What has 2020 taught us?

And why I'm looking ahead to a brighter New Year

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I started this newsletter at the beginning of the pandemic. June the 8th to be exact. With redundancies being announced left right and centre and freelance budgets being frozen for the forseeble, I felt that I was losing control. I had no idea how Covid-19 was going to affect the precious freelance business I had spent years honing, and I wanted something to help me feel anchored while offering me focus and connection.

It’s hard to believe that this newsletter is now seven months old and the world is in a very different place to when I started publishing. During that time, I’ve written about everything from the comparison trap and the dangers of toxic scrolling on social media, to imposter syndrome, self-sabotage, staying courageous when the chips are down, and my own experience of IVF and a miscarriage during lockdown. I’ve gone from 20 followers to nearly 500, and my audience is growing every day. Hello to all who recently joined on the back of my advert in Sian Meades’ Freelance Writing Jobs newsletter. I’m so happy to have you here.

There is no doubt that 2020 has been challenging in so many different ways. As freelance parents we’ve had to find new ways of working during long stints without childcare, separated from grandparents, friends and family members. Our support network was well and truly dismantled not to mention the loss of those basic things that help us stay happy and connected to other parents such as soft plays and baby groups. And who knew how much they valued a coffee, hug and a catchup until they weren’t allowed to do it anymore?

In hindsight, I’ve learned a lot about freelancing too. I’ve learned that when the worst happens such as losing a major client, I will survive. It will feel like the end of the world at the time, but with some hard work and determination, I will manage to fill that hole with something else.

I’ve also learned that the amount of work I do and the amount of money I earn does not, and should not, define me. Freelancing is a rollercoaster so attaching so much of my self-esteem to my accomplishments is not good or healthy - especially during a pandemic when work went quiet for many of us. Finding other creative outlets such as The Freelance Parent and finding a wonderful charity to volunteer for, will help me to realise this. If nothing else, the pandemic has helped me re-establish my values.

I’ve also learned that the most valuable relationships and friendships are not hindered by  a pandemic – only strengthened – and that new meaningful connections can be made in all kinds of ways, including writing a newsletter. I’ve loved meeting (albeit virtually) so many incredible freelance parents over the past few months and featuring their stories, not to mention all of the experts who have added their insight to my newsletters from week to week. I’ve also loved hearing from subscribers and freelance parents such as Annie Philips who open this newsletter each week from all the way in India. Funny how our day-to-day challenges are all so similar even when we’re on different sides of the globe, and that Peppa Pig prevails in all languages and cultures.

I’m so excited for what’s to come in 2021 and have plenty of great content coming up for the New Year. We’ll be starting January off with a bang with an interview with the amazing Joeli Brearley of Pregnant Then Screwed, an organisation that has tirelessly pioneered for the rights of mothers throughout the pandemic. There will also be an eye-opening newsletter written by Jess Morris - current TFP intern - who will be sharing her experience of being a student parent during the pandemic.

But until then, I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off and ready for what I hope will be a much brighter year for us all. I’ll still be posting within The Freelance Parent Facebook group, so please feel free to share your thoughts, worries, and wins over there in the meantime. New subscribers, you have a whole seven months to keep you going in the archive so I hope you enjoy all the past newsletters in there.

Thank you so much for your support and I wish you all a happy and restful Christmas.

Until next time,

Cat x

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