In the past, I have been really terrible at leaving work at work. As a teacher, it is really hard not to take things home with you. This year, however, Tim and I have made a really conscious effort to leave the work at work and only grade or plan at home during down time on the weekends. I have to say, it is really great to be able to do that. Sometimes it just isn’t possible; when I collect 135 essays, most of the time I need to grade a few of them at home, and, if I’m really determined not to take anything home, sometimes I have to come in early or stay late in order to get what I want done before I leave. However, leaving the work at work helps in a number of ways. First, it doesn’t make me resent the time I’m not spending with my family, thus allowing me to enjoy my job and my home life more. Second, it forces me to be more productive while I’m at work; when I’m there, I’m focused on my job and when I’m home, I’m focused on home. Third, it actually frees up a lot of time for me to do fun stuff with Tim, with my family and friends, and other work I also enjoy doing (like writing). All-in-all, it’s a great thing.
But, when I do write from home, I sometimes feel stressed and overworked and like I wish I had more time to spend with Tim. Even though it is personally fulfilling for me, I still feel like I should be doing other things like cooking, cleaning, or enjoying a glass of wine with my husband. Every time I decide to come home and throw a frozen pizza in the oven so I can work on writing some articles, I feel good about the fact that my writing life has gotten to a point where I’m very happy with it, but I feel bad about the fact that we are eating frozen pizza. Again.
When Tim decided to take on a second job last summer and keep it through the upcoming school year, I hated it. During the summer, it was fine, but when it wormed its way into our lives during the school year, it was awful; he was never home. Somehow, though, I feel my writing jobs are different. Why? Is it because I feel that my second job is personally fulfilling while his was not? Do I secretly like the stress of being a provider for my family? Do I secretly like the stress of being able to do it all?
This summer, I am going to devote time to my writing, but after that, I think I’ll have to come up with a better schedule. Right now, I am able to compartmentalize teaching and home, but not writing and home – probably because I do writing at home. But writing is a job like any other, and maybe having set hours for that job would be helpful in balancing my work and home lives.
Do any of you have second jobs? If so, how do you handle the work-work-life balance?
Photo Credit: gwdexter