Seven years ago, Brittany, a mate of mine, left her abusive husband. She had two young children to support and worked for four years as a full-time copy writer. It was a stressful time, as the kids had to go to daycare and then before/afterschool care (which they hated) once they were in regular school (which they also hated), besides all the emotional upheaval which comes with divorce.
Then she was laid off. She was relieved to be laid off. Boss from hell, poor management, one-hour commute each way, hundreds of dollars spent in childcare, and maybe getting 3-4 waking hours each day Monday through Friday to spend with her kids taught her that enough’s enough.
In the few months leading up to her layoff, Brittany started doing freelance writing work on the side, so she still had income. “I’m just going to work freelance full-time,” she decided, a decision she regrets not making earlier. Why? Because she had been afraid, afraid of the constant hunt for new, unsteady work when there was rent to pay and mouths to feed. But now she wasn’t afraid. There were worse things than being self-employed; she’d faced them and wasn’t about to go back to face them again.
That was four years ago. Today, Brittany doesn’t call herself a work-from-home-mom, though that’s what she does (she also homeschools her kids) She’s a bestselling ghostwriter and editor. She’s a prolific blogger. She’s written over twenty children’s books and a historical fiction romance novel. She has clientele all over the world. More often than not she has to force herself to shut off her computer (10 hours days aren’t unusual, but it’s 10 hours mixed with other stuff besides work). If she doesn’t work on Saturdays her kids find it odd. But would she trade it? Not for the world. Has she found a balance between work and home? Not yet.
“For a couple years, I worked seven days a week. I was afraid to take a day off,” Brittany admits. Then she felt convicted about working on Sunday, so she stopped working then. But it’s only a recent development for her to not work—even a teeny bit—on Saturdays.
“I’d love to not have to work and focus on my kids’ homeschooling, but even doing both, my work life is very non-stressful,” she says. “We don’t have to drive anywhere for work or school. You wouldn’t believe how much pressure that takes off you, not having to live by other peoples’ schedules. Being together so much also helped heal some rifts which opened between my eldest child and me because of the divorce. It’s shocking to me how much time parents don’t get to spend with their kids because of work and school. I’m thrilled to get to work at home; my kids love being homeschooled (which was our plan even before the divorce). We’re content and you can’t beat that.”
On the financial side of things, Brittany’s income is less than when she worked full-time. But not having to pay for childcare, gas, toll tag fees, and items for school lunches makes the reduction of income hardly noticeable.
“God takes care of us. He is my Husband,” admits Brittany. “When one aspect of work is slow, another picks up. We’ve never gone without. He provides in so many ways.”
“I’m learning to let go and trust Him more when it comes to my work schedule. I’m learning to turn off the computer and Internet and spend more time with my kids. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to spend more time with them because I am at home. I’m thankful I get to do what I love to do.”