When I was pregnant with my second child, my thoughts turned to what our lives would be like when I went back to work. I definitely wanted to go back to work – I enjoy my job and get a lot of fulfilment from having that area of my life. My husband and I agreed that it made sense for me to try to make a go of freelancing, part-time.
Eighteen months later, our oldest has started school and things have changed again. I am still working for myself as a freelancer, and our family balance is, overall, working really well.
Except, of course, when it doesn’t. When the careful spinning of the plates doesn’t quite come together and one crashes to the floor. Like today. Today, the boys were supposed to go to school / nursery while I worked from home. We had a medical appointment booked for my little boy in the middle of the day, but I still had plenty of time to do a few small bits of work for a couple of clients, write this blog, and do a half day of work for a new client on a big project before heading off at 5:30 to do the nursery / school pickups.
But the little one wasn’t playing ball. He woke up under the weather – nothing specific, just that general whimpering malaise that only the parent of a toddler with a snotty nose and a slight temperature can really know. I knew nursery would take one look at him and send him packing.
Luckily Daddy was able to do school drop with big brother, leaving me to attempt to get some breakfast into small, washed down with Calpol, and put him back to bed. I thought I could crack on with the big project work first. I logged in, but the information I needed hadn’t been sent to me as requested. Bother.
Oh well, I thought. I chased it and then got on with the small tasks I had, ticking them off my list as I went.
My thoughts turned to the appointment we had booked later on. I realised that talking small would be a mammoth pain in the proverbial – we were going to be in a hurry to minimise school missed, and last time he came along he was a big distraction when his brother needed to be concentrating. It was 10am. The appointment was at noon.
I called a friend who I knew would be working from home. She didn’t answer. I sent her a message – and then, knowing she never has her phone on her, I followed up with an email. (If I had been thinking clearly I would have just emailed but hindsight is always 20:20!) Thankfully, she agreed to come around and work in my kitchen and keep an ear out in case he woke while I was out. Excellent.
Checked back for the info I was waiting on. Still nothing. Got my notepad out and started making a big list of all the things I need to do this week in every area of my life (including order our Christmas tree – our school have a deal with a supplier but a very early deadline!!).
Just as I was about to get up to let my friend in, the info I had been waiting on arrived. “Brilliant”, I replied, “I will look at this this afternoon”.
The appointment went like clockwork. I got home, got up the still-sleeping youngest and made lunch for us all. I was relieved to see he was feeling much better and he did manage to eat some lunch. Including rather a lot of brie and a few olives. A true European!
I should add that this child is a sleeper, even when he’s well. So I fully expected that this afternoon he would go down for another sleep, and I would have a chunk of time on this big project. Ha ha ha. How I laugh at my foolishness. OF COURSE he didn’t want to go back to sleep.
My hopes of a productive day slowly dissolved. Well, almost. I thought it would be apt to write this with him popping over to me and asking for something every few minutes! Soon we’ll go and fetch his big brother from school and the usual evening chaos will begin. And tomorrow… Well, I cross my fingers that tomorrow, he’ll be well enough to go to nursery.