I’ve been documenting my Working Summer here, the highs and lows, my bribery of teenagers and my sadness at missing out on the summer fun for the first time. Usually, I cut right back on work during the holidays but I couldn’t do that this year. I’m pleased to say that we all survived, and my bank account is looking less ‘Starving Writer’ and more ‘Employed’!
I’m grateful for the money, and I know that the kids won’t be permanently traumatized by my absence this summer. But now that the new school year is looming, I need to think more carefully about my working hours. My eldest is getting into his GCSE subjects, and has opted to do a whole big heap of them. He’s all gung-ho and excited about it, and while I don’t want to burst his bubble, I know that doing all of those subjects and getting decent grades in them will be hard. It will mean he needs his mother around. He needs routine, daily conversations, healthy family meals, early bedtimes and hugs. Just like his little brothers. I can’t provide all of those things if I am staggering exhausted into the house at 6 p.m. every day and wondering ‘Where are they?’
I was asked to extend my stay at my current temp job for another month, so I nervously laid my cards on the table: I can’t work late. I may need a few days off. I can’t be the super-reliable workaholic I’ve been lately.
Surprisingly, my manager was completely understanding. I have a great relationship with my co-worker and we will communicate so that one of us is always on the ball. And we’ll see how it goes.
People sometimes ask me why I don’t get a ‘Real’ job. I had one fifteen years ago, after all, and I worked until the day my first baby was due. When he was born a few days later, my life changed for ever. I’ve run a successful small business since then, and freelanced, even going back to work (at the kitchen table) when baby number three was just five days old. It’s been hard at times, but the flexibility of being my own boss and putting my kids first has been worth it for me. I’d like to believe it’s been worth it for them too.
So no thanks, I’m not ready to give up my flexible working and patchy freelancing yet… Not for all the shiny corporate money in the world!