I had my children in the 90s and I was working as a freelance film editor at the time. I found it very challenging to work the long hours required and care for small children. When they were very small it was fine as I could take them to work but once they were on the move that was obviously out of the question. Breastfeeding was a matter of pumping and careful timing and stress all round. And being freelance meant that committing to expensive childcare arrangements was scary when I might not be working in a month – but couldn’t suddenly offload all the childcare.
As a consequence I backed off from my feature editing career and went back to doing TV documentary, where the hours and work were more predictable.
By the time my second child was born my writing career was getting going, although I was still editing. Although the commitment to childcare was still quite daunting with a fledgling career, I found writing was hugely better for me than editing in terms of hours and stress. I was mostly working at home, available in emergencies, flexible, could go back to work late at night or early in the morning. I felt in control rather than always being late for someone (work/child/childcare) or letting someone down.
Once the children were in full-time school life was much easier – only 7 years of scrambling then!