Working as a freelance translator with school aged children

I can never stop thinking of how lucky I am to have found a career as a freelance translator. I pick my own hours, clients and jobs. I can take my job with me everywhere and it is a well paid job. But the most important factor for me is that I can be available for my children.

It was not a conscious choice for me to become a freelance translator. I moved to the US 8 years ago, with a 2 year old son and being 7 months pregnant. I was used to working 75 % of a normal week, and still be a marketing manager. I was used to one years parents leave and 6 weeks of vacation. It was not easy to move here where most mothers of young children did not work, where I had no contacts career wise, and where it was expected of a marketing manager to work at least 40 hour weeks. I started looking into a work-from-home career and tried a few things without much success before I stumbled upon translation. I have always loved languages, been good at writing in my mother tongue and after my first freelance job I was hooked. My career gradually grew. I was working a lot less while my children were young, but after they started school I have been able to work almost full time.

During a normal week day I get up and have breakfast with my family. I make sure my son and daughter get off to school at 7:30 and then I sit down with a cup of coffee and work in my pajamas for a couple of hours. Quite the luxury, don’t you think? Then I take my dog out for a walk, run, bike ride och cross country tour. After lunch I work until 3:30 when the kids come home from school. We have a snack, do homework and then we are off for after school activities like dance, piano, scouts, basket ball, library etc.
I do not work between 4-8 in the evening when I am busy being just a mom. After the kids are off to bed I sit down to work for yet a couple of hours during the week. This works well since my husband also frequently have work to do in the evening. On the other hand we try to keep our weekends work free.

I can stay at home and take care of the children when they are sick and still get work done. I can participate in important activities at school and help out in the class rooms. In other words. I can be very involved in my children’s lives and still have a rewarding career.

The only drawback with working from home is that I do not get away from my job very easily. There is always something hanging over me, waiting to be done, and I do not leave my job behind me in an office at the end of the day. Many times I feel guilty for working while the children are at home and asking me to “come look at this” or “play this”. But who doesn’t feel that way sometimes? My children have also grown used to me sitting with my laptop at all hours and places. At least they see that their mom is a hard working person. They also see a mom that loves what she is doing and that does not complain about her job.

Tess Whitty Dec. -08

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