How to keep writing for business when you’ve got Baby Brain…

In this article we welcome freelance blogger and copywriter Ariel Rule, from Portland, Oregon, who shares how she keeps her business writing show on the road despite having a newborn plus a toddler to distract her from creating those magical words. Lady writers with kids, you will remember this challenge well.

How to keep writing for business when you've got Baby Brain...

Are you a new Mom with Baby brain? Don’t take on more than you can handle, says Ariel Rule.

Despite my having participated in a conference call about a marketing campaign proposal while en route to hospital in labour with my son, once he had emerged into the world some hours later my brain turned to mashed potatoes and I have been struggling to fix that ever since. (My son is now 23.)

Here’s how Ariel is coping…plus some very useful advice on how you ladies who write for a living – or who have to write for business – can cope for yourselves. 

Pregnancy Brain. Momma Brain. Baby Brain.

Call it whatever you like, but every mom I’ve ever talked to has dealt with it on some level. It’s that type of mental fog that drifts in during the day and keeps you feeling a little bit, blah. And it has no intention of going away any time soon.

And why wouldn’t you be feeling out of sorts? It’s not like you’re growing another human or something. I mean, that has to be easy, right?

Even after your little one has arrived, all your hormones are still out of whack, sleep is something that is now only a precious privilege, and you still can’t manage to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes (ugh!)

I can say all this because I speak from Baby Brain experience

In my case, I’ve had Baby Brain for a few years. My elder son will be three this summer, and my second son isn’t even a month old yet. Therefore, you would be right in assuming that I haven’t slept much in the past three years. And that’s something that can really gum up the works when you’re both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom.

I mean, it’s one thing for me to forget to move the laundry over to the dryer after a day of sitting in the washer and stinking it up. But when I get my days mixed up and come close to missing a deadline, that’s when things get frustrating. Think that’s bad?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve left the house and asked myself, “Did I forget to turn off the stove?” (Yikes!)

Dealing with a lack of sleep, fluctuating hormones, and the occasional feeling of cabin fever is all part of being a stay-at-home Baby Brain momma. But since I also run a writing and web design business with more than one moving part, there are times where it can all feel like a bit much.

Being a business writer as a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM)

When I first started out doing freelance business writing, I often read articles about how stay-at-home moms couldn’t be successful business writers because their attention would get split in too many directions.

It was a little disheartening to read those types of posts, but it didn’t keep me from pursuing my dreams of writing for business. Personally, I don’t put a lot of stock into what others consider what does and does not make someone successful.

If I can work a little bit, help pay a few bills or buy groceries and still be able to stay home with my kids, then I consider that a success.

In fact, the month before my youngest was born, I was able to make $5,000 just from my freelance writing.

However, I can attest to the fact that it’s not easy. And it’s even harder with a newborn.

But, nothing is impossible. Since I have another little guy, it wasn’t such a shock to my brain to start working again after my youngest was born. (I was back home and writing for clients about four days after having him.)

Yeah, I’ve had a bit of practice to deal with this crazy life of mine. So, if you’re struggling to rein in the days as a mom who also happens to work from home, just know that you’re not alone.

[ctt title=”Here are a few tips that I live by to help keep my sanity and keep my business writing clients happy.” tweet=”Here are a few tips that I live by to help keep my sanity and keep my business writing clients happy.” coverup=”oj8Fc”]

1. Don’t take on more business writing than you can handle

I tend to get quite a few leads from potential clients looking to hiring me for my writing services. It’s very tempting to accept all this work that comes my way since the pay is rather good, and hey, who couldn’t use that extra money, right?

However, I find that I turn down quite a bit of it.

My kids come before my work. If I think that the extra assignments will take away from me being able to take care of them and give them all the attention they need and deserve, then I turn it down.

Also, trying to juggle a lot of business writing work and deadlines while taking care of 2 little ones when I’m home alone means that my work will suffer.

Have you ever tried to proofread and edit a 2,000-word article with Peppa Pig playing in the background while a newborn is crying, and a there is 3-year-old tugging on your shirt begging you to play?

It’s impossible to get any work done with all of that happening at once. By not taking on more than I can reasonably handle, I feel a little bit more relaxed about my work load since I know I don’t have to rush to get things done.

2. Plan out your day ahead of time

It’s too hard to try and get work done when you have too much to do and only so much time to do it in. Attempting to just wing it is going to wind you up forgetting several things — most of which were too important to forget in the first place.

Instead, take a few minutes each day or at the beginning of your week to plan out what needs to get done the following day(s).

Include everything that needs to get done. Laundry, dishes, paying bills, business writing deadlines, dinners for the week — the works.

After that, prioritize what’s most important on that list and aim to get those done in the best order that you can think of. If you have too much mommy stuff that gets in the way before you can finish the less important things, no worries. Just move them to another day.

Wiggle room in your plans is extremely helpful and can keep you from getting stressed out when things just don’t go as planned.

3. Take a walk. Eat chocolate. Drink wine.

Moms are notoriously stubborn, and I proudly add myself to that list. However, that pride often needs to get pushed aside to make room for a little mommy time.

If you let stress, sleep deprivation and all the backlash that comes with Baby Brain take over your life, it will cripple you and spill over into your work.

So be sure to take some time to unwind and give your mind, body and Baby Brain a little break.

Everyone needs an outlet — preferably one that gets you outside and moving around. If you can, try to take a walk or do something active at least a couple times a week. I know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. You’d be amazed how mentally refreshing a bit of fresh air can be.

Take a long bubble bath after the kids are asleep. Snuggle up with your favorite mystery novel and a nice glass of Merlot before bed. Splurge on chocolate and binge watch Doctor Who. Go to the spa and have a relaxing day.

Granted, you probably don’t want to do all of this in a single day, but my point remains the same: take some time for yourself.

You are not Superwoman (or Superman, in case there happen to be any SAHDs with Baby Brain). As much as we moms (and dads) would love to claim that we are indestructible, we’re still very human.

[ctt title=”You can’t do it all, and once you recognize that taking the occasional siesta is quite all right, then things have a way of getting much easier.” tweet=”You can’t do it all, and once you recognize that taking the occasional siesta is quite all right, then things have a way of getting much easier.” coverup=”3793W”]

How do you do it?

Truth be told, working from home with two small kids is a lot harder than I thought it’d be. I’ve had to cut back on work and focus on my family, which I am completely happy doing. However, I still have work I need to take care of, and I often have to remind myself that I need a little me time.

Do I have all the answers? Nope. Do I have a lot to learn? You bet your giddy aunt I do. I’ve found a few things that help me deal with this crazy, hectic, beautiful life I live, but I’m still learning.

Any working stay-at-home moms or dads out there? Have you found anything that has helped you deal with balance work and life? I’d love to hear what’s working for you.

How to keep writing for business when you've got Baby Brain

Ariel Rule

Ariel Rule is a copywriter and freelance blogger for hire.

She enjoys copious amounts of coffee, eating too many cookies and watching way too much TV.

(She also happens to be an enormous geek with a love for all things nerdy.) Follow her on Google+

top photo credit: via photopin (license)

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