Home office for expecting mums
What to expect from the home office, when you are becoming a huge hippopotamus (pregnant)? What will be the challenges and how to feel good about it? Husbands who are trying to understand their (crazy) pregnant wives might also find it interesting.
Changes are good
I would never expect that my life will change so fast. Both on professional and personal level. That within one year, I will change from: forever student, single, kick boxing master, working in the bank by day and partying in Cyprus by night to: a pregnant, wife, COOKING (wtf?), freelance Graphic Designer and yoga practitioner, leaving in calm and charming Prague. But we all have to grow up one day. Now, I feel like I am having the best time of my life.
You need the guts
Decisions are hard but even the bad ones are always good. Because decisions mean changes. I’m happy for all decisions in my life. I am also thankful for the chance to become freelance Graphic Designer working from home and a mom to-be.
The decision to work from home is not easy and I admire everyone who had the guts to do so. Especially for moms and future moms to be. When you are used to being independent and well paid in the past the transition can be painful.
You will need plenty of support in the moments of doubting yourself, a lot of strength in the moments of failure and, as there will be plenty of that, a lot of guts to keep going and don’t look back.
You will fail
Be ready for failures. It is OK to fail. It does not mean that you are not good. You are just starting something new and it is normal that you don’t know yet how to work in this new way.
If you are able to swallow your ego sometimes and not to give up, then you are half way to success. Every failure is a lesson and makes you a better designer/person.
Work from home rules
If you want to feel the importance of your work and for people to take you seriously, set up for yourself few simple rules. Below are mine.
Have a designated space, free of baby toys and your husband socks.
I definitely took advantage of dropping those bank suits I used to wear. At the same time I forbid myself to work in pajama or design logos in a bra. Leggings during pregnancy are super helpful but I should always be fully dressed for work and ready to jump outside right away if needed.
During pregnancy/with kids you might have better or worse days but I try to keep 8 working hours rule for a day and having breaks only for walks and preparing healthy snacks. Rule is: breaks are OK if you walk, play with kids or eat a carrot. Naps are not OK.
Don’t let people distract you
and tell you: “oh but you are staying home now, can you take care of that?” I noticed that since I stayed home, people stopped taking my work seriously. Many would say “oh, now that you are at home, you must be cooking/cleaning/sleeping/shopping a lot. No. I work as hard (actually much harder) as in the office and I will not pick up the shopping for you or bring you the lunch.
Know when to stop
As much as it is easy to get lazy it is also easy to work way too much. I set myself a time cap that should be a maximum time spend on the PC per day.
Take advantage of staying at home and walk, open windows, play with your kids. I sometimes have a 10 minute break to read some fairytales to my belly. That is a nice break plus it gives me plenty of inspiration. Value the luxury of staying at home.
Work from home seems nice and easy but it can be a lot of hassle and responsibilities too. It took me a while to set up my own billing system, invoicing, traders license, Adobe licensing and cash flow for all medical and social coverage. Make sure that you take care of all that. If you need any help, feel free to contact me or comment down below.
How to connect both working hard and staying healthy? What I couldn’t do in the office as much was staying close to the nature and taking “walk breaks”. Now, I just pause my timer I set up for work and start walking when my back aches or when the baby kicks me to tell me it’s enough.
Another advantage of staying home is that I could finally be close to my fridge so I was not afraid to buy plenty of fresh fruits and veggies that would normally go off in the office. Most importantly there are no office jerks who would eat your last fruit just because it was on your desk without a sign “I don’t share food”.
Am I less productive?
On the contrary. I have better days and worst but so far my work is much more effective. I manage my working hours much more efficiently. When there is no work (as it would be sometimes in the office) I don’t just sit and wait. I switch between projects, make sketches or go outside to take photos.
I also have a to-do list with stuff that I would love to do but don’t have time for. For example improving website, writing a blog post. I tend to tick them when the job is slower.
Now, that I am my own boss time seems more valuable and precious. Here you can read more about my work process.
I try to work and enjoy it as much as I can as I believe that once the baby is born I will have to rephrase few things and set few new rules!
Also a mom to-be or a mom starting your own business? Need some help? Feel free to contact me or leave below your own experiences.
Useful Resources to start with
- AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services
- Officehours to promote yourself or get a free advice
- Why I gave myself an unraise for good money management
- How 20 designers charge their clients
- How do you deal with unpaid invoices