“I felt frustrated as I was working part-time in employed roles to fund the rest of my week, where I was pursuing music,” says Rosie Adediran, aka Mama Sings. So she bravely quit the office job and went full-time as a singer and musical workshop leader…
Rosie Adediran, 33, lives in Hackney with her husband, Rob, and their two-year-old son Otis. She’s a freelance vocal animateur – a singer who leads music projects with groups of people, mostly in singing and the creation of new music/songs. Recently she developed a real interest in the role of singing for under twos, their parents and the relationship between them.
I decided to go freelance when … I realised that my limit for any ’employed’ job I had was 10 months. Every time! I felt frustrated as I was working part-time in employed roles to fund the rest of my week, where I was pursuing music. I was making money just to fund a passion project rather than making work something that was both fulfilling and profitable. The last time I quit a job, I made myself vow to never go back to employment, and to focus on making my job something I found fulfilling and which also paid the bills. For me, this meant shifting the focus and becoming fully freelance.
This style of working suits me because … I’m in control of my workload, and I’m my own boss. This suits me well. Though these are both a blessing and a curse. But for me the positives outweigh the negatives. I also love the flexibility of being able to do nursery pickups, and have quality time with my son during the week.
The greatest challenge I face as a freelancing mother… to be honest, I could write a lot on this subject. I (probably like every other freelance mum) struggle with never having enough TIME. Not enough time to work in between drop-offs and pickups, yet still not enough quality time with my bubba. Never enough time! I’m also pretty exhausted a lot of the time (I’m sure you relate) and evenings are a bit of a write-off for me work-wise.
So whereas I used to really pack it in with multiple sessions a day, admin in the evening, etc etc, now I just don’t have the same capacity. I also think that, in the world of Instagram, where it’s easy to think that some mums have it all – wonderfully photographic families, beautiful homes, holidays coming out their ears, successful businesses and seemingly endless supplies of nice outfits, it’s easy to compare yourself and feel like a failure if you’re somewhere quite different. Just making ends meet, leaving the house in your charity shop best, with your toddler’s breakfast in your hair.
In three words, being a freelance mum is … emotional, yet empowering and energising.
If I could change anything about my work /life balance, it would be … to feel more chilled about the work-life balance I’ve worked hard to create. I’m generally really happy with the amount that I work, and lucky to be able to also spend a good chunk of time with my son. It’s so easy to feel guilty or dissatisfied, and much less easy to give yourself some credit, a good pat on the back and to chill out a bit.
As a freelance mum, I work … three days a week – two are nursery days so I do the sort of 9-5 hours that drop-off and pick-up allows, and then our son spends the other day with his dad, which is great and gives me a bit more flexibility to work late or take an evening session. I spend Thursdays and Fridays with our son.
I do my freelance work … at different locations depending on the project I’m working on. They’ll usually be weekly sessions at say a children’s centre, a school or a drop-in. For example, I’m currently leading a singing project for Breathe Arts Health Research for women struggling with post-natal depression or anxiety.
I’m also leading a project called ‘London Rhymes‘, a project with a focus on reinventing the nursery rhyme – writing brand new songs with parents for them to use with their children in everyday life. Or I’m working on producing/writing songs (like this lullaby edit) and developing new projects under ‘Mama Sings’. I also sometimes do one-off workshops at the Southbank Centre or Wigmore Hall.
I also do performance based projects, like a theatre piece I was in recently which was for under 3’s and which we performed in libraries across Suffolk. If I don’t have a project on, I’ll work from home or a local cafe.
The only thing I miss about office work is … the company. I know I probably wear rose-tinted spectacles, but I do miss the community that comes from seeing a group of people everyday, sharing experiences, and working towards common goals.
My freelance life would be a whole lot better … without my twice-yearly ‘freelance freakouts’. These can be down to a number of factors: not being offered enough work, not having work in the diary for the next 6/12 months, not achieving what I’d hoped to by now, not earning enough £££, comparing my achievements with others, losing confidence in the work I do. Any or all of the above. The freelance freakout generally lasts a few days, and then I’m fine again, and all is well.
On the whole, being a freelance mum is … a bit of rollercoaster ride, but for me the only way to live. Despite the challenges, I’m grateful that I love what I do, that someone pays me for something I’m passionate about, and that I can balance it with family life.