My New Full Time Telecommuting Job and Flexible Doesn’t Mean Easy

I’ve been really bad at keeping you up to date lately. Feel free to beat me about the head and shoulders till I pass out cause I could use the nap.

Bendable, adaptable, flexible? Yes. Easy? Not a chance.

The word busy doesn’t seem to describe these last two months. Let’s try pull-your-hair-out-by-the-roots-and-stuff-it-all-back-in-again chaotic instead. Yes, that definitely sounds more like it.

Ever since the end of April I’ve been on overdrive with no signs of stopping. Ironically enough no one has died or starved from the insanity.

When I posted about the Easter events at Lodi Station Outlets, I was testing out a new role for me; their social media coordinator. I got the opportunity to visit and attend one of their many events that weekend and dip my toes in a job that I was sure I was meant for. Luckily they thought  I was meant for it too because three days later I received a call offering me the job.

Really, I don’t think you could have peeled me from the sky when I got the call. Elated, overjoyed, cloud nine on Valium doesn’t even come close to how I was feeling. I’m pretty sure that the Gods were smiling and saying “See, this social media stuff is for real. Go tell the naysayers and doubters to stuff it.” Not only am I am still doing something that doesn’t feel like work because I honestly love it that much, but I get to do part of the job from home and still do my own thing (you know this bloggy, freelance thing that people still don’t think is a real job).

The day after Mother’s Day, I left on a plane to meet with my fellow Lifetime Moms for some business and a retreat. There is nothing like getting together with the people who you admire and inspire you most to recharge your dreams and plans and confirm that the way you’ve been doing things all this time is just right for you.

There is also nothing like coming home to a house knee deep in end of the school year mode. We are T minus four days to the last day of school. I’m looking into child care for Peanut or summer camp for him and the others (because I know I am more productive without them around). Bebe bridged to Cadet in Girl Scouts so I’m making arrangements for her to attend Girl Scout events this summer as well.

I’m also planning for the Type-A Conference next month (in which I will be attending, find me and say hi!), and planning for swimming lessons and weighing the cost of joining our local Y vs. the non-member expense of camp and swim lessons. Somewhere in between all of that is our former babysitter’s wedding, the Memorial Day Parade (where Bug will be marching with the High School marching band), family reunion, Band Camp, Bebe’s birthday and the first day of school in which I kiss my youngest goodbye as he heads off to Kindergarten.

I’m sure I’ve left out something…

That said I have a love hate relationship with flexibility, chaos and the assumption that flexibility makes life easier.

Even though I’m now considered a flex employee, I too don’t feel like I’ve failed at owning my own business (because I am still making a very reasonable income freelancing, thankyouverymuch) or even changed my routine all that much. Yes, I do make an appearance in the office every week (that is an adjustment we’re working through) but juggling my own business, family, and time for myself has always been chaotic and I’ve ALWAYS had to be flexible. Flexibilty didn’t start because I took on a full time telecommuting (or flex schedule) job. Even before I created a home office, I always had to be flexible in juggling work and home.

I don’t care what anyone tells you, flexible, (be it working from home or owning your own business) does not mean you get a pass on chaos. Or Easy. I think that sometimes we confuse flexible with “easy”. Flexible does not mean easy. It means bendable, adaptable, but not easy. Babysitters still fall through, kids still get sick (or husbands or you), cars still break down and dinner still has to be made and laundry has to be done (and Murphy’s Law says that sometimes these things happen all at the same time).

I also don’t think I’ve somehow compromised my goals in any way by taking on this new role or by having a home office. I still love working for myself, always have and always will. I don’t mind chasing down payments and I will forever love setting my own hours, which is why I haven’t walked away from freelancing altogether – though I could.

Taking this job had very little do with whether I felt I was failing or succeeding as a freelancer and far more to do with an opportunity that presented itself and I felt I was a good fit (truth be told, I wasn’t even looking for a job, I was very content with the way things were but a friend saw the social media coordinator position and knew I was the person. I just happened to agree with her). In fact, being the Social Media Coordinator for Lodi Station Outlets is right on track with what I love to do and want to continue doing so it’s a win-win.

Regardless of if you commute every day, have a home office or are in business for yourself, you still have to compartmentalize and prioritize things, even bath time and you time. Remove the emotion from the situation or task (there is no good time to get sick in case you were wondering, and crying won’t help), and muster through.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to thaw out dinner, play video games with Peanut, answer some emails, and take a shower… because it’s not easy but it’s how I roll.

 

photo credit

About Nichole Smith

Nichole Smith has written 760 post in this blog.

Founder of Chaos in the Country and (original) The Guilty Parent blog, Nichole is a professional writer, blogger, social media strategist, and collector of yarn, books, and pretty paper.

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