Self Employed Sick days
I’m hardly ever sick. So sick days have never really effected my day’s work. But recently as G has just started in nursery school he keeps getting the lurgy. This week he’s been really quite poorly. High temps, snotty wotty (as he calls it) nose. Every time he looks at me, his normally mischievous grey green eyes tell me he’s not a happy chap. He needs holding and tender loving care, which doesn’t really mix with working full time for someone else.
Normally I’d be working today, but since being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in November, I’ve found that I’m not super woman any more. I can’t lift things like I used to. I drop things quite often, some days I’m not clear and walk about as if I have a fog in my brain. It can be quite embarrassing especially if I realise when out that I’ve left my purse, or some other vital piece of equipment at home.
These are the days when I’m so glad that I’m self-employed and that I don’t need to clock in anywhere else at a certain time or be somewhere at a certain place.
Sick? No problem
G goes to nursery one day a week. It’s normally the day when I work a full day at my other job. When you’re self employed, your own work comes secondary to your child. Their needs are priority. I’ve taken a few days ‘off’ work for the three kids. And do you know what? It’s bloody lovely to be able to say that I was there for them. I mopped their brows, I cuddled them to sleep. It is never an issue for me to have a chill day with the kids if they’re feeling under the weather. I can always work later into the night or get up earlier in the morning to work around them.
This isn’t a holier than though rant about employment because there are certainly benefits to employment v’s self employment. Paid holidays and paid sick days for example. When my other two were younger I worked very long hours, and used to get the dreaded phone call from nursery that a runny poop incident had happened. And that I needed to pick up my child. Sometimes, I was five minutes away and other times I could be half way across the country.
G is the youngest of my children and he’s definitely the one I’ve spent most time with. It is because I freelanced before having him, and have been largely able to rely on my partner to be the main wage earner in the household. This hasn’t come easily to me either because I’ve always looked after myself and my kids. Accepting his role as the provider as someone who is REALLY independent can be quite hard.
Another thing I missed about employment when I gave birth was maternity leave and Statutory Maternity allowance. To be fair there is really little support for parents who are self employed. My partner was also self employed when we had G. He took a day off work, I only took a few weeks. According to CAB, most self employed parents return to work a week after having a baby. The reason for me personally was monetary. As I was part time during pregnancy all I received was basic statutory Maternity pay which was £27 per week.
I considered getting employment before falling pregnant but of course G was a mini miracle and wasn’t really planned BUT I’m glad I didn’t to be fair. These precious moment with my boy, and his snotty nose couldn’t happen if I was employed. In fact he would probably be with my 70 year old mother, or my 78 year old mother-in-law’s. So many people with young children are now totally reliant on grand parents for their child care needs. Child care prices are absolutely sky high, and our mum or a relative is often the only option if you are working full time. A record number of grandparents are now looking after their grandchildren for hours on end every week. I definitely couldn’t do this to my mum.
You can still claim working tax and child tax credits when you’re Self employed. All you need is your annual tax return, and you still get help towards your child care costs (up to 70% depending on your household income). So it’s worth looking into.
Working around the kids
Some days, like today no work will be done. We played pirates, made a tent in the front room, sang nursery rhymes, and watched Paw patrol. I actually felt relaxed and not anxious that I had to do this that and the other. It could wait. I now that he goes to bed around six thirty and that will then be catch up time.
I’ve spent the hours that he’s needed me in his company. Reinforcing my own sense of supermum (we ALL need to do that sometimes!). Yes, I’m encrusted in gross green body lava, and yellow banana medicine, baby wipes are scattered all over the living room, and no tea is prepared. We’ve also bonded that little bit more. He goes to sleep on my lap, holding my hand and I watch him breathing like I did in those first few weeks, forgetting completely that two minutes ago I was desperate for the loo. It’s strange magic this mothering thing.
When the other kids come home, we all play, and do homework and make quick bacon sarnies. We have a picnic on the lounge floor in front of the fire as it’s raining. G feels loved going to bed, and I’m so glad I can be there for him, thanks to my work.
Thinking about changing careers?
I read this blog post when I was a single mum which convinced me I could do this thing. Half of you wants to believe it’ll be amazing, and half of you will say you can’t. You can, but it is tough, long hours and everything you expect from something that can potentially be amazing.
I also looked for some books to read before taking the plunge. This beauty is £2.99 and tells you need to know about how to work around your kids:
I am an ardent reader (as you may have noticed!) and I think making notes from this book helped me make a decision whether it was the right decision for me or not. It’s a highly personalised decision. You don’t work 40 hours being self employed (more like twice that!). You don’t always get your holidays, and you definitely don’t get paid for them. But at the end of the day having days like this has taught me to be very appreciative of what I have, and how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am now.