“Some months you are rolling like P Diddy and other months you’re waiting for invoices to be paid. So, planning and budgeting is essential.” Kelly Ford, aka Book of Mum, on life as a freelance mum…
Kelly Ford, aka ‘Book of Mum’, 37, lives with her husband Peter Bannister and their daughter Tabitha in London. She’s a comedian, radio presenter and commercial production manager.
I decided to go freelance when … entering the office listening to complete silence and just a ricochet of mouse clicks. I was like ‘get me out of here’. I jest. I realised that I had one shot to follow my dreams and aged 35, it was the best time to go for it as opposed to being 45. The 9-5 full-time commitment was not going to make the pursuit of what I really wanted possible.
This style of working suits me because … I am writing the answers to these questions in my pants in the comfort of my own home. I have freedom. Choices. I am the master of my own destiny. You get out what you put in. Wow, I should start a fridge magnet business with all these witty answers. But seriously, now as a mummy especially, it means I can have quality time mid-week with my ankle-biter and that is only possible through a freelance way of life.
The greatest challenge I face as a freelancing mother is … budgeting and the cashmoneys. Some months you are rolling like P Diddy and other months you’re waiting for invoices to be paid. So, planning and budgeting is essential. It is something I am not good at so am working on.
Secondly, childcare. I have a local childminder/boutique nursery who have been extremely amazing and have enabled me to choose days depending on my engagements. But, they can’t always accommodate – so then I have to employ freelance nannies, as don’t have family locally. So, getting the right childcare in place when you have deadlines or long stints of work is always a challenge.
In three words, being a freelance mum is … PLEASURABLE, CHALLENGING, EXCITING.
If I could change anything about my work/life balance it would be … Biiiiiiig question. In truth, I have in the past sometimes over done it. Taken on too much. The diary is bursting. A combination of production jobs, comedy, radio, work commitments, the odd panel talk, getting Toddler T’s shoes fitted, do the shopping, change the nappy, sort the childcare, make money, tidy the house, be sexy on a Friday night, phone your pals, remember the birthdays, you get me??!!
The balance is always in flux. I am now trying to be more realistic as to what one human can achieve in a week. Work out the down time, the ‘me’ time. As that is as important as all of the productivity. Otherwise I emerge from any given job looking like a drowned exhausted scrotum in a wig. No one wants that look The Early Hour, do they?
As a freelance mum, I work … every month varies. Some months I will work every day on a production job. Some months 5-8 days. My radio show on Soho Radio is bi-weekly, “Sex, Lives and Videotapes”. I have a new radio show coming soon (exciting) – that is a monthly edition called The Everything Project. As a stand-up I am often out in the evenings, which is great as I am able to get T ready for bed and then by the time Pete – aka Book of Dad – is home from work, he can do story-time and she is in bed by the time I have a mic in my hand in a basement in Dalston.
I do my freelance work from … production – office and then on location/studio. Radio – dans le studio. Stand up/panels/presenting – all over town.
What I miss about office work is … community. But in truth, I do get my hit of that when I work with some of my favourite production companies. It is like I am that ‘special’ cousin being welcomed back over Christmas Lunch and that feels real nice.
My freelance life would be a whole lot better if I … used our shared family Google calendar correctly so everyone is in the know in terms of movements, plans, childcare arrangements etc. This is actually going to be a mantra now for me. I am going to repeat it in the mirror in a moment. Maybe light an incense stick too, to properly reinforce it.
On the whole, being a freelance mum is … a privilege.