift. Growing up I never knew what I wanted to be and I think it’s because I’m not ready to let go of opportunities and head down one defined path. There’s no doubt I’d be a better marketer if I worked full-time and threw all my energy into it, and I’d be a more successful businesswoman if I dedicated more time to it. Maybe I’d be a better blogger too, or a better parent if that was my only focus.

I used to be envious of people who knew they wanted to be a doctor, or went to university and studied a subject for four years before dedicating their life to it. I wanted to feel that sureness, that knowing. It turns out though that it isn’t something I need, or even want, any more. I’m completely happy in my varied, hard-to-do-an-elevator-pitch-on-it little corner and think it’s where I was meant to be all along.

Here’s to doing things you love, (hopefully) making a living from them and doing your best at being a parent too.

 

– Nicola

Marketer, blogger, freelancer, parent…

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