Between the beginning of November and my last day of work before Christmas (19th December) work cranks up in such a way that it makes my head spin. I love getting my teeth stuck in and ticking item after item off the to-do list, only for it to be replaced with two additional ones, but jeez are these 7 weeks full on!
Thankfully Roy and the boys are utterly fabulous about it. The kids come first obviously but they know that if I need to sneak off on a Saturday to work that it’s because it’s that busy time again and besides, they have great fun with Daddy.
Roy is a superman. He works a minimum of 45 hours a week himself (usually many more) and yet he knows my 70hr+ weeks are fierce and so he does everything he can to smooth things around me. Believe me, when you are drowning in words and can’t remember the last time you slept for more than four hours in a run a surprise cuppa, cuddle and a few words of encouragement are like sunshine on a miserable day.
So why do I do it? Every year I take off three weeks for Christmas. I adore Christmas, it is a magical time and to be honest the promise of those three weeks pretty much gets me through the rest of the busy year. Work is steady all year however winter is a naturally busy (nuts) time work-wise for me though I have to say that those three magical weeks are all the sweeter for it. I work like a daft thing during this period so that I can finish everything, so I can clear the diary and enjoy a wonderful break knowing that my clients are taken care of and everything is in place for the new year.
Why am I writing this post? To explain (not apologise) that I’ll be AWOL for the next few weeks. I won’t be able to meet up for coffee, enjoy long chatty telephone calls with pals, and I might be ever so slightly grumpy on and off. The free time I do have will be family time and sleeping time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and wouldn’t change a thing; people just need to know that I’ll be tapping into my inner bitch a little more in the near future
I work from home full time and am my own boss. In my previous life (before children) I worked for the National Autistic Society, an unbelievably rewarding career and one which did tend to take up a fair amount of my focus, whether I was in work, on call or not. It was a fabulous position, offering so much variety and a real opportunity to make a difference. I worked in adult services and dealt with anything from hands on support to recruiting staff, training, rotas, pre-appraisals and more. It felt like more of a vocation than a job.
I fully intended to go back to work after Kieran was born and even got as far as my back to work interview. I sat and listened to how my role would be changing, my hours would be different, about key changes within the service and the organisation and all I could think of was how I couldn’t come back, that I didn’t want to come back.
In the short time since I’d been on maternity leave my focus had shifted monumentally. I was a mother now and had different priorities. I stood up, thanked the person I was speaking to and told her I wouldn’t be coming back. I’m not sure who was more surprised to be honest, her or myself.
I went to see Roy at his workplace afterwards to drop my bombshell and was amazed at how thrilled he was. He knew how much I loved my work however also knew that inside I was struggling with the idea of going back into my extremely hour-intensive position. He’d wanted me to make the decision to make changes without him influencing me, something I love him for, and so my first steps into self-employment began.
The road was anything but smooth in the early days as a cut in income like that overnight has a hell of an impact however neither of us regrets the decision for a minute. I’ve been my own boss for eight and a half years now and have absolutely no intention of rejoining the world of work as an employee again.
When I’m working at 4am to meet a ridicuously tight deadline or those times when I’ve had to get heavy with someone who thinks paying an invoice is optional I’ve for a fleeting second thought “Wouldn’t it be easier to go to work, come home and have a fixed income?”. Then I laugh at myself. I absolutely love my life, I love my work and most of all I love the flexibility it allows me so that I may be on hand whenever my family needs me.
Taylor woke up this morning and he was decidedly “off” for want of a better description; parents just know when a little one is not at their best. After breakfast he actually took himself off to bed again so I got in touch with his (fab) childminder and told her Taylor was staying at home today. Work has been shelved (to be continued after tea tonight and very early tomorrow morning) but today was for Taylor. True to form by 9.30am he was absolutely fine, if not a little tired so we’ve enjoyed a wonderfully chilled out day together. We watched tv under a pbanket, coloured in, toasted teacakes and just spent a day enjoying each other’s company.
I didn’t need to ring in sick, apologise for taking time off, use holidays to cover the day off, the same way I don’t for sports day, Christmas carol services, half terms and other special events.
And THIS is why I work from home and for myself.
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