Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Of re-training and enjoying it

I haven't posted much here. Not because I have nothing to say (that is NEVER the case with me) but only because I haven't enough time to say it. For those of you that follow the Escapades page on facebook, you will know that the studio takes up most of my time. What is left, gets rationed out between the resident dog and K, not particularly in that order.
I've fallen into a good routine and slowly but surely, I've become a regular working woman again. I never stopped working, but operating part time and from the comfort of your house sort of skews the picture for oneself and others. It is the sort of situation where you appear to be working/employed but aren't really 'going' anywhere, and so to the whole world and sometimes yourself, it appears that you aren't actually doing anything. This is a truly terrible state to be in. One, your work becomes the lowest hanging fruit and is usually dropped or abandoned when other tasks or issues come up. Hospital visits, guests, emergencies at home, shopping trips and such like. I say this because I know this happened with me a lot. Each time Sage's health is on shaky ground, parents need something or K is travelling, I rescheduled and work around the situation. This is exactly the kind of flexibility one looks forward to in the independent worker / part timer / own boss situation. And while it works well most of the time, it is frustrating to be constantly juggling and letting go of work if there are other situations that need your attention and time.  
When I was exclusively working from home, I often found myself doing work 'only' in the pockets of time that were free anyway. Free from chores, familial responsibilities and dog care. This in turn made me very frustrated and not to mention angry and crabby at times because I was spinning around in circles. I was not giving my work the kind of space and respect it deserved, and feeling very inept at handling my situation. 
This is not true for everyone. I know a lot of families and people who work from home have a better grip on their situation. 
Last year when I moved my classes from home into a studio, I had teething issues that I didn't account for. When I had a scheduled class, I realized, I would have to be at the studio at-least an hour in advance if I wanted to be ready when my students walk in. This in turn meant I had to get done with whatever I wanted to do, get dressed and show up at the studio. The luxury of prepping for class in the middle of cooking lunch or breakfast, getting dressed as I arranged my work table, and worst of all opening my kitchen pantry and pulling out an ingredient I needed did not exist anymore. I had to be well prepared for a class. Do my shopping ahead of time, plan and finish my chores, ensure I had all the stuff needed for a class at the studio AND be there an hour ahead. 
I will admit it has been a steep learning curve. I am a creature of habit. To change that habit and create a new one has been cruel. I've had a few terrifying days. Nothing that has killed me, but at that time I imagined it would. The mind shift has been the most difficult. To acknowledge that this is no longer a kitchen garden set up. 
For the last 6 months tho, the shift is very visible. Not just for me, but K and Sage as well. The biggest hurdle was Sage. With his epilepsy, it is a delicate state. I nursed him for 14 months without stepping out of the house unless there was someone else with him. He needed medication every 4 hours, he was clingy (medicine induced) and jumpy all the time and we were terrified of something happening to him if I so much as stepped out of his sight. I didn't have the confidence to lock him in the house for the time that I needed to be out and working. So everything got sacrificed. Couple time, movies, dinners with friends, gym, everything. If I had to step out, K had to be at home. With a demanding job that involves travelling, K being available to watch Sage wasn't happening too much and we regressed back into a time when he was a puppy and needed 24/7 attention. 
We began retraining Sage to be on his own for small intervals of time. I would lock him in, take a walk around my building and come back in 10 minutes. Supermarket visits followed and then I started running regular errands, going out for coffee or lunch with friends and K and I began accepting dinner invites and appeared to be lesser snobs!
The training has worked for the most part. The home and family have fallen into a routine and this is a good thing. I have my class schedule done at the beginning of the month so everyone knows what to expect. The maid too comes in and does her work without asking for much supervision. On days that I work, I leave home around 9:30 and am back by late afternoon, sometimes as late as 3, but I still get to give Sage his medication, have lunch at home and catch a snooze on lucky days. 
Mornings are super organised and efficient with the washing machine loaded and running even before I've had my coffee! And I must admit I like this more than anything else because it just sets the pace for the day. And when I come home completely drained after my class, I don't have to worry about what to cook or house chores to finish. 
The entire household now is oriented towards having me leave as per my schedule for the day. Including family who desist from calling me for a casual chat on work mornings. I am at ease and I work better without the niggling stress. I also come back home with a stronger feeling of control over my day and as a result of it my life!
So from a stay at home person, I am now a 4 times a week working person. On the days that I don't have scheduled classes, but need to work on orders or develop a recipe, I take Sage with me to the studio. He is ecstatic and loves me extra on those days. He sits around, naps and sometimes just walks into my neighbour's flat to be pampered and spoilt silly. 
I didn't realise it till a few weeks ago, that now I am working on a schedule and regimen akin to when I was fully employed. The only difference being I work through the weekend and usually try and take an off on Monday's. This hasn't worked out so well. I still end up doing some writing or baking for orders or other sundry work, but hey, every working person does this. None of us can claim to be fully cut off from work on off days. But yes, mentally  I am getting my one day a week off. 
I don't know if it is true for all women, but I know a large chunk of us get buried under our own guilt if we have to prioritise work over family life. I think its just the way we are conditioned. We are expected to sacrifice. If we don't, we are bitches, if we do we are push overs. Having said all of this, its completely upto us alone to figure out some working model. Each of us has one as unique as ourselves. What works for me will not for another. 
So far, this is a functional model for me and my household. I hope this good run continues!
What has been keeping you busy and occupied? Tell me, I'd love to hear your story.