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"I went back to work 6 days after my baby was born."

Sarah went back to work 6 days after her baby was born

 

By SARAH MEGGINSON

When I saw Claire Danes “back at work” (if you can call it that) just a few weeks after giving birth to her little boy, I was judging her a little.

Admittedly, she wasn’t working in any sense that us mere mortals could relate to – she was trotting along red carpets and collecting gold statues for her work on Homeland.

But from what I’ve seen on The Rachel Zoe Project, ‘Awards Season’ in Hollywood is a pretty big deal. There are endless fittings and stylists’ appointments to run between, hair and make-up sessions to sit through, red carpets to walk, photos to pose for, interviews to attend, acceptance speeches to give… All in all, it’s a lot of time and energy focused on something other than your brand new baby.

Honestly, I could imagine nothing worse. A month after I had my baby girl, I was a sore, tender, aching, bleeding (TMI?!), healing pile of hormones, barely capable of full sentences, let alone red carpet appearances in front of global cameras. All I wanted to do was stare at my baby, eat cupcakes and sleep.

Just recently, I was flicking through a magazine and saw a photo of Claire Danes from the Golden Globes a few months ago (looking absolutely bloody spectacular, just five weeks after delivering her baby Cyrus!) and I’m ashamed to admit, I thought a few mean-spirited, judgemental thoughts.

“Why would you bother with the Golden Globes when you have a one-month old baby at home?” I wondered.

“Why didn’t she try to ‘switch off’ from work and focus on her baby for those first few weeks and months?”

Claire Danes.

And while I sat up there on my high horse, judging Claire for seemingly putting her career ahead of her kid, I pondered my own situation.

That’s when I realised that I actually went back to work a little sooner than Claire… I wrote my first article post-partum when my daughter was just six days old! Pot, meet kettle, you’re in this together…

I’m a freelance writer, so it’s not like I headed back to the office for a full day of brain-weary work, Marissa Mayer style. I only spent 90 minutes at the computer to whip up a column and for that investment of time, I earnt $250.

My newborn was asleep in the next room with my mum and my husband, and I worked in my pyjamas. It was a pretty good set-up and an experience I would definitely replicate again, given half the chance (sadly for me, that column was cancelled a while ago!).

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The reality is that for some women, going back to work after having a baby is a fact of life. For some, it’s about maintaining a sense of value and worth that is separate to parenting, and for others, it’s not so much a choice as a financial necessity.

One of my girlfriends has a fantastic corporate career that she loves, but she knows that when the time comes, her workplace will allow her three months maternity leave, tops. Another friend has just reluctantly placed her five-month-old baby into care full-time, so she can return to her job: she’s a mechanic and the role is 8am-4pm, five days, no negotiating.

When I chat with friends about the whole concept of work and parenting and somehow balancing the two, I’m always reminded of how incredibly lucky I am. In my job as a freelance writer, I work flexible hours and spend oodles of time with my daughter – it feels like I get the best of both worlds because I get personal satisfaction and fulfilment from my work, but I also spend a few days a week painting and baking and playing dolls and dinosaurs with my daughter.

Click here to get your copy of How to Make Money by Working From Home.

I’m fortunate to work with loads of different clients on a whole range of writing jobs, from magazine articles and features to business reports and books. But my most exciting project to date is now launching: my first book!!

I’ve been a professional writer and journalist for over a decade, and a full-time freelancer for five years, and through trial and error (and picking up tips from mentors and clients along the way), I’ve developed a bunch of different strategies and systems for managing my career, working from home, growing my business and earning great money by doing what I love.

For the last 12 months, I’ve been busily working with the team at Mamamia to put together a book on this very topic! Created for freelancers and wanna-be freelancers from all walks of life, it’s packed with all of the advice, tips and strategies that I’ve cobbled together over the years. I am beyond excited and can’t wait to share it with everyone!

You can learn more about the book here.

Sarah Megginson is a freelance writer and editor who works from home on the Gold coast. She’s written a complete step-by-step guide on how you can make money by working from home.

If you’re anything like 94% of survey respondents said that they would give up part of their salary if it meant they could work from home, work more flexible hours or even work less hours then check out the book: www.workfromhomestepbystep.com.au.

When did you return to work after having your baby… and when would you have LIKED to return to work?

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