So I’m going into week four of funemployment aka freelancing. There’s a lot to be said for being able to wake up whenever you want, taking extended holidays, making your own working hours, being in a position to pick and choose your projects… that is not my scenario. Not yet anyway.
I still wake up at the same time because well, I still have a child. I can’t expect Hein to do the morning run on his own – get our daughter ready for school, make sure she looks cute, pack her school lunch, make sure she’s fed and give her a kiss from mommy before leaving for the day. Can you imagine all of this going on while I languish in a horizontal position pretending I’m deep in sleep. No. That would be selfish. And as much as sleep calls, I don’t want to miss those morning moments. So I’m up at 6.30am as usual – though lately as my belly gets heavier and I lose more sleep from the constant bathroom runs throughout the night, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed closer to 7am.
After dropping off Maya at school, it’s off to drop off hubby at work. We use one car you see. After both our cars were broken into the first weekend we moved to Cape Town (one day after the other) we decided to leave Hein’s car at his work and park mine in the one garage allocated to our flat. We’ve learnt our lesson the hard way. This is one thing we’re not compromising on when we buy our next home. Two off-street parking bays – non negotiable.
After dropping him off I journey back home on the highway (it takes a joyful five minutes) I relax for an hour or so before starting work. Fighting off naps is probably the biggest struggle. Last week I made the rookie mistake of taking a nap at 1.30pm with every intention of it being a half-hour power nap. Well I only woke up at 4pm – which is the time I’m supposed to be on the road to pick up Maya and hubby. I felt horrible. Well rested but horrible because I’d wasted three valuable working hours. And the thing is – I can’t ignore what my body and baby craves. And that is rest. So the aim is to finish up on all my assignments by the first week of March. I keep having these nightmares/dreams that she’ll arrive sooner – oh the admin horror! Notifying all my commitments that I can’t complete the tasks – and also lose out on the money I’ve already budgeted for. But they say with the second, baby is bound to come later rather than sooner. So let me just relax.
Standing on the very precipice of labour is probably the worst time to start freelancing though so I guess this is not a real assessment of what funemployment is/should be like. In my panic to be able to take off two guilt-free months off I can’t afford to say no to the commissions coming in. First of all even after working in this industry for the past 9 years would you believe I still doubt my writing skills. It’s easy enough to edit and scribble all over someone else’s writing with the ‘track changes’ tool but when it comes to casting a critical eye over your own scrawlings – not as much. Will they be happy with it? Have I followed the brief? Will they commission me again? I always hold my breath when I attach my piece and click send… then I check it’s been sent and then I reread what I’ve sent and try to forget about it until I see the name of the commissioning editor pop into my inbox. And then of course, that unleashes a whole new wave of anguish.
And then of course, the money. When I used to be on the other side I used to think how presumptuous when a writer would attach their invoice in the same mail as the first draft of the commissioned piece. And nine times out of 10 there would be a problem with it. We’re not all the same but now with the roles reversed, I find it terribly embarrassing to hand in an invoice (to my own detriment) before you’ve received comment from the comm. ed. that they’re happy with it. Mostly though, this means you’ll probably miss that month’s accounts dept deadline and have to wait until the following month. I have to get the idea of pay day straight out of my head. It doesn’t exist for me.
But despite my moaning dear reader, I have to admit I no longer feel a weight on my shoulders. I snap less at my little girl when she comes home from school because truthfully, working in an office has its own sets of stress often only released at home. Sunday doesn’t fill me with a sense of dread – or ‘the fear’ as my husband calls it. The weeks are not as long. Nor the weekends too short. I can have lunch with a friend and not have to keep glancing at my watch. I can go shopping in the middle of the day and not at 5pm when the rest of the working population is doing it, or worse – over the weekend! It’s the little things that contribute to a better sense of being.
So for now, I think I’m right where I’m supposed to be.