rivka: (her majesty)
[personal profile] rivka
It's 10:30pm on a Thursday. I'm sitting cross-legged on the couch with my laptop, a glass of wine on the coffee table in front of me. To my right, in easy petting range, is a sleeping beagle. To my left is a copy of Creative Problem Solving in School Mathematics, which arrived in the mail today for Alex's delectation. Since I read Alex her bedtime Eva Ibbotson chapter about an hour ago, I've been making a series of small changes to my professional website while chatting with my friends on Facebook and occasionally peeking into the math book.

This is the way my life goes, these days. It's less about "work/life balance" than it is about work and life woven together into a seamless fabric. Which has its ups and downs... but honestly, so many more ups. It used to be such a strain to maintain separate work and home lives, attempting to give the impression in each setting that it was the only one that really mattered to me.

I have a babysitter for one afternoon a week, and she called me this afternoon to cancel for tomorrow. She's sick. That's the sort of thing that used to throw me into a panic. Whether I was strictly needed at work (sometimes I was, sometimes I wasn't) was immaterial - it was necessary that I be perceived as someone whose children didn't interfere with her career responsibilities.

Now? I see clients out of an office in the Baltimore Homeschool Community Center. My kids usually come to work with me. It's a shame that they'll have to be there all afternoon tomorrow - I'm solidly booked with clients from 12 to 430ish - but it's only a shame because they'll have to occupy themselves all afternoon instead of having Lauren lead them in fabulous art projects. Since the homeschool center is officially closed on Fridays, we can even bring Moxie with us tomorrow.

There was a day that happened this summer: We were planning to go to a picnic/park day, but I hadn't quite finished a report that was due that afternoon. So I brought my laptop with me to the park. The kids scooped up water squirters from a pile someone had brought and went running off to join in an epic Teens vs. Little Kids water war. I sat down in the picnic shelter, fastened Moxie's tie-out cable to the bench under me, and finished my report right there. Our friends greeted me cheerfully and then left me in peace to work. No one made me feel like a weirdo - or worse, an inadequate mother - for bringing work to the park. When I finished, I stowed my laptop in my backpack and slipped right into the conversation circles. We all went wading in the creek and the kids caught some crawdads.

Later that afternoon came the interpretive interview in which I explained my evaluation findings to my teenaged client and his family. They really wanted me to come to their house for the session, so they set up LEGOS and other toys in their living room for my kids and sat with me at the dining room table, on the other side of a set of glass doors. I taught them about what I'd learned and what they should do about it - my client's mother said later, in a letter, that "it was like a whole factory of candles lit up at once." And the kids and I stopped off for ice cream on the way home.

This is the life I've wanted, and didn't know that it was okay to ask for. Instead of a juggling act to perfectly balance a thousand things, it feels more like many facets of one thing. I don't worry even a tenth as much about how I seem... I just am. And it's good.

Date: 2014-11-21 04:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ratphooey.livejournal.com
This post is everything.

Date: 2014-11-21 06:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clstal.livejournal.com
Yes. I didn't know how to respond to this post (but I've read it 6 times and keep coming back to it), but you've nailed it.

This is _everything_.

Date: 2014-11-21 04:58 am (UTC)
ckd: two white candles on a dark background (candles)
From: [personal profile] ckd
That sounds absolutely wonderful, and I'm glad it's come together for you.

Date: 2014-11-21 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ljgeoff.livejournal.com
Such a lovely post. :)

Date: 2014-11-21 07:51 am (UTC)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu
That's excellent. I'm glad to hear it.

Date: 2014-11-21 11:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] supergee.livejournal.com
Good. You deserve it.

Date: 2014-11-21 12:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamjw.livejournal.com
This is wonderful to hear. I'm so happy for you.

Date: 2014-11-21 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wcg.livejournal.com
It is very good indeed.

Date: 2014-11-21 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] green-knight.livejournal.com
That sounds wonderful. Given that not everybody *can* opt for this lifestyle - this isn't criticism that you do, it's *great* that you do, and I wish more people followed their bliss, it makes me happy to observe it - but there are many jobs that need people to *be* away from their kids for longer periods of time and work regular (or irregular) hours.

What are the lessons you wish employers would learn from this? What would have made your life easier when you were employed?

Date: 2014-11-22 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selki.livejournal.com
This puts a smile on my face. I'm so glad it's working so well for you.

Date: 2014-11-24 06:49 pm (UTC)
ailbhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ailbhe
Oh that's glorious.

Date: 2014-12-02 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] johnpalmer.livejournal.com
I had known you were capable of greatness, and I think it's safe to say you've achieved it after a fashion :-). It's truly amazing to imagine, build, and live a dream.

I've been too emotional lately, but I hope I never use that as an excuse to fail to say something like this: knowing that people like you are out in the world, and *doing* in the world, helps give me hope.

(Yeah, a bit silly, a bit overstated. So what? I'm allowed to be weird :-).)

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