This past weekend I did my tax. I've never been this organised before but thanks to Daniel's encouragement I set aside a few hours to add up invoices and create a spreadsheet of my deductions (I usually just write the figures on a piece of paper but, well, spreadsheets are somewhat satisfying).
I had a rough idea of what I'd earned but when I added the figures I realised this financial year has been a big one for me. In fact, it's my most successful year to date, made even sweeter because I did it with three children in tow. As I was simultaneously patting myself on the back and dreading the imminent tax bill, I started thinking about what made this year different from those previous.
I had more work opportunities arise which I embraced, of course. But underlying ever single job I took on was one intention:
Value my time and reflect that value in my quotes.
Mid-last year I came to realise that if I didn't value my time, no one else would. It was a revelation because I admit, in the past I've been a bit of a push-over. Most of my business quotes and decisions have been dictated by fear and doubt. I have always questioned my ability to write the story and take the photo and I so desperately wanted to work that I often underquoted myself.
But this year was different. Perhaps its the self-belief that naturally comes in your thirties or the fact that with three children to care for my free time is minimal and therefore, incredibly precious. If I was going to spend time doing work, being away from my family or squeezing work time into a series of ungodly hours during the day and night, I needed to be paid accordingly.
But this isn't just about time and money. For me, it's about self-awareness, self-respect and self-care - recognising that I am valuable and that my work is valuable. It's a natural progression from knowing my limits; prioritising my wellbeing, respecting my skills and considering the whole picture before I say "yes!".
It's a relief to reach this stage as a working mother.
Feel free to share your thoughts, I'd love to know we're you're at.