This year started in a whoosh, all deadlines and submissions and it didn’t seem to stop. I don’t even remember getting a chance to stop during the holidays. This led me to some spiral thinking. You know the type were you start to think about one thing and suddenly it’s an hour later and you somehow have managed to end up thinking completely off topic?
One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a creative space online that was mine and now that it has allowed me to work from home too I realised that yet again a personal fun space was more work like than anything else. My hobbies have a tendency to turn into work. Which is great and it’s very easy to get swept up in opportunity but also just as easy to lose sight of original goals or ideas.
I originally wanted to stay at home with my kids. I wanted to watch them grow and be around when they take their first steps, when they want cuddles on the couch or when they just needed me, their mum. Very quickly I realised that actually working from home with the little ones is a constant race. You are endlessly running around trying to squeeze things into set deadlines when there is childcare and although you have a reduced commute you are busier than you have ever been in your career.
You are all the things that you would be as a parent plus all the duties you need to do when you work from home on top of all the jobs you need to do on your hobbies/ creative endeavours. It’s not possible to split yourself in two and you end up chained to the laptop until midnight every night. This is fine for short-term deadlines and occasional busy periods but it is definitely not sustainable. I started to map my time and realised that I do what all women do, I cram the washing in while I’m writing a blog post, I record notes into my phone as I’m unpacking the dishwasher or walking home from the school run, I am forever multitasking. It’s no wonder that I am constantly worn out.
These are the magical moments.
It hit me this week that this is the time in my life that I will look back on in years to come. These moments when my kids are small and my husband and I are young and healthy enough to keep up with them. We have a precious few years in which we as their parents are everything to our children before friends, TV, boyfriends and life take them away from us. A handful, in a lifetime of weekend mornings where we can all cuddle up in bed together and watch something. Where they run to us overjoyed to see us and excited to tell us what adventure they got up to that day. I don’t want them to remember me strapped to a laptop or having to wait until I finished a task but I also don’t want them to think I’m at their every beck and call either. I want them to think or try for themselves first.
I also sat back and realised that I create everything that I do for free (by choice I can include affiliate links if I want to and introduce advertisements but I prefer to have a clean blog and control over what I sponsor). Anyone who has an audio podcast will tell you how long it takes to edit and produce a recording that you hear in 40 minutes. Most of us do it because we love it but it causes me constant stress trying to fit in when it will be edited. I always was under the assumption that you needed to have a regular weekly podcast in order to build an audience. You taught me that wasn’t true. You taught me that if the recordings are good enough, interesting enough, that you will wait and join me when you can and for that, I thank you because that, in itself has reduced my stress levels.
My creative presence online has always been about exploring creativity, craft and to a lesser extent my love of writing and gardening. I’ve always tried to find a way of including my kids in what I do because the time in which I get to explore was minimal. If this is the time in my life that I know I’ll look back on, I want to enjoy living it which means striking a balance between work, motherhood and creative endeavours. This blog and podcast had but one purpose, to share what I love with all of you and to hopefully inspire you. So how do I do that when I’m constantly stressed and unsure of what I love?
As you grasp a few threads of your life and pull them together others seem to fray and that means it’s time to reduce the number that you hold. You will see some changes ahead from me. I need the space to have fun and explore so that I can share that with all of you. I need to be able to take a weekend off without the stress of wondering how I will juggle the week ahead. My quality of life is more important than my work, my blog/podcast, my submissions or schedule so 2018 is going to be kinder to me and my family because I’m choosing not to do things. It’s not an infinite no more of a not right now. I’ll let you know how the new schedule goes and let you see my Bullet Journal too!
Do you work from home or struggle with this balance? How do you achieve it in your life?
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Oh, Nadia…this post brought tears to my eyes. It brought me back 20 years to when I was home with my boys, working from home and burning more than one candle at multiple ends. I savored those years in spite of the constant exhaustion, financial struggles and lack of any social life! Now they are in their 20’s and it is a whole new world. My friend once told me “little children, little problems – big children, big problems”. I admittedly continue to struggle with the balance. I work outside of the home now, and I am blessed to work for a school district that values family before work. None the less, I am up at 4:45am, at my desk at 7am, come home tired at 4pm, push through dinner, dishes and housework. I do what knitting I can and crash on the bed by 10pm. Lather, rinse, repeat. Even though I get things done, I never really feel like anything gets 100% effort. My family and colleagues speak to the contrary. Maybe that means I am overcompensating in order to give that 100%. Does that make sense? As for your “spiral thinking”, I always called it my butterfly brain. Drives me nuts and I feel like I spin my wheels unnecessarily, adding to my fatigue.
Well, I didn’t expect quite the long comment! Your writing really resonates with me.
Be well, Nadia. Enjoy your beautiful family!