Sometimes it turns out that when one job falls through, two or three others come along to take its place. So as of about a week ago, I can say that my not-so-official maternity leave (I actually did a small small small amount of work each week through the whole thing) is officially over.
My first week back as a full-fledged work-at-home mother was chaotic — in fact, probably more chaotic than it needed to be. As always, I want to be (need to be) more organized than I actually am. There have been no disasters, though, so I’ve been pretty forgiving of myself, observing what works and what doesn’t work and adjusting accordingly.
Even as I adjust and get organized, though, I expect that our days will remain challenging. How could they not be challenging?
Whether or not we do paid work, and whether or not we spend our days mostly at home, as parents we struggle daily to meet everyone’s needs — for sustenance, for rest, for creativity, for love. In the midst of this struggle, it helps to understand how the things that we do that may seem burdensome at times actually help us to sustain our values and meet our family’s needs.
As for me and my family, as long as we live in New York City and want to maintain things like Brian’s studio, we’ll need my income. And I certainly want to keep my skills fresh. But I could earn an income and keep my skills fresh at any old regular job. Why do I choose this unconventional work-at-home life?
For one thing, professionally, I want the flexibility to try new things. For example, because I’m a freelancer, I was able to say “yes” when I was invited to teach online creative writing classes. In the coming years, I plan to grow a new career — or at least earn some income from — writing articles and essays. I don’t know that I would be able to pursue such a goal if I weren’t already freelancing.
And really — what better reason do I have for the odd hours I keep?
What about you — can you say why you do what you do?