So this week I was skirting round the blogosphere, as you do, and I read this post on MumsRock about changing career paths. I skimmed it yesterday, and then today was drawn to return because something’s nagging at me and I don’t know what.Β  I’ve just got to the point in time where all my children are in school full time and I’ve pulled up the drawbridge on my uterus so this is it now – my career is the focus.Β  Suddenly I have all the time that I never had before. I no longer have to work into the night or juggle activities at the weekends to fit things in, and…. I’m at a bit of a loss.

I’m used to working under pressure, it inspires me, forces me to grasp ideas and make them work. I’ve enjoyed the freelance life for the last 8 years, fitting it around my family, ensuring that everyone gets the bits of me I need.Β  But what now?

I’m in my home office and I’m pondering where I go from here. Do I continue in the same vein, or consider ‘going back to work’, as in for someone else or would that just be too weird?

I’m at a crossroads.Β  There are undoubtedly aspects of communal working that I miss – the banter, the creative environment, having other people around to bounce ideas off, but I’ve also got very used to having my own space, to working ungodly hours and knowing that if I suddenly have a killer idea at 2am I can slip on my dressing gown and fire up the mac.

Is this normal? Am I turning into a sterotype? And where do I go from here?

Is it time to kick it into touch?
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23 thoughts on “Is it time to kick it into touch?

  • October 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Don’t know what the answer is, but if you find out – let me know :). Am a few years behind you as kids are younger but have strangely adapted to my upside down life of socialising with kids and other mums during day and working in the evening. Think I would find it hard to not work for myself now but part of me would (and does) miss the social interaction that work offers (not the office politics though!). Maybe you just need a bit of time in the new place you’re at and it will come to you – good luck!

  • October 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I empathise. Youngest son went to school in September this year and already I am wondering what I should do next and beating myself up for not having come up with the right answer. Part of me has got used to being at home and I like pottering around now that there is not a constant demand for my attention. I want to pursue my writing but lack confidence on that front. The last time I worked it went wrong as I went for a more junior post and perhaps cos I had managed myself clashed with my manager. I don’t want to threaten my mental wellbeing by going for the wrong job. I am looking for voluntary work as a starting point but then wonder if I should get off my backside and bring in some pennies.
    Good Luck with whatever you decide and please keep blogging

  • October 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Major changes in work patterns are always time for reflection. Sometimes you don’t realise that they have changed until you’re in the middle of it! I suppose it depends on whether there are opportunities out there in the world that would offer you more than you have now. You’ll need to weigh up the pros & cons which will include money but also a sense of worth etc. I think it could be really exciting & no – you will never be a stereo-type!

  • October 14, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I think quite a lot about whether I’ll ever work in an office again. I feel like the person who used to do that is not the same person I am now. As you know, I’m just embarking on the freelance stuff. And it’s exciting. I really like how flexible it is. If I want to take advantage of a nice sunny day, I can. I can chose to do what I like and not do what I don’t like. But it’s also scary. I don’t like the idea of going out and getting work. Although I guess it’ll get easier with practice. Sometimes I like the thought of just being told what to do. I guess what I’m trying to say is (not terribly coherently) what are your priorities? What do you actually want from life? Are walking the dog mid afternoon and picking the kids up from school very important to you? Or at this point in time would a regular income be a relief? I have no idea if any of that makes sense. You’ll work it out xxx

  • October 14, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I suppose in some ways I am not really best placed to comment – I do a 9-5 office job with the choice of whether I actually do it in the office or whether I do it from home, which really is the best of both worlds and suits me absolutely down to the ground (and I can’t write that without it sounding smug, so sorry about that). I think often there’s a case of “the grass is greener” – I know I suffer from it a lot. When it all comes down to it, as others have already said; you have to do what’s right for you, and I’m sure you’ll work it out. At least you have some freedom to consider your decision carefully.
    Good luck!

  • October 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Its an interesting one and something certainly to think about. I am a year away from the children being fulltime and wonder what I will do. I love the freedom and the politics – me and me and like the fulltime part-time ness of it. I guess there will be different opportunities and things to do that I cant do in my restricted hours. I don’t think its an easy decision and it all depends on how much time you need for you working, without working and what other stuff you wanted to do but never had the time before. Wish you luck Paula.

  • October 14, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Just one observation (from someone who knows, trust me):

    Change is good.

    LCM x

  • October 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I’m with LCM. Change is the elixir of life.

    MD xxx

  • October 14, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    It’s not bloody easy is it. You just get used to one way of life, and then it all bloody changes. I am a control freak. Always needed to know what was happening and where i was going, every minute of the day. THat control was taken away from me, and you know what? Something just came along when i least expected it.


  • October 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I think you’d miss the flexibility if you worked for someone else. Workplaces are more flexible today than ever before, but having to make allowance for school hols and bouts of sickness will soon make you long for being your own boss again, I’m sure.

    This pragmatic view was brought to you by Him Up North: “steady as he goes” is his middle name…

  • October 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    This sounds completely normal to me. I’ve been freelancing for three years but now I’m making some decisions about where to go from here. It just isn’t possible for me to work at home on my own all day. I need to be in an environment that has real people. So I’m weighing up my options too. For us this means a house move as well, so I have that decision to make too – what work to do and where to live, oh and which school to send my 7YO to. Like you, this has come about because she’s older now and doesn’t need me colecting her from school.


  • October 18, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Thanks, you might be right about the transitioning and I’m sure that’s part of it. πŸ™‚

  • October 18, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I think the ‘youngest child going off to school’ thing is really hard for parents. I know I’ve struggled and I really didn’t anticipate how hard it would be. Loss of confidence seems to be a classic symptom of women returning to work – why do we assume that we’re no longer ‘up to the job’? It’s just not right! Good luck to you as well, you’ve got loads to offer – never undervalue yourself πŸ™‚

  • October 18, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Ah thanks Julia, it’s deffo a time of reflection at the moment – but that’s no excuse for sitting still. Just keep swimming πŸ™‚

  • October 18, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Yes, yes and yes….. I think I probably want it all, and that’s what makes it hard! xxx

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:00 am

    *scowls* πŸ˜‰

    Undoubtedly there’s a ‘grass is greener’ tinge to things. And also the fact that sometimes you just fancy a change but don’t really know what that change should be. Thanks hon x

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Thanks Naomi, and you’re right – LOTS to think about. I think I’m getting clearer on direction now, then it’ll be time for the execution! x

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Said with conviction πŸ™‚

    And I agree with you 100% x

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Oh and my gorgeous MD pops up as well, just when she’s needed. Thank you chick. Mwah xxx

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Isn’t that always the way? The clichΓ©s are there for a reason it would seem. I’m a control freak too, and trying not to be but it’s not easy – not at all! x

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Thanks lovely, the summer holidays are the real killer. Wrap around care during normal term time is one thing, but when they’re meant to be home doing ‘home stuff’? I’m just not sure….. Will keep thinking though x

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Pragmatic is good – never good to rush these things πŸ˜‰ And yes, the flexibility is exactly the issue. Working is not a choice, it’s a necessity, but compromising the children and our family life is a step that I don’t want to take.

  • October 18, 2010 at 11:14 am

    When did all of this happen to us Rosie?! The lack of people weighs heavily on me too – which is one of the many reasons why social media is such a godsend, but it’s not a solution. Good luck with all your decisions too x

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