Go without thinking

By Mir
September 7, 2006

This will be short so that I can hunker down in bed and pursue my new favorite hobby, which is sleeping. (Sleeping is also my old favorite hobby, and inbetween the old and the new is a hobby I don’t get to pursue often enough and also can’t talk about here without causing several people close to me experience spontaneous immolation.)

The good news is that the toothearache has gone away. The bad news is that it was, apparently, a harbinger of something awry in the sinuses. Now I just have a yucky cold. Summer is officially over!

So I was all curled up on the couch, tonight, with the kids. They’d gotten ready for bed in a timely manner and I’d granted them half an hour of TV time. We were snuggled under a blanket like a pile of puppies and I was thinking that maybe I’d go to bed early, after I got them down.

And then the doorbell rang.

“Who could that be?” asked Chickadee. I assured her that I didn’t know. I went to the door to find… the babysitter.

My rusty brain attempted some speedy information retrieval. Sitter… here… what’s today?… Thursday… It’s about 7:15… Thursday… oh CRAP, I have choir rehearsal.

I guess it’s good that the sitter remembered, because I sure didn’t. (We get the summer off for good behavior. Or—in my case—not so bad behavior.)

Well, once the sitter was here, I kind of had to go even though I was feeling crummy. So I went. And I was glad I did, because choir feeds a small corner of my heart that still responds to music and pretty things, unlike the bulk of my heart which is cold and ossified.

The director had us whipping through the music in our folders at a pretty good clip, and when she announced, “Okay, take out ‘Go Without Knowing'” I couldn’t resist saying, “Oh! My theme song!” This elicited a few small chuckles, but I was not satisfied, so I had to add, “Oh, wait. My mistake. This is ‘Go Without Knowing.’ MY theme song is actually ‘Go Without THINKING.'” The director offered that the not knowing is often a direct result of the not thinking, which was a valid point. I shall continue to claim it as my personal anthem!

Anyway, it was with this exchange fresh in my mind that I arrived home to some email wanting to know if I could expound a bit how working from home enables me to spend time with my kids and how I “wouldn’t have it any other way.” I’ll have to come up with a real response (tomorrow), but my early inclinations were interesting, to say the least. I’m often asked how I decided to freelance and/or if it’s the greatest job I’ve ever had because I have the best of both worlds, etc.

On getting to spend time with my kids:
It’s especially magical how, regardless of how much work I have (which is NOT salaried, and in no way confined to normal hours), I’m expected to provide everything they need for school, volunteer in their classes, attend all practices and meetings, take care of them if they’re home sick, serve on the freaking PTA (still bitter about being sucked into that), cook and serve and clean up after their meals, maintain the household, help with homework, and manage “quality” time. I really AM profoundly grateful that I’ve found a way to juggle this, but on nights when I’ve just finished my work for the day at around midnight and the alarm is set for 6? Not so grateful.

On not having it any other way:
Yes, absolutely. I love having to rely on my ex for health insurance. I love having no retirement account. I love never getting a sick day, and still having to do my work (or not get paid, at best… or lose a client, at worst) and tend the children even if I’m ill. I love it when people assume I don’t work for a living. I ESPECIALLY love it when people acknowledge I work but still assume I have endless amounts of free time.

On deciding to freelance:
Well, I decided to freelance because it turns out that I don’t play well with others, and we’re all safer if I stay here in my house and only interact with the world through the shiny box on my desk. Just kidding. Mostly I decided to do it because of that little going without thinking habit I have. Hooray!

I might have to make that the new official motto around here. Or… I’m way overdue for new t-shirt designs. Woulda Coulda Shoulda: Go Without Thinking. It might catch on. Not that I’m going to think about it much.

Hey, look over there! Something shiny!


  1. Lady M

    That sounds like an excellent t-shirt design. I just saw your old design for the first time – so funny!

    Sleeping is totally my hobby too.

  2. nancy

    hmm maybe, but I think your real catch phrase is…
    “Hey, look over there! Something shiny!”

  3. Musing

    New reader here. I enjoy your writing! And you can sign me up for Go Without Thinking recovery classes.

    I’m a freelance writer, too, though it’s been a while since I’ve written for publication (got sidetracked with a thing called a blog).

    Anyway, great site! I’ve added you to my sidebar.

  4. chris

    Love the tshirt idea.

    Perhaps you should have another one… Go Without Sleeping, because really isn’t that what working from home is all about?

  5. MotherPie

    Home again, home again, jiggedy jog.
    Mom used to say that all the time.

  6. Amy-Go

    Woulda Coulda Shoulda = Something Shiny!
    I’d buy it.

  7. ishouldbeworking

    Pretty Mir,

    Learn how to just say “NO!” when asked to do things that stretch you too thin. If not “NO!” then how ’bout “I’d really love to but I can’t” or something along that line. It works with PTO’s, churches, all sorts of things.

    New motto’s – I like them both! Enjoy your sleeping hobby & get rid of that cold!

  8. Susan

    The next time that surprise sitter shows up, will you send her to my house? Please?

  9. debby

    Go Without Sleeping. Definitely what working at home is all about. As for the PTA junk, I got sucked in there when my kiddies were younger. Even though I work full time from home, the jobs floated my way because others ‘had to work’.

    The one thing I did that helped was I never bought a mini-van or SUV. I only have 2 kids and everyone else who ‘has to work’ can drive their own kids, darnit! “I’m so sorry. I’d love to drive 4 extra hours carting all your kids home every Tuesday, but I don’t have enough seatbelts (safety issues increase the guilt factor). Maybe you could take turns taking off work with your big SUVs and carpool?”

    I loved being home and doing all the mom stuff while making sure the little extras like food were paid for. Working at home … I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

    Stay strong!

  10. diane

    I would be all over the “Go Without Thinking” tee shirt, but I also like “Hey, look over there! Something shiny!” an awful lot!

  11. Jenn2

    So, I’m thinking when I ask you how to break into freelancing, you’re going to tell me to run the other way, eh?

  12. Christina

    I would vote for the “Hey, look over there! Something shiny” as a great design for a mug or t-shirt. That definately feels like your motto to me :)

  13. Kathryn, DYM

    We’ve recently had the “no sick day” discussion…AGAIN. That is one part of the job I have a hard time with. And I’m not freelancing until midnight. I just do the kid part. I think you should do like Chris and start writing about how the chicken you get everything done.

  14. InterstellarLass

    A woman’s work is never done…whether it’s “woman’s work” or just work or even “man’s work”. We do it all. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

  15. Mary Tsao

    I love those honest answers to what are basically rose-colored assumptions that working from home (and freelancing) is one giant party where you get to pick your own treats all of the time. It’s hard work. You go, Mir!

  16. Sophie

    I truly don’t mean to be rude (or dumb), but what is it that you do exactly? You are a freelance writer? Your two blogs are just two of the projects you are working on?

    Just wondering… I’m dreaming of going freelance myself (I’m a writer, too). My husband is a stay-at-home dad who, after four years of the SAHD thing, is starting to freak because he has been out of the job market for so long. He decided to freak out in public last night at church – oh, wasn’t that a night to remember.

    Anyway, I never wanted to grow up and be a WORKING mom. I have come to accept my fate, but I’m wondering if I can at least switch the location of my fate.

    Anyway, just asking nosey questions….

  17. Jenn

    Sometimes, when people imply that I must have oodles of free time since I work at home, it takes everything I have not to slap them upside the head. Just one comment of “Wow, it must be nice to have all that time to do laundry!” can make me grouchy for the rest of the day. Why don’t people get that if you’re cleaning your house, you are not working and therefore, not getting paid?

  18. Betsy

    I have a full time job in an office – but I have the luxury of working from home when I need to – in fact, I did so last week in order to take my daughter in for the first day of school (she normally takes a school bus), personally deliver her to after-care, and drive my son to soccer practice (he’d normally take a city bus or catch a ride with friends.)

    I did the math at 10 pm that night (after starting my work day at 6 am to ‘make up’ for the time I’d be taking off mid-day) that I’d not only blasted through some laundry, been there for those ‘firsts’, done stuff around the house – but put in a 10-hour work day. From home.

    Not quite what I intended…

  19. JGS

    “On deciding to freelance”

    But your kids are going to grow into wonderful adults and that really means something.

    And who knows? Maybe you’re doing such a great job that they will be able to fund your retirement themselves. I mean, one can dream, right?

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