Working at home seems to make people think that you are available 24 hours a days, 7 days a week. But the truth of the matter is that, while you are flexible, it is still better to be left alone to work!
Recently I had someone looking over my shoulder while I’m working and trying to find some files on my computer. And commenting on what was showing up there. Perhaps I don’t want people to see works until they reach a point where they are more presentable and recognizable in the manner that I want them to be. Or perhaps I simply want to work and not be interrupted. Or both.
Yes, my kids will sometimes come running in and ask questions while I’m working. This is expected, and they usually are very quick about it and then get on with their business. The worst is when my daughter is home on Thursday mornings. I know that I can’t work at all then! She gets bored, and so we use this time for one-on-one entertainment, when we can draw together, play games – lately we’ve been playing a lot of cards and other games, watch a movie, or read together (well, mostly me to her). And that’s fine! I work an odd schedule to accommodate my kids.
Every week I work all day Sunday. I take Sunday evenings to socialize with some friends and play games. And every other Saturday evening I do the same thing. That’s pretty much my whole social life. Then I work Monday and Tuesday pretty much from the time I get up until the time I go to sleep. These are the days that I don’t have my kids with me. And Wednesday I work until I pick my kids up at school. Then I will try to fit in work wherever I can in between them. This usually means that I can get a few hours done each day, especially Fridays, which I can often work 8 hours or more (partially because the whole morning they are at school).
Going away for the weekend means I have to take time off of work. And I don’t get paid for that. I don’t get paid vacations. I don’t get sick time. I don’t get bereavement leave. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It’s as simple as that. This, of course, makes a relationship difficult. Who is going to understand this? Maybe a woman who is self employed and does the same thing… Or maybe no-one. At least no-one I know. It gets frustrating being with people who don’t understand – even if they profess to – and show that lack of understanding through their behaviour. If a person gets angry because you change your work schedule to add a class instead of studio time on a work day, then there’s something wrong. That really isn’t understanding. And maybe that person isn’t going to get whatever it is she wants by dating someone who is self employed. At least not if that self employment means working an unusual schedule.
And, yes, I have stopped dating women in the past because of this conflict. There is not enough time for me to spend with them, it seems. Oh, well. It’s part of life, and I know that I would rather have the lifestyle I have than any worries about pleasing any friend, family member (outside my kids), or lover. It’s not worth the stress. And I do enjoy spending a lot of time with my kids, even if it is split over sporadic moments during the half-week that I get them (the other half they stay with their mom).