So I’ve been mulling something over. How much, if any, time should I try to take off after the baby’s born?
With my last full-time job and my last pregnancy, the company offered something like 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave, so it was pretty well-established what would be available. This time, I’m the boss, so I get to decide. But how to decide? A freelancer’s schedule is such that if you’re not working, you’re not only not making any money, you’re probably not making any progress on making any future money, too. I don’t want to be a total cliche and say “you snooze (even for a well-deserved nap after going through childbirth), you lose” but well…
I have told one client for whom I’m working on an ongoing project to give me a couple of weeks to recuperate, and they said sure. I told them that they could certainly call me or email me during that time, but I probably wouldn’t have a lot of energy to spare to get actual work done during that time, and they were completely understanding. But what if a great assignment comes along? Do I take it? Do I take it and potentially risk failing because I’m so darn exhausted? Do I take it and ask for a longer amount of time to work on it? Do I politely and regretfully decline while I take some time to recover from having a baby? Do I take the assignment and pound it out, no matter what? And what if I don’t get any assignments? Should I just be glad for a break or should I be worried about the future? Should I try to carve out some time to send out more queries and pitch stories to editors? Is it realistic to think I’d be able to even do that two or four or six weeks postpartum? Would it be fair to my family, especially my new baby and my three-year-old who will already be reeling from the change to our family, to try to do real work really soon? Will this annoying carpal tunnel syndrome finally go away so I can type for longer periods of time again?
What does maternity leave for the self-employed look like?
I have no idea. But I’ve been thinking about it….