I regard myself as unbelievably fortunate to be able to do work that I love while having flexibility to be with my children when they need me. The five of us agree that the best thing is for me to be there for the younger children after school and in the holidays and the older kids support me in this where they can.
Choosing to work part time has a direct impact on our lives. Money is very tight. There is a direct correlation between the hours I bill and what we eat, the things we do and how we try and make ends meet. I feel a lot of pressure to somehow balance these needs. I do not always succeed.
But even though this is so hard, so so hard; it is still worth it to be able to really be there for the kids. These last school holidays we have shifted into our new house, we got sick and the kids have come with me to work. I could not wish for better kids to have with me. They are quiet and well behaved and interact politely with the adults we share the space with.
I won't lie. It is challenging to write creatively, keep projects on track and communicate with my clients while sharpening pencils, handing out food, monitoring screen time and listening to stories. But it is not just on me. James has been off work with a wrist injury and has been around a bit for us. Sylvia who shares a space at the Exchange where we work, gives Annie pencils and talks to her about the drawings. Justin the Architect is endlessly patient when Annie talks to him.
It takes a village to raise a child. And that is ok. I'm hoping that when these younger kids of mine grow up, they will look back and have good memories of interesting people doing interesting things all around them. I think this is a great way to grow up. It's not what I planned, but it's still ok.