Lawmummy (a.k.a. Kelly), one of my fellow Disney ex-bloggers, has a heartbreaking post up today. It’s about whether “kids being kids,” while you are under a boatload of external stress already, can make you resent, and even regret, ever having had them to begin with.
As I commented on her post, I can so totally relate. The last six weeks of every school year mean I parent almost single-handedly, as Rain Dog focuses on finals and grading and panicky parents and students. This year was no different, with the last week of school especially grueling as I helped him grade finals late each night. Hamlet could tell that we were both preoccupied, and started to act out to get our attention. The more frustrated I got, the more he acted out: throwing toys, hitting us, and even hurting his brother. (You know – the hug that makes the baby cry?) Even after Rain Dog was home for a few days, it took Hamlet that long to return to his sweet self. Me, too.
In prior years, having Rain Dog home for 10 weeks has always been a tough transition. I expect that he’ll be around to watch the kids so I can work (at long last), while he expects that I will continue to watch the kids so he can accomplish house projects he’s been putting off. This year, I think we were both so relieved to have the school year over with that we were more willing to accommodate each other right from the get-go. We make trade-offs on a daily and sometimes an hourly basis. It’s working so well that if healthcare weren’t in such a horrible state in this country, I’d happily accept it if Rain Dog said he wanted to self-employ and work from home, too.
Going back to regrets, I think Kelly’s post affected me especially because even apart from the last few weeks, the question “Would I have done it differently?” has been on my mind. The loss of Disney income is significant, and I have to find a way to make it up. My business model lately has involved the kind of work I can do in short bursts – around two needy kids – and, sadly, has been more reactive than proactive. That means I take work that’s offered to me, but I don’t go out looking for it – not while time is at a premium. And all I can think is how much easier it would be if I didn’t have kids, or at least if they were older.
So, I’ve been doing what comes easiest: focusing on my network. I’ve talked to other freelancers and I now have a few potential freelance jobs, either from other mothers or people who understand my needs as a mother. That’s a lot better than going to some freelance bid site and worrying about what I’m likely to get for a client.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my family. We still have a lot going on, but that week showed us what we don’t want to be like – which has ultimately made it easier for us to enjoy each other as a family. That was the whole point of working from home to begin with.