Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to life.

It's back to real life tomorrow.

J has been home for the past ten days. And it's been good a good ten days. Having someone to share the responsibilities of house and family is an enormous weight lifted, though temporary. Plus he makes and fixes things. And, more importantly, I like spending time with him.

And as I'm sure many of you are faced with the same deal - tonight is the night before he returns to his day job. And I return to doing the house thing alone again.

This would be the part where I complain about my landed role as a mother and housewife and bemoan something about not being cut out to be a housewife and being so much more than this. But this is where I am right now. Raising my kids at home, taking care of house. The stuff I do all day is the stuff needed to keep the wheels of the family unit turning.

And really it's okay. There are good things about being at home (this is where I talk it up). I get to stay in pajamas on cold mornings or when I'm feeling unwell. I can spend my day colouring, playing with play-doh, reading books. I get to stick a movie on if I need a break.

But I've thought about not doing this. So many times.

A few months ago I interviewed for a job. It was a part-time position as a writer at a firm in town. The first interview was great. I left the kids at home with my mother-in-law, and took off filled with positivity and enthusiasm as though I were a new graduate fresh from university. I hit it off with the staff. I liked the company. I came away with my fingers crossed. A few days later they asked me back to do a writing test.

Going back there the second time was different. This time, it was like a trial run for the real thing. I got out of bed at six, showered, did my makeup and dressed. I woke the kids up, dressed and fed them, and went out to warm up the car since it was -20 degrees outside.

My toddler didn't want to go out. He lay on the kitchen floor refusing to put his boots and coat on and wailing. Finally I carried him out to the car, bawling and struggling in my arms (and he's not a small chap at 40 lbs). Then I dropped them both off, Matthew still crying, and drove to the north end of the city.

I arrived at the writing test at 9 am. Exhausted. Frazzled. Sweating. I did the test. By the time I left the building, three hours later, I'd already decided not to take the job, should they offer it to me. The thought of going through that ritual with the kids every single morning made me feel ill. And if it had been for a large (or even medium) amount of money, then maybe. Or, if it had been my dream job, then perhaps.

But nothing about it felt right. As I drove back home, I decided then and there that in 2010 I would work from home as a freelance writer. I've done it before, after all.

I'll balance looking after the kids with writing assignments during naps and in the evenings. I'll find time to get new clients. I'll get occasional babysitters to cover meetings. I'll make it work. Somehow.

Easier said than done though. And as anyone that's worked freelance knows, writing isn't necessarily always abundant or lucrative work. Finding the clients in the first place is hard. Then you must produce top quality work, stay on time and within budget, be nice, be gracious. Be perfect, nothing less.

The hard work doesn't phase me. Because this year I need something else. Without whining about the constraints of motherhood, I need to feel like I'm something other than just a mother and housewife. I need to look at something and say, oh yes, I did that. Not to mention, we could use the extra money.

So tomorrow it's back to real life. And I'm feeling somewhat nervous about this year but ready to face it.
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Midwest Mommy said...

My husband asked me this week what I thought about going back to work and if we should wait longer. My head says, yes get back out there but my heart, my heart is with my kids. I would eat noodles for life if I have to. I'm not ready yet. It is so hard sometimes but the thought of what it would take and what it would take away if I went back to work is just too much.

Mwa said...

Good luck! That's such a tough decision to make. I'll go back in a few years to not-sure-what, too, but it won't be easy. x

Tammy said...

I feel the same!! I go back in April and even though I'll miss the lil guy I do look forward to having a bit of an outside life again and a bit of time to sit without being on duty 24/7.. :) You'll find something!!

Lady Mama said...

Midwest Mommy - I think you have to do what's right for you. :)

Mwa - thanks! I guess the transition will never be easy.

Tammy - Ah yes the outside life does appeal so much!

Anonymous said...

I recently went to back to work part-time (very very much so)because I needed to feel like I was something other than just a mother and housewife. For a long time after my daughter was born in 2006, I was genuinely happy just to be home and raise my baby (which turned into babies), but something changed a few months ago and I just felt ready to get out.

Primarily I still want to be home, but I want to feel like I contributing financially to our home somehow too. I'd love to find some freelance work, but opportunities are limited here.

I so absolutely understand you rneed to "look at something and say, oh yes, I did that".

Elaine A. said...

I almost wrote a post similar to this. (not about the job part, but the other stuff). I was kinda sad to get back to the same old routine. But it's a good thing too...

Good luck with the freelancing!!

Anonymous said...

annacdotes - I totally get that. I want the balance of being at home some of the time and having my own thing some of the time too...

Elaine - After one day of being back in the old routine I've forgotten the holidays already!

Mom Mayhem says: said...

It is so nice when the hubby is home to help out and so sad when it ends. I've also thought about what to do;To work or not or how to work at home-etc. I finally found something I like thru Examiner recently expanded into Canada thru Now Public? If you'd be interested in writing for them -You can put my name down as a referral- Angela Severn Examiner Id:20650-I'm the "Tulsa Frugal Family Examiner". And if you'd like more info you can always contact me thru my blog/email :)