Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Part timer

My life is made up of part time roles; part time mother, part time worker and part time writer (my husband might point out part time wife, sadly all too true, even more of a part time housewife as the thick dust in my house testifies all too well.). I'm a rubbish sister, a distant friend and a busy daughter. Going out is a vague memory and every card is sent late, if at all.
The problem with doing everything part time is that I never feel like I get do any of it really well. I don't stay late at work, leaping out the door the second the clock strikes three (metaphorically of course, I use the computer to tell the time). I have never been to some of our most iconic sites because there isn't time for me to get there and back, if I do have to work late I need a lot of notice - and collect my lieu time religiously not because I begrudge the the time but because I just can't spare it. This explains why I earn less at nearly forty than I did at thirty and have slid so far down the career pole there's no heaving my soon-to-be-middle-aged carcass back up it.
Because I work part time I manage, just, to be around for my 8yo in term time. I drop her off and pick her up from school, remind her to practice her violin no matter the personal pain, go over spellings and times tables and ferry her to a truly staggering amount of activities whilst managing to forcefeed her fruit and veg. There's always more though; her school seems to demand a lot of parent time for sports days, assemblies, concerts, to accompany trips, to read, to run fetes, make flapjacks. I have never once made flapjacks. We rarely stay at the park after school because I need to get back, play dates are few and far between despite my vow to have an open house for her friends. I seem to spend a lot of time promising 'later' but later never materialises.
As for writing. Every spare moment is poured into it to the detriment of pretty much everything else. I make it to the hairdressers twice a year tops because I begrudge using my vital free time for anything but writing. I want to get into a healthy exercise routine but just don't know where to find the time; my latest idea is to get a cross trainer for the house so I can combine reading with exercising. A true multi tasker. And yet progress is painfully slow. Of course the old procrastination is partly to blame for that,
What I need is one of the time turn-back things Hermione uses in the Prisoner of Azkaban, or to be like the Lawrence Block hero who, thanks to a conveniently place bullet, never sleeps. He uses his extra 8 hours a day to learn languages, read great works of literature, sleep with many women and assassinate people. I would use mine to write for four hours a day, exercise, read and to bake flapjacks whenever they were required. I might finally get round to watching Battlestar Galatica and learning to sew on 8yo's Cub badges too.
And just think, with eight extra hours a day how much more procrastinating I could do.


Anonymous said...

I know how you feel, I've worked part time too, and it's almost as if your day/week is busier than when you were full time.

I work 6 days a week and study part time and it's a real struggle to fit in writing. I've actually taken to writing on the bus and in my lunch hour - suspect it will be in the bath next too!

I think we just have to prove everyone wrong and show that actually were are doing what we do pretty well indeed.

Xandra James said...

I can't comment on your parenting or work, but by spending your extra time writing, it's definitely paying off.

I must admit, writing has taken over all my time too and, like you, I start to resent doing anything else with my extra time (my poor hair is suffering!!)

Here's wishing you much success in all your roles ;D

Charlotte Phillips said...

I know that feeling so well! I had a recent moan on my blog about the feeling I wasn't doing anything well and Maisey Yates left me a huge reply detailing all the things she used to do before being published to fit in writing and banish guilt. My house is a pigsty much of the time, I think the key is finding a way not to beat yourself up about it. My big thing, like you, is the three kids, so I try and do their stuff as a priority, then the writing, then last on the list the house.

The one thing I did find that helped loads was 1k a day - it was amazing how that count mounted up and how it enabled me to focus on other things once the words were out of the way.