Two days a week, both my girls are in morning preschool (okay, I admit it's daycare, but it sounds better and makes me feel less guilty to say preschool). So, for about nine hours a week, I am on my own.
This is when I work. Yes, that's right, WORK. I know I am a stay-at-home mom, I know I don't get a paycheck. Saying "I'm working" still sounds bizarre and self-important to me at this point in my life, but the truth is that I have a schedule, I have deadlines, I have commitments- I have work to do.
All this responsibility is mostly of my own devising, at least at this point in my career. Career- now there's another word fraught with discomfort. The truth remains, though, that the work I do now is the foundation of my career in the future, post-preschoolers. In a few short years, both of my children will be in school for most of the day, leaving me free... to work.
What is it that I do during this time, what is this "work" that I call my own? Writing, of course. Always writing. When I am not blogging here, I am guest-blogging over at MA! Motherhood with Attitude. When I can't dredge up something for those more challenging essays, I indulge in updates about my children over at their site. I'm taking a freelance writing e-course with homework, research and, of course, more writing. Whether outlined by me or my instructor, I have goals and deadlines for all these projects.
In between these commitments, I journal, jot and scrawl on bits of paper. I read other people's work for inspiration and admiration. I spend time studying publications in my target market. I even, *gasp*, submit pieces from time to time.
I am a writer (eek!), and I work. I still feel uncomfortable, even embarrassed, to claim this lofty status. It's not something that everyone understands. Take, for instance, this recent conversation.
"Sorry, I can't get together today, I've got work to do."
"Really? What work? Can't the laundry wait?"
Reality, with ever increasing insistence, requires quite a bit of preparation for a new career. For most people, you can't just jump in at the top and expect any level of success. You have to work your way up, earning a level of recognition and respect. For now, my work is limited to study and practice, nine hours a week. Those nine hours, though, set the stage for a future when saying, "I'm working," doesn't elicit scepticism or embarrasment.
There is more to this life than being a small person's mom. They're growing up and I can, too. Knowing what I plan to do, what I want to do, gives me a head start. I might as well take this chance while I can.
On that note, I have to go. I have work to do.