A while back BBC Woman’s Hour asked on their Twitter account how women who had their own business at home managed to combine all aspects of their life. I was amused, wondering how many women would possibly find the time to reply!
So, late, but resolute, here I am and here is a typical day (today) in my life as a self-employed translator.
7:00 Wake up. Dash into toilet or hold it till much, much later when everyone’s gone.
7:15 Wake up Kids, cuddle toddler who doesn’t have to get up yet but inevitably does, tell husband to get out of bathroom (Yes, we have just one bathroom, three teenagers and one toddler, one dog, two cats). Either dash out with dog if all quiet, or go to shops for last minute breakfast/packed lunch.
7:45 Somehow extricate myself of chaos and make a packed lunch for my eldest who walks to school so he leaves early.
7:50 Silently thank Husband who is completely self-sufficient and requires no assistance from me, deal with any last minute lost things, notes handed in, requests, etc.
8:10 Husband is gone, teenagers get on bikes and go.
8:30 Encourage toddler to finish breakfast, allow her to watch a little tv, reassure Dog we will go out later (he’s been whining gently all this time), get uniform, get her dressed, run around looking for the book bag, the notes, the homework, get on bike.
8:55 Deliver Toddler by bike safely to the school. Cycle back and perhaps stop for some last minute things.
9:00 Out for walk with desperate doggy. Throw grass, throw sticks, pick up poo, very occasional quick chat with other dog walkers. Choose between field before new walking bridge or Stourbridge Common. Have inspiring thoughts, wonder when I’ll see my favourite friends again.
9:40 Return from walk. Hang out clothes to dry. Put on new wash. Pick up any poo in the garden. Feed cats (Actually, feed cats as soon as possible as they get ravenous). Feed dog who will have followed me throughout the whole thing. Pick up what I can on way up. Ignore anything that needs washing, cleaning, tidying.
10:00 Sit down for breakfast in front of computer, check emails, reply to emails, make any calls, cancel and book appointments with doctors or what have you. Read Tweets.
10:56 Interrupt blog post and go make myself a long-awaited coffee. Vaguely plan how to get my computer back downstairs so Dog can sit by me (he is now lying at bottom of the stairs, breaking my heart).
11:17 Pay for National Geographic Subscription, check credit card balance for someone who needs to buy tickets, read article and listen to one very beautiful song thanks to a poll on twitter by friend Hester, write to person about credit not being enough and to top up, check Husband‘s blog post for him, leave Feedback for Amazon shops who delivered bunk beds and mattresses. Check through mail for any other leftover stuff to do in emails.
11:30 Look into places to buy silver for my jewellery course. Stop immediately to buy air tickets with newly topped up Credit Card. Make note that boys need to take pics for their passport.
11:54 Finish with booking, make note to try again for final ticket, have a quick look for silver, then get ready to go to the school.
12:15 Go to appt with toddler’s teacher at 12:30
12:44 Back from appt., put summer shoes away, start looking at silver suppliers again.
12:52 Give up on silver suppliers, not having the faintest clue how to work the website, write to Jewellery teacher to explain and ask her – please – to buy the silver and stones for me.
13:18 Answer texts and organize a couple of things for meeting friends. Write to High School teacher about our third girl.
13:38 Go and prepare a little something for lunch, then come back and look for translation customers.
13:54 Finally looking for customers, as I eat.
The rest of the day, providing there aren’t interruptions and unexpected events:
14:40 Get Toddler’s swimming stuff together
14:55 Go get Toddler from school and straight to swimming classes.
16:15 Return from swimming classes and see how Girl’s first day at new School went. Perhaps do a little homework/reading with toddler.
16:50 Try and drag all kids to supermarket for passport pictures and new school uniform things. Probably fail.
18:00 If not failed, return from Supermarket and say hello to husband. Various happy chaos and then dinner and then toddler to sleep, perhaps chat with kids then final episode of Breaking Bad and perhaps House or Fringe and then SLEEP!
That is a pretty typical day.
If work is actually in the plan, everything gets shoved aside a little more, and somehow work manages to get done in the midst of this.
Working from home is not easy, doesn’t make you lots of money, but it’s worth every sacrifice despite the chaos it descends you in to BE there for your children, friends and animals (ah yes, Doggy does get an extra walk if there is time).
I totally recommend it. And despite the madness and chaos (you noticed didn’t you there wasn’t any house tidying or cleaning in there?), despite temptation into good jobs under an employer, I just can’t give up my freedom. My schedule may be packed and chaotic, but it’s MY schedule. And hey, I can listen to all the music I want, WITHOUT headphones.