Being my own boss, with flexible hours would be an absolute dream. I read several books last year including #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon and Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women by Otegha Uwagba, looking for practical advice on how to make this reality. Although I found these books incredibly interesting and motivational, I found it difficult to identify with any of the authours and their lifestyles. I am a mum, and that impacts on every decision I make. I get it, there’s nothing worse than an entitled mum. I’m not saying I should be treated differently in any way. I’m not claiming to be more stressed out than someone who doesn’t have children and the word ‘mumtrepreneur’ makes me physically gag, however, I do have a different set of variables to juggle than the women I’ve read about so far.
The Freelance Mum by Annie Ridout was exactly the kind of book I was looking for. Annie Ridout is editor-in-chief of digital lifestyle and parenting magazine The Early Hour, which I have now become an avid reader of. She also works as a freelance journalist. Her new book takes into account the ‘nitty-gritty’ of childcare, discusses the importance of establishing daily routines, offers tips on how to maintain healthy work-life boundaries (mum guilt is the worst) and there’s even practical advice about branding and SEO, which seem obvious now but would have been particularly useful in the early days of setting up my blog.
I found this book a refreshing change from reading about women in their 20s chasing fame and Instagram followers. We all have different aspirations and create our own definition of ‘success’ so I’m definitely not judging, it’s just not my bag. She goes into detail about the routines of ‘successful’ women that really gave me food for thought when it comes to how I try, and often fail, to organise my household. I also really appreciated Annie’s transparency when it comes to money. She’s very upfront about what she charges. She breaks down her monthly bills and sets targets. She knows exactly how much money she needs to make to live comfortably and she’s honest about it. I’ve noticed quite a few ‘big’ bloggers complaining on Twitter that they are being undercut by smaller influencers and that they should “know their worth”. Well… how exactly do we do this if nobody is willing to share their rates? It’s easy to make these blanket statements, however, when it comes to specifics about money people get very cagey. Annie encourages influencers/bloggers/freelancers to be more open about their finances so they are not taken advantage of.
This was an interesting read and one I’d recommend. My only gripe with it is the examples she uses from other women. Yes, they are varied and represent a wide range of parenting styles nicely, but the majority appear to come from very affluent women who were already established in their field and therefore have a very secure safety net in place. Transitioning from a contracted position with holidays, maternity leave and sick pay to working freelance is a huge leap for your average working-class mum and I feel like this was downplayed a little.
The Freelance Mum by Annie Ridout (Fourth Estate, RRP £7.99) is available to purchase at Amazon here.