I tried something incredibly brave today.
Over the last few months, I have been getting more and more freelance work. To the point that throughout most of May and June I was working most evenings and weekends and I called in at least half a dozen favours (or paid visits) for babysitting so that I could go to daytime meetings or events.
Just last week, a new client wanted to meet with me and a friend oh-so-kindly added my kids to hers for two and half hours so that I could drive downtown, meet him and show off my portfolio (now hopefully that'll result in new work in the future).
All of this work has been great and I'm really happy with the way business is going, but it has got me seriously thinking about looking into part-time daycare options in the fall. Just so that I have some daytime hours to myself to work or meet and I'm not constantly working in the evenings.
I sure hadn't thought I'd be in this position when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom.
Which brings me to today's incredibly brave, blurred line adventure.
One of my clients wanted to meet to discuss the next phase of a project we've been working on for months and I couldn't get a sitter. All of my regular sitter's are on vacation or working and at a certain point, favour-asking wears thin..
So, I asked my client if she would mind if the kids joined us while we talked. And, since she's that kind of person (and has two kids of her own), she agreed to meet me at a café in Leslieville called lil' bean n' green.
Why that place? Well I found it online and chose it because it's a café and play place. And true to it's name, there are tables and expresso -- and beyond a little fence is a climbing structure, toys and books for the kids.
So while mom sits and talks the kids can run around and avoid being bored by the conversation.
I was pretty nervous heading into this meeting because it could've gone either way -- the kids could've been completely independent and left me alone or they could've decided that they don't want to play unless mommy joins them.
Thankfully, it went brilliantly and the kids played for an ENTIRE HOUR while I met with my client. They played nicely and even participated in the song and story time, led by one of the moms, without me. And yes, it wasn't exactly the quietest place to meet, but it allowed me to do two things at the same time -- be a self-employed professional and a stay-at-home mom. And it also made me realize that my kids are far more independent than I realized.
By the time my client left, it was almost noon so I rewarded the kids for being so good by buying them lunch there. The food prices weren't bad although it was more than I would normally spend on lunch for the kids.
I would definitely consider pulling this stunt again, with the right type of client. Or, when I'm really stretched thin for time, I'd consider bringing a laptop, sitting down with a cup of coffee and getting an hour's worth of work done while the kids play.
Now I just need to buy a laptop.