Does anyone really work in their PJs?

At the end of last week I had one of those perfect ‘pick-me-up’ moments that are sadly becoming increasingly rare in the freelance feature writing game.

At least in my (recent) experience, when sometimes even actually getting paid for completed work can be an uphill struggle.

A lovely commissioning editor I work with emailed to let me know when an article I’d written for her magazine would be running and added that the editor apparently loved the piece I’d penned.

Isn’t it amazing how a two-line email can brighten your day?! And after a week when I’d been struck down by some dreaded virus from hell, making juggling work and the little people much trickier than usual, her timing couldn’t have been better.

Anyway all this, plus several days’ experience of trying to type cogent copy with a raging temperature and limited childcare, got me thinking about the big list of pros and cons that adds up to working from home.

It goes without saying that when you’ve always commuted to an office, the idea of running a business from inside your own house sounds incredibly indulgent. After all you don’t have to go out in the pouring rain and cold to get the bills paid, so just that fact alone should improve your quality of life, right?

Not to mention being able to get chores done at the same time, thus surely saving you time, having your fridge and Facebook on tap, plus the enviable ability to work in your grubby PJs without brushing your hair for two days, should you so wish.

This is certainly what I thought freelancing from home must be like – before actually taking the plunge into the self-employment game, with children.

And there certainly are big, BIG pros to ‘lap-topping’ your day away at the dining room table.

The inclement weather factor is certainly true, and that many means many fewer frizzy hair days too. A vain point maybe, but still worth considering (especially when you have hair like mine that looks permanently as if I have just inserted my finger in an electrical socket.)

Quickly ‘grabbing’ lunch is literally as easy as walking into the kitchen and slapping two slices of bread on a plate.

If not too busy I can catch up with a TV programme on planner without the soundtrack of mini-me asking a million questions, or the risk of me falling asleep on the sofa because it’s past 9pm.

I can even make a start on dinner so hubby and I actually get something of an evening after getting the rugrats to bed.

I’m not distracted by office gossip or chatting to colleagues or those meetings you have about other meetings, so my productivity level is bound to be higher.

And finally I don’t have to remember complicated hot drink orders for a large number of people.

Now for the cons:

On a lovely sunny day I often long for the chance to get out, but if snowed under with deadlines the only ‘outings’ factored in are nursery drop-off and pick-up related.

Sometimes it’s really nice, and necessary, to have a quick break from your desk, even if that’s only picking up a bite to eat. Sadly walking five metres to the next room really doesn’t count.

There’s no defined boundary between ‘work and play’ when you run a business from home, and that means you can feel guilty most of the time for doing other things when you should be working. Even when that’s folding laundry at 10pm on a Saturday night.

I often miss sparking off other people in an office environment – it’s hard to brainstorm with yourself after all! Joining a couple of Facebook groups with like-minded journos has really helped with this, but again you get the guilt factor when chatting over social media.

And being part of a tea round of one is rubbish!

I suppose what it comes down to is that home-based freelancing is like most things in life, on certain days you’ve got the world at your feet, and on others the grass is always greener on the other side.

I would like to point out that I’ve never yet stayed in dirty PJs for two days without brushing my hair. But I’m not ruling it out…

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When you know you’re done, children-wise.

I turned 38 the other day. Yes, the big THREE, EIGHT. Not quite the big FOUR, ZERO.

I thought my BFF’s lovely boy summed up the situation pretty well when he asked: ‘Mummy, is Auntie Sarah older than a dinosaur?’

Answer, probably! Even if just those plastic copies from the Natural History Museum.

Don’t worry this latest blog (rant!) isn’t another nostalgic look back to my ‘youth’ or further confessions of Eighties music addition, actually I’m feeling pretty happy in my own skin right now.

It might have something to do with the fact that 38 is just a nicer number than 37, or that my lovely friends and family really spoiled me this year, but a large part of it is about where we are with mini-me and blue-eyed boy (who by the way can now say ‘Ello Dada’, a huge achievement, even if it does come out with an accent somewhat like a Bond villain!)

I’ve probably mentioned it but blue-eyed boy will turn one in a matter of mere weeks. This means that our horrendous food bill should hopefully start going down as he leaves his formula days behind him and starts chomping on what we eat, but more importantly that he’s inching ever closer to being a little more independent.

Of course there are massive pros and cons to this, but as it’s a fact of life you can’t really do much but embrace it. A little like when they start opening the kitchen cupboards and pulling everything onto the floor.

Mini-me has been feisty, driven and carving her own path since the age of about five months so we really didn’t have any choice with her. While other children wept and clung to their parents as they were left with a child minder or at nursery, mini-me used to race off to play giving hubby and I barely a backwards glance.

By contrast blue-eyed boy is endearingly clingy. And he’s so cute that hearing him sob when I leave a room still hasn’t got frustrating, yet.

He’s also a much slower developer than mini-me was and isn’t crawling yet, just slowly shuffling, and dancing, on his bottom, happily playing with his toys or ‘exercising’ in the Jumperoo.

But while we have walking, running and then the terrible tantrums to come, he’s still much more self-sufficient now, can amuse himself for a time and loves to ‘chat’.

I think this is why I really love this age. By ten months, or so, babies tend to be really responsive, a joy to be around and also you can see the little person they are quickly turning into shining through.

Although I loved the constant cuddles of the very early days with him, I know I don’t want to go through all that pregnancy and breastfeeding malarkey again. And fortunately hubby agrees.

As he says a healthy and happy one of either sex is a pretty winning combination, and we were also both one of two ourselves.

That’s another reason I feel lucky I suppose. We see friends umming and ahhing over whether they’d like a third, but know absolutely that we’re done.

And that means starting to our get lives back a little, as blue-eyed boy hopefully starts sleeping through the night on a regular basis and I can turn my attention a shade more to building up my journalism and copywriting business.

Which, bringing things back to the recent birthday, is why this pressie from another BFF was so perfect.

NeatFreakPhotoJan6th

Yes everything seems exciting, new and full of possibility at the start of my 38th year. Long may it continue!

*When did you know you were ‘done’? I’d love to hear any reader’s thoughts!