Around the same time that I started my blog 15 months ago, I was working 24 hours a week and doing around 2 hours a night freelance work. This allowed me to reduce my hours at work, do the morning and afternoon school run every day, and still pay my share of the bills. My aim was to up the freelance work, leave the office job behind, and have much less rushing around in my life.
It hit me this week that I have failed miserably in my quest for a better work-life balance…
Things seem to have gone in the opposite direction. I’m now working 32 hours a week in the job I’ve been in for 9 years. Sadly I didn’t increase my hours on the back of a pay rise or a promotion. Things within the company changed and I was asked to alter my role slightly – as well as extra skills to add to the old CV, I had a feeling that if I didn’t accept these additional tasks would just be given to someone else.
So now I drop Little H off at breakfast club every morning so that I can be in the office by 08:30, and one day a week she stays at after school club until 5:30pm. Luckily she enjoys this so I don’t have to worry about the Mum Guilt any more than I already do.
I’m also now doing around 3 hours of freelance work per evening having taking on some extra work from an existing client.
The main problem is I’m shattered. And I have no time to do anything else.
I get up at 06:30, get ready for work, get Little H to school for 07:45 and rush off to be at my desk for 08:30. Apart from the one day that I leave work at 5pm, I leave the office at 2:15pm, rush to school, fight for a parking space, speed walk down the road, and be waiting outside the gates when they open at 3pm. We then usually head off to do an errand or two, like popping to the Supermarket, taking books back to the library, going to the Post Office, or to gymnastics on a Wednesday, before heading home. I then have around an hour to play with Little H before sorting dinner. Luckily the husband then comes in and takes over the child entertainment and we take turns with bath & bedtime. After that it’s time to have the quickest shower known to man and wolf my dinner down before doing my freelance work and falling in to bed at about 11:30pm.
This isn’t a “woe is me post”, I know I don’t have to do all of this. I could just stick to the day job that I’m not particularly happy in and we could still pay the bills. However, if I want to eventually be my own boss (who doesn’t) then I also need to do the freelance work now.
It’s not just working for myself that is the reason behind the freelance, it’s the not having to ask everyone to look after Little H in the school holidays, not having to ask permission from my boss for time off for school assemblies, not rushing around all the time, and doing something that I enjoy.
How long I can do it all for though is a decision I haven’t made yet, I’m stuck in a bit of a catch 22 really – I can’t give up my job until I have enough freelance work to cover my salary, but I can’t take on any more freelance work while I’m already working this much.
Do I give in and accept that I’ll just have to work for someone else until I retire?
Or do I just forgo sleep for a bit longer with the hope that there is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel?
I’m not really sure what the answer is but it’s helped a bit putting my thoughts onto ‘paper’. Have any of you been in a similar situation?
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