Since starting this series at the beginning of the year I’ve had some guest posts from some fabulous ladies. Everyone involved has been amazing, especially as we all know how hard it is to juggle everything.
This week’s guest blogger is Monica from The Travel Hack, and she has my absolute dream job!
Tell us a bit about yourself…
Hi, I’m Monica. I’m 29 and I live in North Wales with my partner, our kids and our dog. I have two little boys, George (2) and Joseph (8 months).
What line of work are you in?
I’m a travel blogger and I run a blog called The Travel Hack. It’s one of the UK’s leading travel blogs and I now have a team of 6 other writers who contribute. I work with tourism boards, travel brands, airlines and hotels and I literally travel the world and I blog about it.
Now that I have children they often come with me and they’re going to be little jet setters! I used to travel far and wide with a typical month seeing me travel to Barbados to Berlin, Barcelona to Budapest. These days I usually take 1-2 trips a month and try to only be away for a night or two so I don’t take many long-haul trips.
How many hours per day do you work?
It really varies! I love working for myself as I can pick and choose when and where I work. Joseph only recently started nursery so I was working for about 3 hours per day while he napped. But July has been really busy so both of the boys are in nursery full time. But then August is fairly quiet so I’ll just be working 2 days a week. When I’m really busy I also work during the evenings but I try to avoid this as much as possible. My aim is to work about 2.5 days a week until both of the boys are in school. I never work weekends because I need some time to relax and chill with my partner and friends.
Who looks after your kids while you work?
They go to nursery. The both love nursery, and I love it too because I know they’re so well cared for. The only downside to nursery is that it isn’t that flexible so I have to plan in advance and give them at least one month’s notice if I need to up their hours or cut back on days. It often means they’re booked into nursery and I have to pay for it when they don’t really need to be there, but that’s just the way it goes. Sometimes they go to nursery just so I can clean the house, do the shopping and go to the gym in peace!
Are you in the same job as before you had children?
Yes. Part of the reason I started working for myself as a blogger was for the flexibility that I knew would come in handy once I had kids! I started working for myself 3 years before I had kids. I didn’t plan everything meticulously but it all fell into place at the right times.
My job has changed a little and I now focus more on family travels rather than adventure travel. I also have a small team of writers who contribute to my blog so there’s more admin and managing other people than there used to be.
How quickly did you return to work after having children?
I didn’t really stop! I was terrible actually and was checking my emails even when I was in the hospital after having both babies!
I love my work so it never feels like a chore to sit down with my laptop and write a blog post or two. I find it really therapeutic and relaxing so I think I would have gone crazy if I’d stopped completely.
The early days with a new baby are so special, but they do sleep a lot so those first few months were actually a perfect opportunity to do some work for an hour or two each day. I was able to cut back to about 10-12 hours per week for the first 6 months and this allowed me to keep things ticking over so it wasn’t too much of a mess when I properly returned.
Did you want to return to work?
Yes, 100%! But it definitely makes it easier that I can pick my own hours and scale back when I need to. I couldn’t wait to get back to travelling.
What are the hardest things about being a working mum?
To be honest, for me, it would be harder to not work. Working is, weirdly, my time to relax and recharge and have some grown up conversations. It’s time to use my brain in a different way and work on projects that aren’t child related!
I really love having about 4 days a week with my kids, but 7 days a week is exhausting! I have so much respect for mums who stay at home with their kids because it’s a tough job.
Sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode because I have so much to think about, to plan and to organise but it’s getting easier the more I do it.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
Because I’m not with my kids 24/7 I really enjoy the time I am with them. I treasure it and appreciate our days together in a way that I didn’t when they didn’t go to nursery.
What are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
Missing my babies! Because I travel for work I often need to go away for a few days at a time. Usually, it’s about 2-3 days so this is OK but any longer than 4 days and I miss them like crazy. When George was 14 months old I took a 10 day trip to Montana and I missed him like crazy – to the point where it actually ruined my trip so I won’t take such long trips anymore.
Do you have any tips for other working mums?
Don’t be afraid to work for yourself. I knew I wanted to work for myself but I had no idea working for myself would be such a huge bonus when I had children. And I had no idea being a blogger could be so amazing too.
As a blogger, a lot of my income is through affiliate sales – where I earn a small commission on every sale made through my website. It’s not a huge amount but it’s enough to pay my mortgage and bills. And this is what’s called ‘passive income’ where I earn money without having to do anything. Once these affiliate sales are set up, they continue to bring in money without me having to maintain them. So this meant I could afford to cut back my hours without any financial worries. I could actually take a year off without even opening my laptop and I’d still be getting paid.
So this has been the biggest bonus and is something I recommend to any couples who are planning on having a family in the future. If you have a blog, start taking it seriously now and get it to a level where it can pay your bills when you’re ready to have kids.
A big thanks to Monica for her guest blog post, definitely an inspirational one for me this week!
Monica also runs an e-course called The Blogger Course which is aimed at anyone who wants to grow their blog and turn it into a career, or a nice little side business. Check it out if this is something you’re interested in. And of course check our Monica’s blog The Travel Hack too.