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/
(Oh, don’t worry. I’m not really going to bust out into song; no one wants that.)
For years I’ve written here about the intricacies of balancing life and mothering and work, and agonized over the time I spend building my business vs. nurturing my marriage and/or being a wholly present mother to my children. For years I’ve talked about how you get out of your business what you put into it, and how “just cruising along” might work in a corporate job, but in freelancing it means stagnation and less work.
I’m a big believer in life handing you the lessons you need to learn. And it would appear that I needed a lesson in work being less important than my family.
Lucky (?) me!
As I finally wrote about this morning, my daughter has been very ill for the last couple of weeks. She’s finally home from the hospital, but we’re not done with this yet, and won’t be for quite some time. She’ll be home, we’ll have lots of doctors’ appointments to get her to, she needs a lot more care than she would if healthy, and things simply have to change.
The good news is that I already work from home, and I’m grateful that I have the flexibility that allows me to adjust my schedule accordingly. If I was working for someone else, at this point, I’d be looking at taking FMLA leave (and completely losing all income while doing so).
The not-so-good news is that as I’ve dropped work and worked less on my own sites, yes, absolutely my income has taken a hit. And as anyone who’s ever had a family crisis knows, not only do you have additional expenses from the illness itself, but daily hospital treks aren’t exactly conducive to frugal meal planning and home-cooked meals. Income is down, expenses are up.
Money is a solvable problem. There’s always ways to make more money, or catch up later. While I’ve been busy taking care of my family, I’ve also realized that my priorities could perhaps use a bit of tweaking. Letting work take a backseat for a while doesn’t mean the end of the world, or even the end of my business. It’s a temporary thing. I’m lucky I’m in a position to both back off of work and to get things back up to speed later, once we’re through this rough patch.
I can’t quite believe this happened just to force me to reexamine my schedule and my family’s needs, of course, but it has turned into a valuable lesson about what’s important. Work is good, and building a business is satisfying, but if everything has to stop so I can make sure my family’s okay, well then, that’s what I’ll do.
And we’ll survive it.
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