I've been working part-time for about a month now. It is truly, truly part-time—I just submitted my first invoice and I billed only 27 hours in the entire month of February—but finding those 27 hours has felt, at times, like an epic challenge.
Yes, the last month included winter vacation (5 fun-filled days without school) and this week includes early dismissal for parent-teacher conferences (also, the first time a teacher has specifically requested a that a conference take place but that is a freak out for another day), but it is clear that I have a lot to learn about balancing it all out.
More than once, I've eagerly completed some project during the morning and raced off to school pick up only to find a pesky question from my client that needles me until I can steal away from the kids again and deal with it. And, as an added insult, I find it takes me longer to settle into work—to clear my head and focus on the document in front of me instead of the millions of other things going on in the background. And conversely, I can't quite shake the blather of work—maybe that nonessential clause was actually kind of important after all—to focus on everything else.
One day last week I forgot to pack The Boy his snack for school. It was not the end of the world—the teacher actually has a stash of backup snacks in the classroom because this kind of thing happens all the time—but The Boy is particular and might not have eaten the snack. Which also would not have been the end of the world because OMG it's what, three hours between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and the afterschool snack and would it really be so terrible to skip just one snack? But I was a patsy and hand-delivered a snack to The Boy at school, feeling simultaneously like a patsy and like the worst mother in the history of mothers because I had forgotten his snack in the first place.
The challenge on the table now is this: what to do for summer vacation. Do I trust that my work will continue well enough to justify spending money on camps for the kids for at least part of the day or do I play it safe and wait to see what my workload is like closer to summer, even though camp options are drying up as I type?