Friday, 21 August 2015

Motherhood: Being a Girl, and making Voice work, work.

The summer holidays have got me thinking about what a great job I have, and how blessed I am to have created an environment for my children where I can be around for them all the time, and still be successful in my work. As a mother of three children, I can work from home whilst they are here too. No paying for expensive childcare, no hours spent commuting to someone else's office.  The overriding reason why Voiceover work is for me is that I choose to be first and foremost, a 24/7 mother to my children. I have chosen to work freelance and mostly from home so that I can be there for every school pick up and drop off, every school holiday. Every assembly, every Sports Day. And I know that there are many other VO girls out there, with talent and real ability, who make it work from their own studios because of the perks of the job in terms of motherhood and childcare. 

It is not to say that I don’t love my job for other reasons, because I do. I love the creative nature of my work, I love developing ongoing client relationships, I love the entrepreneurial element of my job, I love the sound of my own voice….! Yet, when I am chatting to other working mothers from more traditional type jobs at the school gate, and on play-dates, it strikes me that I am getting the balance right (or at the least, right for me. I place no judgement on other arrangements for parenting and childcare – I can only know what is best for my personal situation). I can book jobs flexibly- I can arrange ISDN sessions for when the youngest of my three children is at pre-school, and I can record any additional mp3, wav’s and material that doesn’t need direction from someone in another studio in the UK after the kids are in bed. It also leaves me the evenings for ISDN, ipDTL and Skype sessions with the US, and other places with different time zones. 
The glory of modern technology means that I can do my social network marketing whilst on the school run, I can send out quotes and invoices from my iPhone between chauffeuring my daughters to theatre school (performing runs in their blood, or so I like to think!). I can arrange coaching sessions whilst my son watches Bob the Builder, and I do the ironing. I can read blogs in between watching swimming classes, and I can do last minute short sessions whilst the fish fingers are in the oven.
In addition, I am close enough to swan into London at short notice when a face-to-face session is required in a studio, which also enables me to feel less isolated than a home booth can at times feel. And I can still be back in time for the school run.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t always plain sailing. The long school summer holidays can be a particularly tricky juggling act (fortunately Granny and Grandpa are a stones throw away in any ‘I have a session booked for 30 minutes time and the kids are WILD today’ emergencies). As they get older though, my children do understand that they need to be particularly quiet in short blasts from time to time. Bribery helps. (For those in similar situations, I have found that a packet of crisps allows me more ‘silent time’ than sweets or a chocolate bar!). Other sticky moments have been when they were young babies, and I had tight deadlines to reach, and my ‘fail-safe’ plan to record once they had GONE TO SLEEP backfired on me.  But on the whole, it works, and it works well. And increasingly, they are very proud of my work and my achievements and show off to their friends about it, which is just brilliant, to be honest.
So to other women interested in Voiceover work, that’s maybe the message I want to spread. That it can work, if you work hard enough to make it work. You can be a full time VO, and a full time stay-at-home mother. I know because I’ve been doing it successfully for years. So any of you VO girls who are lucky enough to be new mothers, wondering how on earth you can fit it all in, please know that you can, and it may just be the thing that saves your sanity during the baby years!

I provide coaching for Voiceover Artists via Skype. Visit, and let's get the ball rolling for your stay-at-home career.

1 comment:

  1. I am in awe of what you've achieved, Anna! Can I ask how many projects you did before you become self-sufficient? I started narrating just over a year ago and am now on my 12th project but the money is coming in so slowly that I might have to make a hard decision here soon. I love doing this though, and don't want to stop.