I like working from home - most of the time. I think it's a dream for a lot of people, especially mothers, because we really run ourselves ragged when we try to "do it all." I tried - and while I can't say I failed, I wasn't a great mom, wife, or employee when I was trying to do it all. Some women are great at it. I was not. I was chronically sick (and there were no sick days, even for salaried employees like me), a bit disorganized, stressed, and anxious -- usually about the next phone call I'd receive from the babysitter or school.
So I made the bold (and scary, and possibly dumb) decision to quit. Bam. Right in the middle of a recession. I walked in on a Monday, sat at my desk where I'd sat many times, and wrote out my resignation notice. Just like that. Probably the only non-calculated "big" thing I've done since becoming an adult.
And so I wouldn't further disappoint my husband, I vowed to work hard for myself. I stick to a schedule, and find that while I don't feel like I'm working "full time," I probably actually do work 40 hours a week. But for most people on a regular work schedule, it's a foreign concept.
"You do what? Bows?" they ask with some disbelief. I don't live in an area where most girls wear bows. I often hear, "I didn't know girls wore those any more!" But they move on, probably feeling sorry for me, that crazy bow lady, trying to sell something no one wants to wear. :) I'm sure they assume I have waaay too much free time on my hands.
Indeed, one thing I love about working for myself is that I can take time occasionally to do something else. Like last week - I would have had the free tutorial on printing your own ribbon done a day earlier, but my daughter absolutely NEEDED me to make her a Dr. Seuss skirt for preschool the next day. She had already told her teacher all about it. I had forgotten all about it. So I abandoned my mission, put on my "mom" hat, and made a skirt. The boss didn't complain.
One thing I don't love about working from home is that I never really *leave.* All the noises in the house start to bother me after awhile, especially if I have work to do over the weekends when everyone is home. So on Saturday I decided to take my computer to the library and do some work on my Birdsong Bows and Patterns website
, rather than sit at home and work. I put on actual clothes (not sweats, but actual clothes I would want to be seen in -- yeah, I also miss dressing up!!) and went out with my laptop.
At the library I chose to take a seat across from an older gentleman, probably around 80. He wanted to know if I was doing my homework. No, I told him, I was just doing "work" work. He accepted that, and went on with reading his newspapers, talking to his friend occasionally, and giving out some free legal advice (he's apparently a retired estate attorney).
When I got up to leave, he asked me where I worked, and I explained that I worked for myself. I showed him my Etsy store
and website and he appeared a little baffled, but accepted it. I told him I came to the library to work, because sometimes it gets too noisy at home on weekends.
But he had something else on his mind, rather than "work" work.
"Do you get your housework done, too?" he asked.
I was taken aback, but laughed, and simply said, "Yeah, I get it done, most of the time."
After the fact, I thought of several wittier comments I could have made. I shared the story with my husband when I got home.
"You should have told him, no, my husband does all the housework," he said. "You would have really shocked him."
Shocking, indeed. There's probably a reason I didn't come up with THAT witty remark. :)
Labels: work-life balance