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/
(Pictured here: Someone who is a lot more coordinated than I am. But also dumb. Because wearing high heels on a tightrope is just silly.)
I’ve now been freelancing from my home office for half-a-dozen years, and I think I can say with confidence that this summer has been the first one where I felt like my work/life balance was very nearly in order. I’m not saying that it was easy or perfect, but I worked less, spent more time with my kids, and—although I felt like I wasn’t getting “enough” done, sometimes—in general my frustration level was a lot lower than in summers past. I’ve finally cracked the code, I may have mused to myself in a smug moment. I’ve got this.
Sure, a couple of times I felt a slight longing for the return to our school-year schedule and being able to up my work game a little bit with the extra time, but on the whole I felt like this summer really showed me that it’s possible to achieve a doable balance.
And so of course I promptly blew it all to hell this week.
We knew it was a possibility, of course. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and school has been An Issue ’round here for the last couple of years. He was due to start at the middle school yesterday, and after a series of events I won’t bore y’all with (Cliff Notes version: I have become increasingly convinced that IEP stands for “I Exasperate the Principal” rather than “Individualized Education Plan”), we have finally made the decision to pull him from the public school system.
Which means… I’m homeschooling.
Now, to be fair, he’ll begin attending an out-of-house program in a couple of weeks, and I think it’s going to be wonderful for him, and we’re all very excited. I won’t have him home every day. But for two weeks, my daughter is at school, my husband is at work, and my son is home with me, wishing I was not working. As I wasn’t quite prepared to whip up a curriculum, we’re kind of flying by the seat of our pants. It’s not too bad, really. And it’s only the second day.
But my son is already bored and impatient any time I task him with something and expect him to work on it for thirty minutes or an hour without me. And I’m trying to work with constant interruptions; sure, I finally figured out how to manage it over the summer, but that was when I had two other people here to run interference, and not when I was expecting him to do actual work.
Today I took a break and ordered some workbooks for him. I also sat down and put all of the coming year’s school calendar events into my work calendar. We’d planned to have two kids at the same school this year, and now we have two kids in different programs, with different vacations, differed length school days, and different associated activities.
I’m not complaining. I’m grateful that the public schools work for my daughter and doubly grateful that I can flex my schedule to make an alternative possible for my son. I’m grateful we found him a wonderful program, too, so that I won’t be spending every day trying to juggle working and teaching. But right now, I do feel just a little bit like the universe saw me managing things okay and threw me a curveball.
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