There are countless potential benefits of being a freelancer, and the list increases if you have a spouse and children sharing the experience with you. Many, like me, are lucky enough to work from home and get to experience family life intertwined with their work on a daily basis. However, I have learned that if I don’t make a concentrated and consistent effort to seize this opportunity, it can be very easy to miss the moments that matter most.
In this post, I will share my personal declarations of my commitment to my family in my freelancing business with the hope that my manifesto will encourage you to create your own. Shouldn’t we all be giving the best of ourselves to our loved ones?
My Family Will Always Come First
Quite simply, nothing and no one is more important to me than my family. Therefore I will:
- Make it very clear to my clients that this value is a primary element of my business. Yes, clients are important, but they will never come before my family.
- Drop everything when I am needed by my spouse and/or children. Everything.
- Commit to eating meals together as a family.
- Schedule family outings, events and trips as priorities, before I schedule meetings and seminars and other business functions.
I Will Keep My Marriage Healthy
This should be a given, but I’ve learned that once I take something for granted, it gets less proactive attention. Therefore I will:
- Make time for romantic evenings, getaways, lunch dates and whatever else we can both make happen on a regular basis. And often.
- Make sure my spouse feels valued, loved, respected and appreciated. Always.
- Take full advantage of the freedom and control I have over my own work schedule and utilize it to create opportunities for time with my spouse that I otherwise would not be able to do.
- Be present. Not just physically, but completely present, even when I’m working.
I Will Pour Myself into My Children
My eldest daughter moved out of the house and started college this year. Nothing has ever had a more profound impact on my awareness of how little time I have with my kids and how quickly it disappears. Thankfully, freelancing gives me more than average opportunities to spend my days and nights with them. Therefore I will:
- Never consider them an interruption or a distraction. Never.
- Stop working when they come home from school and catch up on their day with them.
- Interact with them even as I am working, but never with divided attention.
- Communicate clearly to them the times that I must focus on work instead of them, and explain why (deadlines, phone calls, etc.) so they understand they are still more important than the work itself.
- Seize every opportunity to offer help, advice, encouragement, and anything else they need from their parents.
- Make their school and social calendars as much a priority for me as they are for them.
- Take a genuine interest in everything that they are interested and involved in.
- Do everything I can to contribute to their progression toward becoming the best possible person they can be.
I Will Keep Myself Healthy and Sane
I have a responsibility to my family to be the best me I can be. If I burn out mentally or physically, the rest of my commitments to my family will suffer as well. Therefore I will:
- Exercise regularly, eat right, and do all of the things that are required for living a long, healthy and physically productive life.
- Take time off. Yes, actually disconnect and spend time away from work. I love what I do, but if it’s all I do then I will be of no good use to anyone else.
- Schedule “me” time doing things I enjoy.
These are many of the things that are working for me and my family. I don’t claim perfection, but so far I am enjoying 21 years of marriage and 3 amazing kids, so I know it’s working for me. What are some of the elements that make up your own personal manifesto for freelancing and your family? If you haven’t yet made one, would you consider doing it now? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.