I feel more than slightly ridiculous dictating this blog post on a walk between two client meetings. But I feel kind of awesome that I can do it. It’s not every day I have ten minutes for a post. It’s not every day I get a glorious walk in perfect weather from one part of San Francisco to another.
It’s not every month that I have so many clients that I schedule back-to-back meetings and walk briskly between them with purpose and determination. I’m incredibly lucky. And because I recognize how lucky I am, ridiculous seems okay right now, and dictate I shall.
I feel like an entitled jackass for having groceries delivered tonight. It’s my third time this year having groceries delivered, and I will admit with almost no shame that I love it. I don’t have anyone but me clean the house, until this month I didn’t have regular childcare, we don’t go out to eat very often, and we almost never have food delivered. Certainly I never used to pay to have groceries brought to my door. But the little guy and I skipped our weekly grocery date so that we could see his big brother in the school production of the Midas Touch. As much as I would like to resist the multitasking of dictating a blog post, and of having groceries delivered, it’s pretty awesome and I can use my time like this. To see my amazing son in a play instead of going to the grocery store. To get some work done and some exercise and a blog post all the same time.
I like this new purposeful walk and the spare $5 to have groceries delivered. I like it very much.
I have found myself in the thrilling, unnerving, awkward position of a very exciting, almost entirely joyful, complete reorganization of my life. I have no idea how I feel about it, for my tendency is to predict during good time what might go wrong and when, but I’m doing my best to be present and notice and make the best choices I can.
In the course of about two months, I have gone from a stay at home parent who freelanced about 20 hours a week, to a part-time parent and 50-hour-a-week contractor. For years, I had pushed work to the back burner, cramming my consultancy apologetically into the few hours when my kids were asleep and at school (afternoon preschool and elementary school meant daytime work hours were two hours a day, three days a week; and I usually preferred a run and a shower to work, so I had a dysfunctional relationship with my computer late nights and early mornings). And then suddenly, just as preschool is ending and I’ll have the kids together in one school, with a more balanced daytime rhythm, more brain space, and more sleep, I am getting more work than I can handle. I’m turning down clients, which kills me but is necessary. I’m now hiring someone to pick up my boys from their schools two days a week.
And that feels even better than delivering groceries and dictating blog posts.
Because having a babysitter do the four hours of driving that it takes to collect my precious monkeys twice a week, I’m balancing my priorities better. I love my kids and I want to be with them. But I am really good at my chosen profession, and I genuinely appreciate both the paycheck and the accolades that come from doing a good job. I like having colleagues who call me repeatedly when they have challenging work for me, I like free unhealthy snacks at my tech and agency clients’ offices, and I really like leaving a list of what dinner should be, and having someone else chop and spice and cook and serve. And clean up. Good heavens, the one time my nine-hours-a-week sitter did the dishes, I cried.
Cried. Because someone washed a few dishes for me. So that I could get an extra 10 minutes of sleep.
I will likely kiss the grocery delivery person on the face when they show up at 7pm with all the stuff I didn’t have time for but that my family needs to be healthy.
And I will likely hit “post” on this ridiculous babbling, because it’s what I have to offer right now. Change is in the air…things are different. Life looks different and feels different, and I’m more than a little excited.
That’s all. Had to tell you that before I go into this next meeting.
Loved your post! You nailed it with how I have felt needing others (nanny, grandma, grocery delivery, etc) to do things that I did on my own before. Glad that I am not the only one who felt this way. Also loved that you are making your career a priority as well. Can’t wait to read and see how it all (continues) to work out.
Thanks! Good luck to you!
This is the best kind of busy life to have–lots of work but also time for going to the school play! I am glad things are going so well with you. And if you hadn’t told us you were dictating the post, we’d never have guessed.
I definitely went back and edited. There were several laughable dictation errors. But it sure made life easier to outsource the bulk of the typing. Technology for the win!
Love this; love you; love the dictation. Thank you! I needed every word today.
It’s so nice to be good at something Christie! Parenting and writing pay off in, what, thirty years. If ever. Consulting pays off today. Thank god. I finally feel as though I’m competent more often than not. The balance has shifted.
Awesome. Oh the relief of having someone else take care of the mundane and somehow crushing tasks that have to be done every damn day. (“How dare they all insist on EATING, EVERY DAY,” I say to myself like a completely logical person. Ahem.)
At least once a week, I say softly to myself, “Cheeses Christ on a Cracker, do they really expect three whole meals a day, every damned day?!” Totally grownup of me.
Good for you – This is All. Truly. Great.
(Pat yourself on the back, preferably while walking!)
I thought it was pat my head and rub my tummy….Okay, I’ll try it your way. You are rather wise, after all.
I JUST started following your blog, and this post really stood out to me! I just recently left a job where I was able to work from home 2-3 days a week to teaching 8th grade English, and I felt so guilty making that change- like I was choosing to spend time with other people’s children instead of my own child- but when I worked from home, I couldn’t really dedicate myself to my work OR my son. It’s been a positive change because now I can truly spend my time at home with my son and also have a fulfilling career. I feel like there’s so much pressure to be super mom and abandon work… It’s so refreshing to read about another mother who shares the desire to do something that’s her own in addition to being a mother. And now I am so going to find out how to have my groceries delivered- thanks for the tip!! I look forward to reading more from you! :)
Thanks, MC. I took a nine year sabbatical to stay at home with my boys, and consulted only at night while they slept. And between trying to be the room parent and co-op participator and preschool Board member and freelancer and novelist…I was killing myself. This readjustment as the little one heads to kindergarten will hopefully serve us well. If not, I’m changing again. Like you, I want to do what fits best, not what looks best or pays best.
Did you use an app for dictation? I’ve been wanting to get into dictating posts so I can use driving time better but I’m not sure what the best way is. Siri did an awful job of writing me a new note last time I tried.
Regardless, I love this piece. Sometimes you have to decide to make choices & distribute responsibilities because we’re not superhumans. That’s something I’m learning every day too.
I just use the mic icon on the keyboard, regardless of what app I’m in… WordPress, Safari, etc. works okay if I’m speaking clearly.
I love that you’re a ridiculous babbling fool for the little things that are really big things. You are finding your way just fine Nappers. You are doing it girl. Big hugs and lots of glitter.
Good to hear from you, Unicorn!
So much glitter.
I’m right there with you! I was a stay at home mom for 11 years before returning to full-time teaching. Now, several years later, I’m stepping out of the classroom and going to try my hand at subbing. Hopefully this will give me the flexibility I’m craving as a mother and teacher!
Kudos to you for taking on a new challenge. It’s so much more interesting then staying on the same road forever.
No hauling kiddos through the grocery store?! That does sound like heaven and I only have one itty-bitty one! Congrats on your business taking off!
I actually enjoy taking one to the store. Two I can tolerate, if they’re getting along. But it sure was nice to skip that regular trip and have something special.
I appreciate your honesty behind your raw emotions, as well as your keep of a positive outlook. Simply refreshed read.
I love your post. I’m trying to do something similar where I work about 20 hours a week around my son. I hope that, eventually, I’m as successful at it as you’ve been!
So wish we had the option to have groceries delivered. The service did not last in our town. I cannot understand why. Enjoyed your post and love the name of your blog.
I think this was written from a raw place in your heart. I feel your tears. Good luck on your journey, I’ll be following! What app did you use to dictate your blog.