with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
This weekend the kids and I took a day to lounge around in our pajamas and do little more than eat and watch television. It was divine. I hadn’t realized how badly we’d all needed it, until we did it. And even though it meant some things didn’t get done and I had some scrambling to do to catch up, I’d do it again. Because sometimes we just need to stop and breathe and just be.
I think that no matter your profession—whether you work out of the home, from home, or not at all—it is in the nature of child-raising that just when you’ve pretty much gotten things figured out, something changes. Grooves were meant to be interrupted, and children have a way of transforming weekly or even daily. So although it’s true that just about everyone runs into work/life balance issue, I think as parents we’re much more prone to “chasing a shifting target” sorts of issues.
I know I am, anyway.
My kids have been back to school now for two months. We should have a routine down. And we do… sort of. The thing is that as they change and grow, their wants and needs change. Obviously. And where my son used to be able to go off and do his homework with minimal supervision, the work load has changed and now he needs more help. Where my daughter used to be shy and reluctant to join extracurriculars, she’s now breaking out of her shell and wanting to get involved in more things. They need more time; more of my time focused on them (that never changes, so far as I can tell), sure, but also more time to do the things they want or need to that don’t directly involve me.
But of course I’m involved pretty much no matter what; I’m the cook, the taxi, the master scheduler. I’m the one who has to keep track of it all and say, “Look, you have to start making choices. You can’t do all of these activities. Let’s get out the calendar and see what will work.”
Sometimes the kids (my daughter the newly-hatched social butterfly, in particular) will get angry with me because I say no. I feel like I say no a lot. I know they think I do. But there’s only so many hours in a day, only so many places we can get to without freezing time, and only so many directions we can be pulled in before we feel pulled apart.
“When am I going to get into a groove for this year?” I lamented to a friend, the other day, as we compared notes on how school is going so far.
“Probably right before summer vacation,” she quipped.
I have to stop looking for the groove, because all it does is lull me into a false sense of security and routine. I have to just keep trying to make the best decisions for our family, day by day, and cross my fingers.
Well, that, and I occasionally have to let the kids spend a day in their jammies doing nothing. The not-so-secret bit is that I needed that day just as much (maybe more) as they did.
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