On Trying to Keep the Plates Spinning

Linda Sharps
Healthy Living

On any given weekday, I have three writing deadlines to meet. There's the time involved in writing the actual articles, but there's also the research involved in finding a story to write about, pitching my editor, finding a new story during the times when I'm told someone else already has that story, finding a non-copy-written photo, adding keywords, categorizing the post, optimizing the headline, adding links, and so on.

Then there are the additional freelance jobs I might be working on. The emails to catch up on. The invoices to send.

It takes up a lot of time. More than I had guessed it would. I have a babysitter come for a few hours at a time three days a week, but I still spend hours working when I'm home with the kids.

This was my choice, of course. I left my office job with a free and happy heart, thrilled to embark on this new journey. There are so many wonderful changes that have happened since I started working from home, since I said goodbye to daycare and soul-sucking commutes and missed dinners and the frantic sense that everything good was passing me by while I spun in place in a career I no longer enjoyed.

Still, there are things that are harder about this than I'd expected. I didn't know how awful it would make me feel to realize that my kids are now used to me asking them to please hush, I just need to get this done/make this call/finish this article, just a minute, hang on, give me 10 minutes guys.

We're home together all day, but oh god, is that what they'll remember? More than the trips to the park, the silly games, the midday pizza lunches at the mall, the homeschool activities? Their mother, hunched over a laptop?

I knew being a freelancer meant no more sick time, vacation time, or any other time off, but I didn't know how it would feel to take a short trip to California last week and find myself typing on a plane, typing in a car, skipping out on a fun dinner to try and work, wrestling with hotel wireless, missing a few deadlines and thus paycheck numbers, feeling terrible for not being able to do it all, and finally checking in with my article comments only to read things like:

Is this the best thing you could come up with to write about?

I must ask - do you actually LIKE writing about this stuff?

Wow.... just.... wow... you're a moron.... how does crap like this get published on this site?

(I told myself, don't let it bother you. Then I cried.)

I feel like I don't fit in with anyone I know anymore. I don't see anyone anymore. I'm working my ass off but I'm invisible. I'm home with my beloved boys but I don't know if I'm giving them what I should.

Some days it seems like the best life a person could ask for. Some days it just feels like the harder I try and balance it all, the more I do a half-assed job in every area.

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