With the pressures of being a work-from-home mum, Frankie Tortora – of Doing it for the Kids – needs to regularly remind herself to slow down, breathe… and then continue. Here, she shares her start-of-the-week thoughts…
Frankie Tortora is a graphic designer and founder of parenting/freelancing website Doing it for the Kids. She lives with her partner and their young son in north London…
Monday Morning Mantra…
Keep on, keeping on
Because as a self-employed parent who is full of ideas, has an endless list of projects I’d like to start but zero time and endless childcare challenges, I need to remember to just keep on doing what I’m doing. To take things slowly. To keep on, keeping on and eventually — I’ll get there.
What do you tend to be doing first thing on a Monday?
My parents look after my kid on a Monday from 10am, so — if my work schedule will allow it — the first part of the day is spent hanging out with him: watching some beebies in our pants, throwing some cornflakes all over the living room rug, that kind of thing.
He is now beginning to have more concentrated periods of play on his own. PHEW.
There are parts of the year though where I work full days for particular clients and need to be at my desk at 9am. In which case, I setup all the toys, lay out a buffet of snacks and pray he can amuse himself for an hour. Until very recently that has been a hugely challenging way to start the week but he is now beginning to have more concentrated periods of play on his own. PHEW.
How do you feel?
Despite potential for massive overwhelm (and that does happen sometimes) I tend to feel pretty optimistic on a Monday morning. The first half of the week (mon-wed) I have some kind of childcare so I feel like I’ve got a millennia’s worth of time ahead of me and am excited about all that I could achieve if things go OK.
Of course, I then blink, it’s 3pm on Wednesday, my to-do-list is longer than when I started the week and I’m like, “er… what just happened?!”
What’s the first thing you do after getting out of bed?
I say I work for myself but I actually have a three-foot boss permanently living in my flat, so my mornings tend to be dictated by him. His first demand when he gets out of bed at the moment tends to be one of two things – “AI FREEM” (translation: ice cream, not gonna happen) or “TRAAAINS”.
So, the kettle goes on while I setup a small track for him to play with. Even on childcare days we manage to squeeze in some train time before he goes out for the day. He. Is. Obsessed.
Tell us about Doing it for the Kids…
Doing It For The Kids is a passion project that I run alongside my day job as a graphic designer. It’s about bringing together a community of like-minded freelance and self-employed parents. Working for yourself can be hugely isolating – as can having children – so DIFTK is about making sure freelance parents know that they are not alone, that they’re doing a great job and that there are loads of other parents out there coping with the exact same challenges that come with working for yourself.
In terms of how people can get involved, there’s a blog where freelance parents share stories, an Instagram account where I chat openly about my challenges juggling parenthood and freelance life, and a closed Facebook group where parents can freely connect, collaborate and share information.
I’ve worked from the dining room table, a corner of our living room (you know the drill) but thankfully I do now have a dedicated workspace
Where do you spend your working hours?
My laptop is kaput at the moment, and I just don’t ever seem to be able to justify the cost to fix it, so I’m pretty tied to my desk. But to be honest, that tends to be the case anyway just because of the nature of my job. I often deal with large files, it’s easier to design with a big screen etc. so life revolves around my iMac.
In the past I’ve worked from the dining room table, a corner of our living room (you know the drill) but thankfully I do now have a dedicated workspace in our flat; a small but perfectly formed little office space where I can shut the door at the end of the day. When you’re a freelancing parent, setting boundaries for yourself and your family around when and where you work is really important so this has had a really positive impact.
What one thing would improve your Monday-Friday?
Probably getting that laptop of mine fixed. It would make such a difference to my state of mind if I could just head out to a café or sit downstairs in our communal garden for a bit while I answer emails or edit Doing It For The Kids stuff. Note to self: suck up the cost and sort laptop out!
What gets you through the week?
Caffeine. Beebies. A genuine love for my job. And the ever-awesome advice, camaraderie and support I get from running Doing It For The Kids.
If you could wake up anywhere next Monday, where would it be?
In my bed. Sun streaming in through the windows. No work on the agenda. Fridge full. Money in my bank account. And kid in a good mood. Perfection.