Can a Mom of Toddlers Make Money with Freelance Writing?

This is a question I've been asked several times. "Can I really be a SAHM to little kids and bring an income from freelance writing at the same time?"  (Click to Tweet)

I had a freelance writer working for me who became a first time parent a year ago. She expected to take a few weeks off and then jump back into work. It didn't happen that way.

To be fair, she had several medical complications that kept her from even enjoying her new baby fully during the first few months, but even after she was feeling better she asked me, "How do mom's find time to do full-time freelance work and take care of their kids too?"

My answer? They don't.

At least not mom's of babies and most mom's of preschoolers don't work as "full-time" freelancers while taking care of their kids too.

Jodie's SAHM Freelance Writing Success

This week a friend and freelancer sent her youngest off to kindergarten. She posted on Facebook about her decision to quit her job and become a freelance writer five years ago, when that child was seven months old. So, I asked if I could share her story to help answer this question.

Here is what Jodie posted:

"Five years ago I decided to quit my job of 15 years to stay home with this little nugget, who was about 7 months old and her big sister, who was 3. It was a scary prospect, wondering if we could survive on one income until I was able to build up my freelance writing career, if that was even a possibility."

"I thought that my goal was relatively short-term; I would find freelance work until Bea was in kindergarten. That was my finish line. Then I would find something 9-5 that would allow me some flexibility, so I wasn't always working holidays, weekends, nights, etc. as I was as a news reporter."

"It's been an incredible journey these last five years. It's also been tough, trying to carve out time to work while caring for two young children. [Notice this photo I took today of Bea dusting my desk while I tried to write. Oy.]"

"My hair is a lot grayer now than it was five years ago. (Pres. Obama and I have that in common.)"

"But we did it, y'all."

"And I can't imagine doing anything else. Nels and I are now both self-employed, working from home while the kids are both in school."

"Trust me, I know we are so, so blessed."

If you noticed that Jodie was a news reporter, you might think that made it easy for her to transition into freelance writing. Not so, according to Jodie. 

She had no idea how or where to find clients or what to charge. Plus, she had been writing journalism style news articles for a small town newspaper; she had to learn how to write blogs and magazine articles.

As she was struggling to get started, another local freelancer (There's a few of us up in north central Minnesota) and I put together a workshop about how to start as a freelance writer or virtual assistant. Jodie was one of about two dozen  ladies who attended that workshop. The workshop gave Jodie more tools and the encouragement she needed to keep pursuing her freelance career.

I gave Jodie some writing assignments as a subcontractor for my business, Crafter of Words, and referred her to a magazine I was writing for that needed more writers. Today, she also has the position of editor for a prestigious Minnesota magazine, Lake Country Journal, and gets the privilege of working with some of our great local freelancers.

It's been fun sharing the journey together. Here's another comment from Jodie's Facebook post today:

"Thanks, Kathy Krueger, I couldn't have done it without your help and encouragement!!"

Balancing Kids with Freelance Writing

So, how did Jodie make it work?

Here are some of the ways Jodie made it possible to be a SAHM to preschoolers and a freelance writer.

  1. Part time, not full time.
  2. Occasional daycare and preschool. (local grandmas are great, but she used paid options as well).
  3. Do the actual writing when they are in bed or when hubby is home to parent. (Research and other prep work while they play, etc.)
  4. Free proofreading services from her mom. (Make use of any resources like this you can find.)
  5. Networking with other writers and freelancers in her community to gain insight, referrals and enjoy the camaraderie of her peeps.

If you're a SAHM who also works as a freelancer (writer, VA, graphic artist, etc), leave a comment and share your tips for balancing working from home with parenting.

PS: Jodie is a GREAT writer and editor. To contact her about writing for you, visit her LinkedIn profile. Jodie Tweed Norquist