Tuesday, July 10, 2012

on working from home (part two)

Early last year we took a leap of faith and since then I have been working from home

I really struggled to step back into a professional role after I became a mum. I can be complacent and, for a while there, I meandered to and fro; should I, shouldn't I. 

Thankfully, Daniel is my greatest love and, by far, my greatest challenge. He encourages me out of my comfort zone even if I take months to budge. We talked about my degree, my portfolio of published work, my ability to write a clear, succinct sentence. And he questioned, over and over and over again, why I was so hesitant to approach editors, completely unwilling to submit story ideas.

While I didn't say it at the time, he and I both knew that I was absolutely fearful of rejection. I'm a perfectionist and idealist - I don't take failure or criticism well. I've had my fair share of "constructive criticism" in my career, soul destroying at the time but in retrospect a professional blessing.

I eventually found work - permanent writing work and the publishing company allowed me to work from home. Months later, when I was 12 weeks pregnant with Poet, Daniel left his job and decided to pursue his own business, installing home theatres. It allowed him the freedom to choose his hours and embark on an entirely new career path -  making films, not watching them. We had no idea where to start or who to talk to. But we did know that in order to make it in the film industry, he would have to work for free. Work on set, for long hours, for days on end, for free.

And that's when my words began to support my family. 

Without expecting it I stepped into one of the most empowering roles of my life. As a result I'm a much more confident woman. Daniel became a stay-at-home dad and has revelled in the opportunity to spend his days with Che before he goes to school. He has been with Poet for every day of her first year. Together we share a deeper respect for professionals and stay-at-home parents; we've done both, we get it. 

There are some weeks where it's overwhelmingly hard. Sometimes I'm overcome by mother guilt and feel torn between work and mothering. There are days when I would love to go to the park or the library but  the rush of deadline cannot be ignored. I now know the ubiquitous juggle of the professional parent.

In and around the everyday busyness Daniel has pursued what some would call a fanciful dream. I wholeheartedly believe that he'll succeed. I have never doubted him but my support has, from time to time, wavered. I am so proud of his honesty and determination yet completely bewildered by how long this may take. I like a plan and right now, nothing is for certain.

Because I'm a dreamer I often joke about being thanked in his Oscar's acceptance speech. And because he's a realist he says: "Not in this lifetime baby."


Last week Daniel left for four days to work on set in Sydney. I complained about him leaving like I usually do and he reminded me of why this is so good.

The next day I overheard Che talking to the lady in the op-shop: "My mum writes stories and teaches yoga and my dad makes movies." In the midst of all this our children are witnessing us as we work creatively. "We're doing what we love." - and that is everything. 

Photo by Tamara


  1. I have been searching and searching for this post after the original vanished as your words really resonated with me. I do love working from home, with all its attendant challenges. I am going into the office for the first time in seven years tomorrow, just for a few hours. It is going to feel like a holiday!

  2. I love that you've both gone after what you wanted, so brave. I always think that if you put it out there, it will come back to you. Our house is struggling through BOTH parents working full-time the past two weeks (and two more to go). I can't tell you how much I'm missing my little O bags this week. In fact I'm getting a little teary just thinking about it. There are so many challenges about being a working Mum, and finding the balance is so hard. I'm still looking. Kellie xx
    PS I love you and Daniel balancing each other out. But especially Che's proud comment.

  3. Jodi this post makes me take a big deep breath and start thinking of words of encouragement for myself to take a leap. Beautiful. You gotta have faith :-)

  4. Well Che's comment says it all. I admire what you're doing so much. When we moved to France to live a simpler life, a neighbour asked Scott how his soon to be born child would ever be proud of him. It angered us so much but we're here every day for the children and have stayed here supporting each other for 6 years now. Follow your dreams......xxx

  5. And you are doing a great job! You were very brave because sometimes you have to stop, make a decision and do what you love. It will always make you happier than working on something that, although more 'comfortable', is not where you feel fullfilled.
    I love how Che explained what you do. He is a special boy, you're so blessed.

  6. You really are a true inspiration Jodi. Such a beautiful lady with the sweetest of hearts. And what Che said is just awesome. xx

  7. I have wanted to go to University to become a midwife since i finished high school. That was in 1998. My fear of failing is what is holding me back (& finances!) I really hope that one day i can find the courage to take that leap of faith to pursue my dreams. I want my unborn babe to be proud of their Mumma one day.

  8. I too loved this post and was sad when it had been taken down. Why the change in title? I think being the main breadwinner is super impressive and courageous! Hats off to you guys for following your dreams. What a great way to lead by example for your kids.

  9. Hi Jodi, I too looked for the original post as it so inspired me. Not really sure why you changed it - but it's still great! Also was wondering (if it suits you only) if perhaps there is a post to be written around both the logistics of being the main breadwinner/main carer (ie how do you both organise your time) and also perhaps the emotional letting go that a mother may have to do in becoming the main breadwinner. As I said in my previous comment, I really loved and am inspired by this post - thank you!

    1. For the first time in a long time I felt like I had shared too much. I took it down, mulled over it, edited it, put it back up. I'm really proud of where we're at but not every little thing needs to be shared in this space. I think this version encapsulates the very essence of that original post...and that it what's important to me.

      Thank you for both comments Joanna...and I'll definitely consider writing about my time and emotional journey x

  10. I think it's such a fantastic thing - there must be such a sense of empowerment that comes from experiencing parallel success, both as a professional and as a mother. And I love the little juggling act you and Daniel have going on... so important to be able to bounce off each-other. You've both embraced change and are just going for it. You're in it together! Truly inspiring!

    There are so many reasons why I am embarking on a new professional journey. Finances are a big part, Paddy really dislikes the industry he works in and desperately wants to make a career change... but mostly I'm feeling a strong need to do something creative... a desire to offset being Mum with a bit of being Claire too.

    Sorry this message is a bit of a mess! You know how I feel xx

  11. Beautiful. I have worked full time for 23 years and for the first time ever I will be working from home in four weeks. I have a spring in my step and am absolutely beside myself with excitement. I don't even know how we will pay the mortgage but you know, it'll pan out. It will, I know it will.

    Great read Jodi. xo

  12. Beautiful. Best thing ever to teach and show your kids. They will grow up believing in themselves and their dreams no matter what. Inspiring Jodi xx

  13. And as I take small steps...the pressure is already overwhelming, caught between what I am and where I might be - the juggle of right and wrong..I think I need to chat to you about this. xx