Parenting, work and moving goalposts

Of course becoming a parent is never going to change any of us.

Then you wake up one morning and the penny drops: your whole life (home and work) is now arranged around meals, naps, snacks, drop-offs, pick-ups and bedtimes.  In the early days you find yourself describing four hours’ sleep as “a good night” and only realise months later why the person you were talking to looked so horrified.  Then you blink and the naps you relied on for time to get things done are well and truly a thing of the past and that gives you more freedom to leave the house and, at the same time, fewer hours in which to work.

You adjust miraculously quickly to spending time in the company of a little someone who thinks it’s absolutely fine to be fascinated by giant slugs and spiders’ webs, to make up songs and to do a silly dance in the street, only to turn around and discover that you are now, apparently, being weird and embarrassing and should stop, immediately.

It feels as though the school run has always been the book-end at the beginning and end of your working day, and then you find the lines have become blurry with after school clubs and playing with friends and “I don’t want to play, I’m reading my book.”

The only thing that’s certain is change!

A home-based business seems, somehow to morph along with life in general.  There are head-splitting clashes, of course: contracts that begin on the same day as the school holidays; sick days; the time you said ‘yes’ to everyone too many times and then it was your turn to have a screaming meltdown instead of the toddler.  But the overall shape can be made to fit the shape of family life, most of the time.

Everyone talks a lot about not having enough time.  But change is a constant and maybe, like me, you’ll one day find yourself in this situation: the child needs you in a less time-intense way and the work you have doesn’t fill the time available.  You have time to think and time to spare and begin to know that this time, you can create the next change yourself.  You can develop your business instead of squeezing it into the cracks.  But that’s a challenge when the business was designed to fit those very cracks which are widening around you.  How do you work out what shape it’s supposed to be?

I’m slowly working out the next steps.  How about you?  Do you have more time than you used to, or less? How do your work and your family fit together today, and how do you decide what changes to make when change becomes inevitable?

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