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/
… stressing down the road!
Crankily, crankily, crankily, crankily,
Balance is a load [of crap]!
(To the tune of “Row, row, row your boat.” Obviously.)
I’m having One Of Those Days. And the thing is, I need to get over it. Yes, I lost the entire morning to sick kids and doctors’ appointments and the pharmacy and copays, but I need to remember what it was like when I worked at an office, and was a single mother, and a day like this meant missing work entirely and wondering if I was going to be fired. (I actually brought my sick kindergartener in to work with me one day; I set him up in the corner of my office on a sleeping bag, with a portable DVD player and headphones, thinking I couldn’t afford to miss another day and he’d be just as fine there as at home. My boss sent us home, anyway, and I ended up feeling even worse for trying to sort of split the difference between maintaining my responsibilities and taking care of my child.)
I remember those days of a kid who was kinda-sorta-sick, and having An Important Meeting, and erring on the side of “I’m sure she’s fine” largely because I felt like I had to get to work, not because I really was sure she was fine. It feels awful to do that, and yet I don’t know a single working parent who hasn’t done that at least once, taking a pitiful kid to school with an extra hug and prayer that she’s “just tired.”
So, yes, it’s immensely gratifying to be able to take the time when it’s needed and not have to worry that my job is in jeopardy because of it. On the other hand, the time I lost this morning must be made up this evening, and that means less time with my husband; and anyone who’s ever tried to run a house, manage a career, nurture a relationship, and take care of children knows that the “couple” relationship often ends up at the bottom of the pile, at its peril. I’ve lived through what happens when that relationship isn’t properly nourished. I won’t make the same mistakes again.
Which leaves me with… well, I’m not sure. More things to accomplish in a day than actual hours. I won’t exercise today (I’d rather sacrifice my workout than the chance to focus on my husband and just relax a little, later). I’ll work while I eat lunch. I’ll take the dog out while fielding phone calls and I’ll run upstairs between projects to check on my sick kid. More than likely I’ll ask my husband to pick something up for dinner rather than cooking what I’d planned for tonight.
Meanwhile, I’m still thinking about homeschooling. Things are better at school than they were, but this has been on my mind a lot, recently, and what I’m finding is that the little voice that says “I can’t” is being ever-so-slightly overpowered by the somewhat-louder voice that says “Look at what you’re already doing.” Heaping more on to my plate seems counterintuitive, but I’m beginning to see the ways in which it’s actually less. Fewer (no) school meetings. Fewer (no) PTA obligations. Happier (less needy) children, maybe. Maybe, maybe. There’s a lot of variables to examine. So many different things to consider.
And at the bottom line I keep coming back to this: I never thought I could really make my own career, my own company, and make it work. But I did. And through all of the frustrations and stress, it’s been the greatest thing I’ve ever done. So maybe—maybe—I’m ready for the next challenge? Maybe an unexpected morning of mom-duty is a reminder that this is exactly why I struck out on my own in the first place, so that I could make sure my kids get what they need.
And through it all, I’m trying to remember that I’m lucky to be able to do this. All of this. Lucky to wait at the pharmacy, lucky to have these sorts of dilemmas at all.
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