Freelance Life vs. Real Life

I think it’s kind of funny how we tend to refer to our life outside of work as our “real life.” Like the job we do doesn’t have any consequences on the things we do away from the office/factory/sweatshop. “Yeah, I’m a builder, but in my real life, I like to go out on the boat with my family.” Why does real life only happen on the weekends and for one or two unpaid weeks a year?

I feel like my freelance life really is a part of my real life. The choices I make in one absolutely affect the realities of the other. I moved to a smaller office, and it gave me more take-home money. I decided to have another baby, and I had to slow my work pace during morning sickness. The two are very much intertwined.

Lately, though, I’m discovering that this can be a bit of a hassle. My DH and I have been house shopping for the last few weeks. There’s a whole neighbor drama thing going on where we live, and while I’m not ready to give up the fight to get the low-lifes out, I’m maybe not up to fighting from this particular location anymore. So, we’re looking for a new place to call home. If I had a regular job, this might be stressful, but I think it would have a lot less impact on my work. After all, I’d still be expected to show up at 8 with my bagel and time card.

Being a freelancer makes things both simpler and more complicated. The agent wants to go look at a house in the middle of the afternoon? Um, sure, I can do that. We need to meet with the banker to get the loan papers in order. Thank goodness I have a flexible schedule! I want to spend all day trolling the real estate sites instead of writing articles? Who’s gonna stop me?

Aaaaaaand that’s where I get in trouble. I think other freelancers have similar stories, especially when their kids are out of school for the summer. Little Jenny wants to go to the pool? Come to think of it, I am pretty hot sitting in front of this computer screen. I’ll just make up the time later. Then later rolls around and Jenny wants to snuggle in with a DVD, and who are you to pass up quality family time? (Or to miss out on Where the Wild Things Are?)

There’s an upside to having my freelance life and real life so dependent on one another, however. I’m currently looking to buy a more expensive home than the one I already have. If I had a “regular” job, this would require me to either wait a few years for a raise or to go in with my hat in my hand and ask for one. Instead, I can just take on more work. Whereas DH is stuck at a certain income level until his next official cost of living increase, I have the ability to increase our family’s income by working a little harder or even working the same amount but choosing to raise my rates.

Just think of how much time I can free up by not needing to look at those real estate sites anymore…







One response
  1. Carson Brackney Avatar

    I can relate. That’s why I basically gave up on separating anything and am just letting real life and work life melt into one big tub of crazy sauce.

    Oh, and as you well know, there’s nothing that’s actually more important than taking little ones to the pool or quality time with a kid flick.

    I know my little freaks are going to be thirty years old in the blink of an eye. I refuse to miss a baseball game, a doctor’s appointment, a game of Jenga, a night-night diaper change or a family supper. If that keeps me up a little later or forces me to pass on a project here and there, so be it.

    Good luck with the house thing. That’s on next year’s agenda here. I am not looking forward to the process. At all.

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