When Kate and I first got together, we both had full-time jobs. Neither of us were terribly satisfied with the career paths we were on. Our home time was split between doing household chores and recharging our social batteries. Weekends were just long enough to make us feel like people again, and then Monday would roll around. Our jobs were leeching more than the requisite eight hours per day from us. We both craved a proper work/life balance.
Now and again, we would toy with the idea of one of us taking time off work to focus on writing. It was fun to think about, but it didn’t really seem feasible as an actual option.
We got married last year, in a much smaller ceremony than we had originally planned. Most of our “wedding fund” wasn’t needed for the wedding, but we still wanted to use it for something that was important to us. Investing in one of our dreams seemed like the right choice.
I quit my job back in April. So far, it’s been weird, but good. From the start, it was important to me to make the most of the opportunity. I’ve structured my lifestyle accordingly.
When Kate’s alarm goes off on weekday mornings, we both get up. I make us a hot breakfast (most days) while she gets ready for work. I pack up her lunch and fill her travel mug with tea, and I walk her outside and kiss her goodbye. (We’ve come a long way from being nervous about holding hands in public!)
Once I get back upstairs, I turn on the radio. The Crash & Mars Show runs until 10 AM, and I like to do my kitchen chores while it’s on. Most days I’ll bake (cookies, muffins, pie) or cook (soup, spaghetti sauce) to keep our freezer well-stocked. Sometimes I’ll do lunch prep (chopping vegetables, slicing cheese, making pudding). Kate is diabetic, so food prep includes carefully measuring and labelling portions.
After the kitchen chores, I usually sit on the couch and open my laptop. Initially, I was spending the bulk of my computer time writing content for our little website-to-be, but now that Butch Please is up and running, I find myself doing other tasks. I still write, but I’m also scheduling future content, corresponding with other writers, designing promo material, and (somewhat obsessively) checking our site and social media stats. There are a surprising number of little details to keep on top of. In time, I hope to become more efficient at juggling everything.
I take my lunch break at about 12:30 most days. I close the computer, make something quick to eat (usually leftovers), and turn on Netflix. I limit myself to one episode of whatever series I’m in the middle of (first Jessica Jones, now Walking Dead) before dutifully shutting it off.
Afternoons are less structured. I’ll do laundry, or vacuum, or organize the pantry. I always make the bed in the afternoon, because apparently if you make it in the morning, you trap all the dirty, dirty dust mites in. (I’m allergic to dust. Also: gah!)
It’s back to the laptop after that, to check what I’ve missed. I email Kate throughout the day to let her know what’s happening with the site. When she gets home from work, I make her a cup of tea and we decide how to spend our evening. Sometimes she writes. Sometimes we both do.
I used to spend my days sitting at a desk, watching the clock. I would daydream about what it would be like to be home instead. I thought about all the things I could get done; all the chores that greeted me at the end of the work day.
But time is relative. The clock moves a lot faster now that I’m not stuck somewhere I don’t want to be, and I am regularly amazed at how quickly the day goes. Maybe it’s because I underestimated how long certain household chores take. Maybe it’s because I had no idea how much time would be eaten up by running a website. Whatever the case, I’ve learned that, when I try to do both, I run out of day before I run out of work.
For weeks now, the pendulum has been swinging too hard in the direction of the website, and too far away from the household. That’s why I decided to scale back our posting schedule. One article a day was too much; a breakneck pace for a site with only a handful of authors. Cutting the content by half means I have a decent shot at achieving a healthier balance.
That was the goal, after all.