We freelancers have heard it all before: Oh, I wish I had your schedules! How awesome to decide for yourself when you want do what! How cool to have no boss! I envy you your flexibility! You’re such a great mom to always have time for your kids … That’s one perspective, certainly, and it’s also true. All of the above is wonderful.
The other side of the coin is that at some point I firmly kissed the concept of separating work, life, kids, chores, relationship and ultimately leisure time goodbye. Many of my nights after the kids have gone to bed are spent catching up with work – simply because I needed to go pick up someone from school, take the car to the shop, grocery shop, meet with a teacher, cook … that kind of thing. Not that I really mind. I like my work, and I can concentrate really well at night. But the price I pay is that there’s no clearly structured work time or free time left – just the big, jumbled, colorful mess of my life, day by day. That’s the way it is, and for now, I don’t see how it’s going to change.
Some people actually plan their yoga classes, their me-time and their date nights as if they were business appointments. I’ve never really managed to do that. Most of my non-negotiable time-frame is down to school schedules and kids‘ activities (ballet class, swim meet, parent-teacher conference, but also the alarm at 6.25 a.m. – which I certainly struggle with sometimes, as a natural night owl). And of course there’s deadlines.
Sometimes I envy the planners. My husband is like that, for instance. Since he’s a producer, that works in his and his colleagues‘ favor, no doubt. It probably reduces stress if you have a slot for everything you do. But doesn’t it also cut down on the actual perks of being self-employed? The joy of deciding for yourself whether you actually feel like getting dressed now or would rather be working in your PJs this morning? To having the flexibility to go for a run, sit down with a coffee, take the kids out for fro-yo because the weather is so gorgeous, have a cup of tea with a friend who drops in – that kind of thing?
As you can probably tell, I’m not sure which is better. It sometimes seems the excel file people get more done than I do. But when I try to excel-file every little thing I do for the whole family construct during the day (wipe those counters, do a load of laundry, buy the kids new sneakers, do a quick groceries run), it seems that I do get a ton of stuff done. Maybe it’s just a different way of going about things. Like using mind-maps rather than lists.
Maybe for me, it’s OK to not break up my day in certain zones that get assigned certain purposes or activities. Maybe I get enough me-time anyway (by writing here instead of getting my butt to the post-office to mail out the book I’ve just finished proofing ;-). Or by trying out a few Scandinavian knitting motifs that were in that book yesterday over lunch – check it out:
They’re cute, aren’t they? My fingers were positively itching while I was reading, and I simply couldn’t resist trying my hand at them. There’s also horses, owls, reindeer … birdies, beautiful. And sooo easy to make, even though you absolutely need to follow the instructions to the tee, or you’ll be screwed. Or rather your motif will be.
I started out with the kitty, for my daughter. Then I saw that pig and needed to make it. Oddly, in the pattern it only had two legs, so out of pity I made it two more (easy to do when you understand the pattern). So at least that piggy will have perfect balance, right?
And then my son came home from school and asked for what he dubbed a ‚werewolf‘. Roaar. I think it looks more like a sheepdog, personally.
Yup, pop culture doesn’t stop even for Swedish crafts. But that is one whole other blog post.
So, the work-life-thing. I’d dearly love to hear about your take on this, reader friends. It doesn’t bother me, but doesn’t not bother me either. It’s, as the wordpress template calls it, ‚on my mind‘. A work in progress. It may be helpful to know how you people do it!