It has been awhile, which has been the loveliest thing to say! You see I didn’t take much time off with my daughter, and although this year has been far harder financially, I didn’t want to regret not taking longer with this little boy. So 6 months on, I am slowly coming back to work. We still have no childcare in place but things are getting easier and I’ve missed the blog! So we will be doing posts here and mini posts via the newsletter (you can sign up here).
The night before I gave birth, England went into its second lockdown and only really lifted restrictions in April, so the last 6 months have been testing, to say the least. At first we really enjoyed the slow pace of getting to know our wonderful boy, cosying up on the sofa and leaning into it. However, lack of family contact has been difficult and those things you plan your day around as a new parent: coffees with friends, playgroups and family bringing round cake or helping do some washing up, have been sorely missed. Ironically, I found the constant stream of visitors so hard with Peggy, yet this time I longed for someone to take the baby off me just for an hour or so. But things are slowly getting easier and suddenly time is passing even quicker (as is my diary!) and I can already feel the ‘busyness’ anxiety creeping back.
Being freelance on maternity leave is one of the few drawbacks of working for yourself. As a freelancer there are so many perks – you are in charge of your own hours, you don’t always have someone to answer to regarding working hours, productivity, workload etc, but Maternity Allowance is not huge (especially if you work with your partner as the allowance has to be shared). To take 3 months, we just had to save three months company takings which, as you can imagine, in a lockdown world was hard. Hence why we did our keep in touch days and met a few select commercial deadlines. The thing is, when you work for yourself, there is no one designated to take over your role, so you can’t relax and enjoy your maternity leave in the same way that an employed person (potentially) could. I know this doesn’t always work this way (I’m pretty sure in my magazine days, I probably wouldn’t have had any cover and my workload would’ve been spread out amongst the team to save budget) and job security is (still!) an issue amongst those on maternity leave but there is far more structure in place to allow for time work-free with your child within a larger company. I’m not very good at delegating or switching off, so without maternity cover the buck (and bills), unfortunately, stop with me.
But that’s not to say we don’t feel extremely lucky to be able to take any time off at all, we were both at home and could take turns doing admin. I extended my leave on @thefrugality Instagram account as although technically back to work, I couldn’t give enough to all platforms without childcare. And the fact we managed to save enough to take any time off at all in time of such uncertainty has been hugely welcomed. So thank you, everyone who reads and engages with this site and our social platforms everyday, as that has made it possible. You may often think a ‘click’ or a ‘like’ doesn’t count in the big scheme of things but it can really make an impact.
Looking forward to getting my teeth into things again.