Friday, July 11, 2014
When you're not working, tasks and events expand to fit the time you have. Everything that you used to squeeze around work and into nights and weekends can now be done over a longer stretch of time, and if you think that you can't make shopping for a couple kitchen stools last more than an hour or two, you are wrong. Because I'm on day 37 of the Kitchen Stool Expedition and there are still no actual stools in my possession. (Also, the more I use the word "stools," the more I want to make jokes about it, and I don't think that's helping.)
I find myself doing a lot of things that I probably would have ignored before or just couldn't do because there wasn't time. Printing out and framing photos? Check. Taking too-small clothing to a charity shop? Check. Bathing my kids? Just kidding. I think we've established I don't do THAT very often.
There are definite advantages to staying at home - I'm able to give a lot more attention to schoolwork and extra-curricular activities. I can volunteer to help out at school. I can commit to and train for races. I can stay on top of all the household admin (which is increasing for us, with a recent decision to buy and do up a new house.) I'm also around for the kids - there to drop them off in the mornings and there to pick them up in the afternoon. Doctor appointments and hair cuts are easy to schedule.
I understand that it's a luxury to be able to spend time with the children without the financial pressure to work, but I can't help feeling that I still should be trying find a "career." The part of my identity that used to be filled with Media and E-Commerce is somewhat blank at the moment, and I'd like to start redefining it. Whenever I have to fill out the little blue and white landing card at UK airports, I feel slightly panicky when it comes to filling in the line marked Occupation. Like, what do I put? "Recently e-commerce but in-between gigs"? "Looking for a part-time role. Call me!"? "Official Purchaser of Stools"?
It comes down to the fact that right now I'm not willing to go back to an office job full time, and that limits my options. I know the resentment I end up feeling when I miss out on important bits of the kids lives, and I remember how tired and stressed I was being out all day and only getting home for bath and bedtime. I am enjoying this time at home, perhaps more so because I don't think it will be forever.
But I miss being part of a work team. I miss having a different place to go spend my day, where I can do something entirely unrelated to kids or school or home. It will happen again at some point - whether in the short term or a bit farther down the line. Good part-time roles are hard to find, but they do exist. In the meantime, I'll keep volunteering at school, running people to gymnastics classes, writing a bit, working out, shouting at the kids, researching kitchen bar stools.
100 bucks says that when you read this post title you though it was going to be about something else.