Life. Funny how I keep saying I’ll do certain things when life slows down. I’m probably late to the game here — I bet you already know this…but it’s never going to slow down. Or at least not for a lot of years.
I had things all set up the way I wanted them for a while. I worked 50%, volunteered at my son’s first grade one day a week, had a full day off on Fridays for writing… I went to the gym for an hour three days a week after my “real” job before I picked the Tiny Guy up from preschool… it was all going so well. Then I got an opportunity to work on a new contract. And it was really cool work, and the client was actually really appreciative and respectful. (In case you didn’t know, tech writers are not always considered critical team members — at least not in government consulting — and we’re often brought in at the last minute to clean up giant Word-related messes. I’m used to people not having much idea how long editing a 200 page document might actually take, or not understanding that reformatting a cut-and-pasted-ninety times file might take more than just a minute). At any rate, I dove in. I upped my hours to 60% (bye bye workouts)… and it’s been going well. And now they’re asking for more. The only thing I have left to give, short of putting my kids into some kind of before-care program, is my Friday. My writing day. My “mommy free day”…
My first grader was home sick yesterday and was sent home from the nurse with a fever today. When he told me that she said he should stay home tomorrow, I spooled up…I asked him (because speaking to a sick first grader rhetorically in an angry voice is completely appropriate…) if SHE was going to stay home with him, or if SHE had a plan for making up the hours I was already behind for this period because I stayed home with him yesterday.
And I realized…I’m doing something wrong. The whole point of my “flexible” schedule was to be able to take care of sick kiddos, to be sure that our house was marginally clean, to be able to volunteer at school and be present for my family. There is a good reason — a lot of them — why I don’t work full time. And having time to write, to do what I actually feel passionate about, is no small part of that.
There’s a conversation coming. I just have to have the guts to tell the people around me why I made the choices I’ve made in the first place, and stand by them. Wish me luck.
Oh, and also, tomorrow I will type the words “The End” on Book 2 of Girlfriends of Gotham! (And then I’ll have a LOT of revising to do…)