Friday, 28 May 2010

Stress monster

There are many times when I am glad to be a freelance writer. The days when I can sneak out of my office for a swift cuddle with the twins, the mornings I can spend wandering up to school and discussing, life, the universe and Star Wars with my boy, the odd occasion when I can play hooky and have coffee with my boys after school, but then there are days like today when I wish that I was either a proper mummy or a proper employee.

Trouble is Bank Holidays don't really register when you are self employed so when I got a commission late yesterday to write something for Tuesday I said yes without a second thought, not realising that the rest of the world was already in holiday mode and getting anyone to comment would be like finding a stiff whisky in a temperance meeting.

Though perhaps this is better than those people who vaguely say they will call when they can, for which read the phone will ring when you are up to your ears in changing a nappy, burning the pizza, refereeing a screaming match or saving a child from almost certain death.

There have been many times when I have answered the phone to a very important interviewee or editor whist dangling a baby coated in poo from his ankles, then there have been the times when the Xbox has had to step in swiftly to play the role of nanny to keep the boys quiet while I rush upstairs to my office and put on my professional voice. there was the awful time when my firstborn rolled off the bed in seconds when I'd turned my back to listen to a phone call from a PR. Oh the shame.

You see us freelancers are like a hybrid between working and stay at home mums. The perks can be good, but when the going gets tough and you have to combine being a mum with some semblance of professionalism, the cracks soon begin to yawn. Today I find myself standing on a rumbling San Andreas fault line, anxiously waiting for that emminent professor to call when I am in the middle of wiping a particularly ripe bottom.


  1. I understand how you feel, but would cherrish some work, any work at the moment!

  2. I know how you feel and have often been in that situation! I remember doing a phone interview once and hearing distant screams, which I decided to ignore. It turned out LB1 had crawled off his playmat and got himself wedged between a chair and the radiator. Luckily the radiator wasn't on...

  3. This could have been written by me! I try to never miss an opportunity to revel in a luxurious hours lunch on the patio with the husband (who also works from home), or the game of french cricket which spontaneously breaks out in the garden after the sun goes down, or the fact that if one of the boys is ill it's no biggie he can't go to school as I'm here anyway (we would never have coped with no.1's CFS over the last year if we worked outside the home, that's for sure).
    But... trying to find a quiet room of the house to take an important call post-school is simply impossible (HOW do four children fill up a relatively large house quite so much?). School holidays mean way too much TV/XBox/Wii time during the day - or consistent 2a.m. bedtimes to make up the lost time.
    But I wouldn't change it. Most days I feel as though I'm juggling too much, and doing nothing properly... but it's still a far far better life than any other I could imagine.

  4. i can only imagine.
    too hard!

  5. TMH - grass is always greener as they say. I know when I have no work I am in just as much of a panic as when I have too much.

    NVG - You made me laugh, though I probably shouldn't, but I know that you feel my pain, as you have been there and done it too.

    MF - Clearly you have stared into my life, and seen my poor boys glued to the television for the majority of their holidays. Not that they seem to mind, but I feel achingly guilty - note to self, stop reading the Daily Mail.