November walls are closing in

I don’t know if it’s the change in weather, or the in-betweenness, or just the relentlessness of the school runs, but the inevitable low has hit and hit hard. A month ago, I celebrated six months as a freelancer – happy with my CV of published articles and thrilled with a blog award. Of course, I tempted fate and wrote about it. Now the beautiful autumn gold has turned to grey November rain, and the days feel indoorsish and closed-in. Euphoria has been smothered by a sense of being trapped.

Since I left my old job, I’ve been asked many times what it’s like being a stay-at-home mum. I understand the question – I’m at home in the afternoons and don’t need childcare right now. But rightly or wrongly, it always feels important to me to mention that I work. Perhaps it shouldn’t matter, but it does. So when I’m asked what it’s like being at home, I usually mention work somewhere in the answer.

And now for the first time, I’m questioning it. Although nothing has changed, the time spent doing school runs and house stuff feels much greater than the time spent working. Perhaps  the novelty has worn off, or perhaps it’s the weather, or perhaps it’s just the inevitable low that follows every high.

Freelancing by definition is a rollercoaster of peaks and troughs, and I knew that going in, but what I didn’t realise was that my feelings about freelancing would have peaks and troughs too. There’s so much I want to do, and there are very few hours each morning to do it. Before I know it, it’s time to go to preschool, and then begins the three-hour cycle of pick-ups, followed by the three-hour run of homework and food and clearing and cooking and sorting and tidying. Then back to work after they go to bed, then do it all again the next day. And maybe until next year’s longer school hours mean longer work hours, this is the way it will be.

I am not ungrateful, and I’m not even all that surprised – life is more interesting when it’s not just a straight line; the downsides are necessary – or so I keep telling myself.

My wise career-coach told me there comes a dip after any big change in life, no matter how positively it begins – I just can’t remember what she said about fixing it. Maybe there’s no fix, it’s just a matter of getting through, and hoping the grey clouds lift.

November rain - office mum
November rain

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Side note:

My daughter decided to tell my fortune today, using her A to Z of Rainbow Magic Fairies book. So apparently, the new year will be “misty and unfamiliar” (reassuringly unsurprising), next week will be “festivalish” (curious) and tomorrow will be “sunny and golden” – I’ll take that.

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5 thoughts on “November walls are closing in”

  1. I think November to the end of February is always rough going with the school runs etc, just keep the head down and do it, hopefully the Christmas fog will keep you going. There’s no shame in telling people that you work too, don’t apologise for that, and many of them probably just mean the fact that you’re doing the school run. Your posts on this topic are really making me realise that the faraway hills aren’t necessarily greener, so I do love to hear the updates. For what it’s worth, I think that you’re doing great 🙂 and I’d love your daughter to read my fortune too please.
    Sinead @ bumbles of rice recently posted…Let Them All Like Pink and Princesses. Even The Girls.My Profile

  2. These faraway hills are definitely not greener at the moment – they’re quite grey and miserable 🙂
    I suppose every job has its highs and lows, but I think the difference I’m finding with freelancing is that the lows are more lonely than working in an office. Thanks goodness for the internet!
    I will ask her to read your fortune – I suspect she’ll something about a new handbag…

  3. Having been all three-SAHM, WAHM (not a fan of acronyms but they’re handy sometimes!!) and office worker Mum, I reckon WAHM is the hardest type of all! Its so hard to separate yourself from being mum-cleaner, cook, kisser of boo-boos, taxi driver, etc. from worker when both your office and your house are one and the same building. It’s also why even though I crave the freedom freelance work gives, I just don’t think I’m cut out for it. It’s a hard gig to get right and for what its worth I think you’re nailing it so far.
    Aedín recently posted…The procrastinator’s guide to handing in an assignmentMy Profile

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