Paid work = the best break I didn’t know I needed.

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I recently wrapped up a paid writing gig (hence why I went AWOL for a couple weeks—sorry bout that, but…money). It required that I visit several design stores around the city and refresh their listings. There’s a little more to it, but that’s the gist. Obviously there was no way I could drag a toddler with a very low attention span along. I mean even if she was the picture of calm, it wouldn’t be very professional (or enjoyable—no offence kid!). Meaning, the only time I could work was if my MIL or mum watched L (or on weekends when Jose could fill in—thanks again babe!). So I did all of my research when I could lock a grandma down and all of my writing when she was fast asleep. So not really any room for blog stuff.

I definitely had a few moments where I felt completely stuck. I took one call (and only one) when Leni was up, which ended with her screaming and writhing on the floor (when I wouldn’t give her the phone) while I hid in the bathroom in hopes the closed door would block out the sound. I’m sorry love, but the owner of (insert high-end store name here) didn’t call to listen to mostly incomprehensible toddler babble interspersed with long silences (not to mention all the random background noises as you toss your toys and the phone around the room).

From then on calls were designated to nap-time as well. In fact, the nap-time task list was pretty long some days and I’d cross my fingers for a tired babe (and the always coveted though fairly elusive 3-hour midday rest).

Oddly enough, those forced breaks—when I couldn’t write or work no matter how effective my distraction tactics were—just made me more driven and efficient when I could work. Meaning, it didn’t require any all-nighters because, well, screw that. I will give up my sleep for my mummy duties (with a lot of reluctance, mind you, and likely a fair bit of whining), but that’s about it. Jose will attest to this.

I guess the takeaway here is that I can accomplish a lot—without an inordinate amount of stress—just by thoughtfully planning ahead and managing my time. Go figure.

Life still goes on. I still have to get food on the table, make it to all our weekly activities, complete my domestic duties, workout (for my sanity), et. al. Unlike my unencumbered past, I can’t neglect everything else while I focus on this one thing and accomplishing that feat felt pretty darn good. So, here I am, patting myself on the back. Well done, you.

Also, it was fun! I loved being an individual (independent of my toddler for once), mapping out my schedule, meeting new people, and collecting intel. I relished carefully crafting each listing to inform and entertain (with the added challenge of fitting into a very tight word count). It was demanding and exhilarating and, I’d like to do another one, thanks.

So yes. Outside of figuring out that I can be a semi-capable human at times, I also learned a few other things of import. One, I miss deadlines and interacting with adults and just generally working (in a different environment from my home). I’m not sure if this means renting a Hot Desk (and actively seeking out more paid writing work—not really a bad idea either way, non?) or finding a part time job, but I do know it means that I need more help to accomplish one or both of those things. That brings me to my second realization (that wasn’t all that surprising), I have to seriously start looking for some (affordable) part-time child care. Jose’s mum watches the lass two mornings a week (while I go to the gym) and I would be lost without those breaks (and L loves her time with her Baba). Having said that, this gig really highlighted that I need more time designated for myself and it’s not fair to rely entirely on Tomoko. I’m also not sure it’s great for my relationship with her. Giving up my gym-time is not an option so it all comes back to outside care.

Looks like I have some research to do…

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