For the last couple of years, Rain Dog has talked increasingly about quitting his job to stay home full-time. At first it was just him blowing off steam. But recently, and especially since the possibility of moving south became more distinct, he has talked about it more seriously.
Obviously the bills need to get paid. So if we move out of state, and we don’t know anyone and we’re not familiar with the area, what would I do for work? Well, obviously: freelance full-time!
The boys are at tough ages. Ultra-needy for lots of attention, they bombard us with demands to play with them, read to them, sit with them. I love the idea of being able to spend hours per day exercising my brain, so that I have the energy to be a mother at other times. This was a large part of the reason why I committed to four contracts all due August 1: trial run, to get a feel for what we might face.
I have not liked what we’ve experienced.
The work is going great. Two articles involve my regular source, so I’ve been having a lot of fun. One other article got deferred (the source decided the prototypical project wasn’t ready for media coverage), and the other… well, the other may be late. (The media contact listed in the press release is no longer working for the company I’m to contact. Heaven forfend she should have called me back and told me, instead of allowing me to waste two weeks trying to reach her.)
So I’ve been a busy girl. Last week, in particular, I burned through about a dozen interviews. And the boys burned through Rain Dog.
I knew exactly how he felt, and as he spiraled down into a summer flu of some sort, I felt worse about leaving him to their mercy. But my articles were growing rapidly, way past their word limits, and I knew I’d need this upcoming week to edit (savagely) and do last-minute follow-ups with my sources.
When I’m done, I’m taking the month of August off. I have no contracts through fall, although my source has more articles he wants me to work on with him. I’d love to keep going. We’re working towards what would appear to be a long-term collaboration, which has always been a dream of mine as a freelancer.
But the way this summer has gone–lack of home sale, stay-at-home-dad frustration, and my own guilt–I’m not a hundred percent convinced it really would be best for our family. And I won’t know for quite awhile yet, a month or two at least. It’s really rather depressing. Despite the guilt, I’ve really enjoyed this month. I’ve felt alive again. And the thought of going through yet another northern New England winter as “just” Mama… well. I don’t really have to describe what I think about that, do I?
Uncertainty is part of every freelancer’s life. That’s what keeps it interesting. But sometimes I would really just love to have something nailed down. I know, I know. The most important things already are: the love of my family and friends, the faith that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing. The question over whether I should be doing it full-time or not, though… well, that can throw everything else out of whack. Weeks like this, it sure would be nice to have a real job!