Search

Juggling

I'm a designer. I'm also a mum. And a dog-owner, a house-owner, a garden-owner, car-owner... a wine- and tea-drinker, nice-food-eater (and a crappy-food-eater for that matter), a laundry-doer, bills-payer, family-and-friends-seer... ok it's getting a bit clumsy now but you get the picture. I'm a normal, semi-functioning adult just trying to stay on top of life. And it's tough, but also great.


I recently quit my job and went freelance with this design thing. I love it - I'm really, truly, wholeheartedly in love with what I do - but still, it's been a huge adjustment. Working for myself has not presented the challenges people barked at me when I told them what I was planning - "oh it's so lonely"; "you'll need to be really disciplined"; etc. etc. yawn - but what has been interesting to see is that because I work for me, and because I'm at home all the time, and because there's literally zero accountability to anyone except myself and my clients, the lines between work and the rest of my life have become super blurred.


I often find myself spending the time when my children are at nursery cleaning the kitchen or planning my sister's hen do, and then sketching out designs for my latest project while bouncing a baby on my lap, or putting the finishing touches to a site through bleary eyes at 11pm. (That's about as late as I can stay up these days - I nearly wrote 1am but it was such a vast and unrealistic exaggeration I couldn't bring myself to put it on the page.)


You might say, well that's just poor time management. How about just working during the time earmarked for work, and doing all the other stuff some other time, like normal people?


But what I'm saying is, in many ways it's a luxury, not a burden. On the one hand, it is tough to juggle work and life when those boundaries are blurred, especially when your other half does have a conventional, full-time job. But on the other hand, I get to do a job that I love AND spend loads of time with my kids. I can work at the times of day when I'm most productive - or more accurately, I can not work at the (many) times of day when my brain is a foggy bowl of mush - and I can do it with a toddler clinging to my leg if I want to, without worrying about how it looks to my colleagues and/or boss.


Working mothers have it tough. And, arguably, self-employed working mothers (mumpreneurs? euw no) face even more challenges. But if you like your job, and you like your children... there's a lot of joy in it too. So, maybe, we're really the lucky ones.