As hinted previously, today’s post is brought to you by Sonja Dorsey, a freelance writer who is also a mom and proud owner of a parenting blog, ManifestMom. The title of the post is a pretty accurate description of who she is and what she does.
Without further ado, here’s Sonja!
Mom. Freelance Writer. Blogger. Multitasker. Superhero.
Hi. I’m Sonja. If you haven’t guessed, the title of this guest post is how I might describe myself if I were feeling particularly modest upon inquiry. Yes, modesty is among my many endearing qualities. In addition, I’m a mean cook, a dry wit and a great singer. My real talents, however, lay in writing.
I’m guest blogging at Wordsmith Works because I am in a position that many freelance writers share. I’m a work-from-home parent. You read that correctly: Work from home. I do not simply stay at home. Please, don’t get me wrong: I know that stay-at-home moms and dads have a full schedule of work to accomplish, one that is brimming with real responsibilities that demand most of their time and efforts. I’m not here to dismiss their plight. I understand and appreciate it. My point in mentioning it at all is only to illustrate that I share all of their responsibilities and add on top of it, of my own volition, writing.
The at-home choice was pretty easy for us to make as a family. After being laid off during my second pregnancy, I found work making $10.50 per hour at a restaurant while my boyfriend worked during the day as an electrician and finished his schooling to become a nurse at night. My work day began before his ended, so we paid for child care for the one to two hours of overlap. Ten dollars per hour. . . I was essentially making $0.50 an hour for a portion of my day! When he finished nursing school, my boyfriend accepted a job that offered more than we made combined as an electrician-line-cook duo. His third-shift position didn’t allow me to keep my schedule at the restaurant, but I’d be lying if I said that I was upset about it. As a single-vehicle family, it was clear that it would not work for both of us to work: It wasn’t worth the hassle, the cost or the headache.
As a strictly stay-at-home mom, I went positively crazy. Conversations with a 3-year-old were not sufficiently stimulating for my mind. Getting out of the house for as much as grocery shopping was a special occasion. I became pretty clingy to my boyfriend during the time that I got to see him. He slept while I was up with the kids, and I slept while he worked; I was feeling quite alone. Out of the blue, I decided to look into freelance writing. I knew that I had a talent for words, and I knew that people could get paid for writing. I instantly became hooked. After my first timid article was accepted, I dove into ghostwriting and got my fingers flying.
While I don’t always write about things that interest me (No, I’m not enthralled by furnace repair. Sorry, client.), I do enjoy learning about subjects that I may never have researched without freelance incentive. I love the community of people that I have gotten to know through the sites for which I work, including Jaye. My anonymous ghostwriting tenure is slowly being supplemented with content that I can put my own name on, through my personal blog and through the new position I was offered at Examiner.com.
However, there are times when it’s absolutely maddening to attempt to shuffle all of the responsibilities in my jurisdiction into one cohesive deck. I have met deadlines even as my daughter has been in the hospital following a seizure. I have successfully parented a needy preschool-and-toddler duo while a 2,500 word assignment torments me with subject matter that I’ve long since grown tired of thinking about. I have maintained a household, keeping appointments, feeding my family, doing chores, gardening, shopping and more–a full-time job in itself–while still managing to make extra income through written words. I’m not the best housekeeper; I’m not the fastest writer; I’m not the most amazing time manager, but somehow I make this work.
Sometimes, maintaining this tenuous balance means typing an article about “best rate credit cards” while my partner drives the station wagon to a garden where we intend to spend the afternoon as a family. Sometimes it means turning on a cartoon for my kids and quarantining myself to the bedroom so I can sneak in under a last-minute deadline. Sometimes it means functioning on only a few hours of sleep as I attempt to work after bedtime while still needing to rise at 7:00 a.m. with my kids. At all times it means patience. Prudence. Perseverance. And, of course, a sense of humor.
In true mom style, however, the thing that suffers the most for the sheer pandemonium is me. The gray roots of my hair (did I mention I’m only 28?) are about an inch and a half long. My wardrobe is in desperate need of an upgrade. As of the date of this posting, my personal blog is nearly a month behind schedule. I own a box of hair dye, I have ten days of blogs plotted and half-written, and I have a bit of money saved up which can be used for clothing. Finding the time to actually do any of these things among all of my other obligations seems daunting, however. I prioritize the kids and the pay first, taking only an two hours for myself each morning to go to the gym. Housework, much to the chagrin of my boyfriend, usually takes a back seat. I, personally, am riding on the rear spare tire mount. It’s the only way I can make this awkward dance work for me and my family.
How do other freelancing parents do it?
Be sure to read her blog, ManifestMom! – wsw
- How Kids Fit Into Your Freelance Life: Part 2 (freelanceswitch.com)
- Using Guest Bloggers (1socialmediaservice.com)
- How To Hire a Freelance Writer (clurradonald.com)
- Surprise! Freelancers Aren’t Really Alone (freelancefolder.com)
- Professional Freelance Writers Provide Professional Services (wordsmithworks.org)