I had another conversation recently that highlights the misconception that because I don’t sit at a job 9-5 I don’t work. I thought about putting up a passive agressive facebook post about it, then thought better and decided to share my feelings on the matter in a more verbally satisfying format. This is more a rant than a rave and it’s very individualized to me so I expect to have to block some comments. That said. The conversation has happened to me more than once since my daughter was born. In fact, it happened even when I was working 40 hours a week in a Pub. Then it was “when will you get a real job?” or “are you going to school” as if my job, which paid my rent, bills, and car payments was somehow “not real” or had to be some sort of layover to the “real” world. It just wasn’t good enough for the people who saw me as an intelligent person full of potential. It didn’t matter that I was very happy, very satisfied and had plenty of money. They saw a service industry worker. That was it.
The conversation took on a different tone after my daughter was born. I worked from home for two years after she was born, doing transcription. It became too much to juggle a full time job with the duties of taking care of a stubborn toddler. So I let that work go. Now she’s five and I have gone back to work (very part time in the retail sector). And the conversations are back. Do I consider going back to school? Do I want a real job, now that she’s gone most of the day? Do I ever miss working? I also get that handful of people that think that since I’m at home a large part of my day I can take on extra work for them. Doing favors and chores or answering emails and questions the minute they arrive in my lap. Their impatience showing through in the tone of their followup emails or questions when I don’t immediately respond to them.
Let me tell you, just because I don’t leave home and sit behind a desk for 8 hours doesn’t mean I don’t work. Everyone’s work is different. Here’s a taste of my day.
If it’s a weekday (which it usually is) I’m up by 6:30 to get my daughter dressed, fed and out the door for school. I drive her, 6 miles round trip, taking about 30 minutes to get her in the car, to the school, find parking, out of the car, to the classroom and back home. Twice a week I go to work right after that and I’m there until it’s time to go get her. Sometimes I have time to run to the bank or to the store before I do, but not always. She’s home by 3:30 and our afternoons get taken up with homework (yes, they have homework in kindy) gymnastics, preparing dinner, cleaning the house, doing laundry (which doesn’t always get done, but hey, clean undies are in plentiful supply and that’s what counts). My husband is usually not home until around 7 (give or take) and teh kidlet is getting put to bed by 8. I then have two to three hours of “quiet” to work on one of the two large novel projects I’m working on, or to blog or write upa short story.
Now. Add on top of these normal weekdays the days I have Roller Derby practice. For those that want to say I don’t have to go to those, you are right. You also don’t have to go to the gym, or the movies or the library or whatever it is that keeps you sane, but you do. So I go to practice. Two days during the week. From 6ish-9ish depending on the location and whether I’m coaching or skating or if we have things to deal with. On Sundays it’s another two hours, up to five, depending on whether I’m coaching, skating, coaching a junior league or whatever. Add on the Board and committee work I do. And a Board and League meeting per month. You get the picture.
Now. I like to go to the library. I like to go for bike rides, I like to go to teh movies and read books and write. I write part time (about 20 hours a week)
Sounds pretty posh right? I’m not going to complain. But like everyone I know who works a full time, out of the house “real job” I have duties (hehe doodies) from the time I roll out of bed until I fall back into it. I am NEVER not on call with my daughter. I am NEVER not on call as a writer (which I am, regardless of published status so phhtt). I balance my time with derby with my time at work (the “real” job), home duties and personal time. Just like everyone else. I balance.
So the next time someone snarks at me, or demands a reply to their email or wants to know if I’ve “done the thing” I’m going to refer them to this post. Or ask them to kindly watch my daughter or go to work for me or finish my novel while I jump right on the thing that needs doing.