I know that come summer, when the sun stays up until 8:00, I’ll be really glad for “spring forward” and how much easier it makes bedtime, but on days like this (during weeks like this), when I have multiple websites to work on, clients to meet with, and tiny tumblers to play with, every hour counts. I want to be the mom who is happy to let my little girl stand and stare at chickens for as long as she wants,
without feeling the need after five or ten minutes to move onto the next thing. I want to be the mom who enjoys watching tiny feet run in circles, round and round an empty mat long after the last student has left.I want to play and run, too, without feeling the minute hand ticking from across the room.
Generally, I am able to do this. The beauty of freelance and working from home means I do it on our schedule, not someone else’s schedule. I still savor the freedom and expanse of hours that came with quitting my job nearly two years ago — but I’ve also seen how quickly new found time fills up. This week, I’ve had to remind myself to practice patience (still a Housewife Challenge, for sure) and also, a little bit, about why I’m at home and how I need to balance my “work” with spending time with Nora and doing what I need to do to keep our house from too closely resembling a barn.
Here’s the challenge: I like the work I do from home. It is very possible that, even if we get to a point where we don’t need income from me, I would still want to work. Don’t get me wrong, I have zero interest in ever going back to an office and a supervisor and everything that comes with traditional employment, if I can help it. But the freelance work, the graphic design and website building, I love. It’s interesting and challenging and allows me to be creative; which makes it hard to pull myself away when I get really excited about a particular project.
This week…let’s just say it’s good that we don’t have a TV; I might very well have ran it six hours a day for Nora so I could do “just a little bit more work.” I also, for the first time ever, understand a little bit of what those moms who describe themselves as bad “floor moms” feel like…with my brain focusing on design, there wasn’t much room for Mr. Potato Head. (Let alone, my least favorite thing, cleaning.) And that is the downside to working at home: it’s always there, calling to me. I think balance is a somewhat elusive, constantly changing thing. Just when I think I have it figured out, something changes and a new rhythm needs to be developed. After awhile, it happens again. Such is life.
Working during Nora’s time is something I try not to do, but this week that fell to the wayside a bit. I’ve been guilty of working during meals too, which is very tempting without grownup conversation. This next week, I want to be a little better about actually being present with Nora instead of working while she’s in the room and I’m going to make a better effort to move the computer off the table before dinner. But — but — but, I am also going to be a little easier on myself about the occasional email throughout the day, because I do think it is good for Nora to see me working a little and, even if it’s less ideal than directly interacting with her, at least she’s at home with me, which is what we want for our family. Oh, yes, and the AAP says undirected play is better. That’s what the experts say, and I’m sticking to it.