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Where am I in all this?

standard September 11, 2009 13 responses

I remember a time when C was little and I was working a lot. Long hours at the office, long hours being a mom at home. I had exactly one hour every week to myself. Fridays from 4:15 to 5:15. That was my time. My time to be alone. To enjoy a cup of coffee and a read. Or my time to be with a friend and chat. Or even just my time to take a leisurely walk.

That was it. One hour a week when I was “off.” It was divine. I loved that hour. I loved that freedom. Most of the time I even shut off my phone to mark the importance of that hour with no responsibilities, deadlines, or bosses. It was all me, my dreams, my thoughts, my hopes for the future.

Today I don’t work in an office, I work for myself. Every morning I take my children to daycare and drop them off for the day. And then I’m alone. All day.

You’re jealous aren’t you?

Well, I must be doing it wrong, because it doesn’t feel like a whole day of “me time.”

Since I work for myself I don’t have business hours. Instead of splitting my time between “work hours” and “home hours” they’re all work hours. Or at least they should be until I start earning some kind of money. Until I can claim a somewhat decent income every wasted minute feels like a wasted opportunity.

I feel guilty whenever I’m not actively working on something writing or blogging related. I mean, my kids are in daycare all day so I can work, not so I can lounge around eating bonbons.

Want to know how twisted it is? I even feel guilty when I stop working to take care of housework or errands. Every moment spent away from the computer make me feel like I’m neglecting the business I’m putting my family in financial straights over.

I know that relief lies in making both a business plan and a daily schedule that I can stick to. But even before I do that, I need to figure out what my financial and professional goals are so I can step off the hamster wheel that’s going nowhere. I need to find time for my dreams as well as the house, the kids, our daily meals, and, yes, for me.

Because even though working for myself feels like the ultimate indulgence, it’s not really “me time” in the true sense of the word.

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13 responses

  • Totally agree! I left a really good career to raise my kids AND BECOME A WRITER. I never realized how hard it would be. I struggle like you do. And the worst part? Try getting your husband to understand why you’re not producing story after story, or book after book, and the kitchen still isn’t clean.

  • I find this hard to. When you work at home you always feel like you should be doing something. How about scheduling your hour again?

  • I agree with Modern. Schedule your hour, it seems like a good place to begin.

    And then, maybe, pretend that you have to leave the house at a certain time, and get your housework going before that hour.

    Heck, what do I know. I’m up at five, out by 6:30, at school at seven, and my husband takes care of most of the housework. He works from home, looking for a job.

    I eagerly await a change in our schedule so he feels needed by more than only me.

  • Anonymous

    How long do you invest in something if you aren’t getting paid? I’m struggling now to find the balance with time I devote to unpaid writing gigs. Is it really “working” at home if you’re not even breaking even?

  • Yes, I totally relate. I have a sitter twice a week for 4 hours each time and I write for EVERY SINGLE MINUTE that she’s here. If I have a doctor’s appointment or whatever, I schedule it outside of sitter-time and take the kids with me, I even feel guilty for using the babysitting time for THAT! It’s absurd, isn’t it?

  • I can totally relate, other than the daycare! I wish I could afford daycare for the little ones because it would be good for them and me. That way while my DD is in school the boys get to interact with other kids. Yet we can’t afford that. Now with my hubs home I feel even more obligated to be in front of the computer trying to make some money. I do make some money just not quite a part time income … and so here I am working without much of a plan. I think a plan of attack, business goals and where we wish to go financially with our business is a great place to start!

    You hit the nail on the head!!

  • Working from home for yourself makes is very tough to have any time for yourself. I have done it now for 5 years and I go through peaks and valleys. Right now things are super crazy and I am finding myself needing to reevaluate a lot of things. I am in a service business, which creates even more pressure. There is NO me time at all. And now that my twins are in kindergarten, it is not what I thought it would be. I thought I would have more time for me, but I’m actually finding there is less. (I still have a younger child, so I’m not really “off” anyway.) Very stressful.

    I agree – schedule that hour. Take it and don’t feel guilty. You need that time to quiet your mind and check in with yourself and just be.

  • there is so much here that is common amongst those who work at home and WAHMs.

    You’re right, you need to start with the big picture first.

  • I’m right there with you. I have worked for myself for 5 years now and it’s hard. When the kids are gone, I feel obligated to work. Sometimes the best way to get me time is to leave the house. I find it’s easier to sit and drink coffee and enjoy being alone when I’m not home. As sad as that is, it’s just the case with me. Being home means “working” or taking care of household chores. None of those count as “me” time!

  • I, too, have recently felt the same way. I’m home with my 3 young children, tutor in the evenings, and now that I’ve entered into blogging/ writing world, my days never seem to end.

    My only solace is getting up at the insane hour of 5 am to hit the gym a few days a week. Nuts, I know, but I’ve found it’s my only chance to read, be away, and breathe.

    It’s so hard. You’re not alone.

  • I love my job, I love my work, but I think I love it more so because I get to leave it at the office! I hope you find more balance in your life soon.

  • Jessica, I related to every word of this post! Thank for you for the reminder to consider a business plan of some sort. I’ve got it up in my head, but I have to take the time to write it down, make it concrete.

  • I agree. It’s very difficult though when there’s people who are around who think you’re not really working, and should be taking care of other things around the house.

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