Self-care Series: Doing It For The Kids founder, Frankie Tortora
At &Breathe, we're extremely passionate about our parental self-care mission. It's so important to make time for yourself in your parenting journey - self-care isn't selfish! After all if you're not at your best, how can you be at your best for those around you?
Frankie Tortora is a freelance graphic designer, mum of one and founder of Doing It For The Kids — an online (and increasingly offline!) community by and for freelance parents. Through the DIFTK blog, Instagram and closed Facebook group, Frankie gives self-employed parents a safe space to vent, share advice and experiences, and ultimately cheer each other on through the madness that can be freelance life and parenthood combined.
&B: How do you manage to balance work and life? Is it possible?!
FT: I don’t! And, at risk of barking on about the same old cliches, I really do see this working-parent thing as a juggling act where all the aspects of your life and the demands on your time are different balls and it’s just not possible to keep them all in play at once. One or more will inevitably drop at different times depending on what’s going on. If work is super busy for instance, I can kiss goodbye to the idea of having clean hair if I also want to eat decent meals and spend time with the kid. As a modern parent YES I can ‘have’ everything, just not all at once. Prioritising is an everyday life skill as a parent.
Career vs Kids
&B: Has turning freelance been the key to your professional life (and keeping sane) since having kids?
FT: Difficult to say as I was freelance for a couple of years before I had my son so I don’t know any different as a parent. But I am HUGELY grateful literally everyday to not have to commute beyond a 5-minute walk to my son’s nursery, to be able to pick and choose what projects and how many projects I take on at any time… Being freelance works for me as a person and for us a family. Fingers crossed it can continue!
&B: What do you hope to teach/pass on to your child(ren) by the way you live your life/mission with DIFTK?
FT: That mum works too. That there are infinite ways to make money. That work doesn’t have to conform to an office-based, 9-5 shaped box. That you have to go out and make your own opportunities. And that there is huge satisfaction in encouraging mutual support, camaraderie and community whether you’re making money from that experience or not.
on keeping fit
&B: How do you like to keep fit and active?
FT: Ha! I have a zero exercise regime or plan. I just have a super active, 15kg 2.5 year old and live in a top floor flat up 48 steps. I occasionally go running and do a 30 minute yoga session at home but even ‘occasionally’ is pushing it a bit.
on eating healthily
&B: What's your best foodhack secret to eating healthily?
FT: Meal planning! I take an hour or so on a sunday afternoon to plan out meals for the week and do the online shop — taking the time to do that HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Also, eating healthily and cooking meals from scratch doesn’t have to take forever if you research some killer recipes. I made a super yummy prawn linguine the other night. The sauce took less time to make than the 12 minutes it took to cook the pasta — add that kind of stuff to your repertoire.
&B: What's your favourite thing to do to relax?
FT: If I have the time (at a weekend or when we’re on holiday) and nice ingredients to play with, I do love to cook. When the monotony of HAVING TO MAKE SOMETHING is taken out the picture I find it really relaxing and enjoyable. Beyond that, I am a massive fan of a long bath, preferably with a decent podcast on the go and find singing and/or playing the piano relaxing if I can ever find the time or motivation to do it.
#1 Selfcare Tip
&B: What's your number one self-care tip for mums or dads
FT: I think realising that you don’t have to do everything all at once is key — just taking the pressure off yourself. A lot of the time, a lot of the stuff you have floating around in your head can wait. Let them wait. Prioritise the stuff that will keep you sane/make you feel more relaxed (whether that’s doing your accounts or watching a film) and take on all the other stuff when you can and are in the right headspace.