The summer holidays have always struck a sense of fear in me … predominantly a financial one because I’ve always had to auction off a liver to pay for 7 weeks of full time childcare. However, this year I am officially A FREELANCER and so I (naïvely) thought this would be the year where everything would be perfect.
Oh how I laughed.
I had visions of having A Schedule. I would work in the morning, 8-12 and Dexter would wait patiently for me whilst perhaps perusing some educational books. Once I finished work at exactly midday, we would have a leisurely lunch together and he would, of course, not only help in said preparation but also in the ensuing housework. We would go to a country park and walk for hours, stopping only to snack on a (very healthy) picnic and talk about our hopes and dreams for the future. We would complete the day by him volunteering to have a bath every evening, tidying his bedroom and going to bed perhaps half an hour later than usual.
The reality is so SO different that I could cry.
Instead, I wake up at 7.30 and look for my laptop to begin work, only to find he’s crept in already and taken it to watch WWE on YouTube because he “can’t find” his iPod that “has been stolen by someone” … aka it’s lost in his room under a sea of dirty pants. I call out for him to bring the laptop back. He does. Half an hour later.
It’s now 8am.
He plays on his PS3 for an hour so I can begin my work for my main client. I keep deliberately quiet so he forgets I’m here (that’s awful isn’t it?!) but I am desperate for the toilet.
I risk it.
He’s heard me go to the loo and comes in for a chat … whilst I’m having a wee. Of course he does. This is par for the course as far as parenting goes and I can only hope that there will be a time when the novelty wears off for him. It wore off for me eight years ago.
He comes into bed with me to have a chat and that’s fine. For ten minutes. During the proceeding hour he has done the following:
- Asked for food 14 times – he wants toast, no … a toasted cheese sandwich. Wait … can he have eggs instead. Chocolate? Can he have bacon with the eggs? And extra toast?
- Taken control of my laptop or phone to connect Netflix to the TV. There will only be one of three things he’ll watch – Sherlock, Dr Who or Coming to America. Sherlock wins. Again.
- Laid on me. I don’t mind a loving mother and son cuddle, but I’m talking about full on laying on me so he’s facing the ceiling. It seems I am so much more comfortable than a double bed.
- Asked again if he can have ice cream. It’s now only 11am.
During all of the above, I continue to try my best to finish work and, invariably, I do. And the guilt that I’m failing my child is TREMENDOUS.
He wants my attention. He wants me. He understands my need to work but doesn’t care because he loves me and all he wants is to be around me. And yet I can’t help but sometimes get cross because a) I’m human, b) I always insist on doing an excellent job for my clients (and my blog) because that’s just how I roll and it’s really frustrating trying to juggle everything and c) if I don’t earn money, who will?
To say working as a freelancer during the summer holidays is a case of juggling a few more balls is an understatement. Do I have the answer? Not really … we just muddle on through hoping that we make it to the beginning of next term in one piece. He plays on his PS3 more than I’d like and all those days out I planned three weeks ago … well, I’ve managed a few.
I could, and should, do better, I just don’t have the answers and like all working parents, I have no choice but to keep on … keeping on. Oh, and occasionally do silly things like this:
In the meantime, I have some Tweets to post, a blog post to research and a ten year old boy to feed. Again.