Morning Tom Foolery

The price of the four-day weekend

Reflections on balancing parenthood and freelancing.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

I sometimes underestimate just how different the life I choose to live is. I can often work where I want – like the coffee shop I’m sat in right now. I have a lot of freedom to pick and choose the people I work with – and have taken satisfaction is severing ties with people who proved unpleasant as clients. I don’t have a boss, or a full-time job. My time is pretty much mine to manage, but that comes with choices. For example, I’ve just spent four solid days looking after my toddler daughter, picking up some of my wife’s days, so she can get a handle on her work as term really kicks in.

And I always, always, always underestimate how tired I’ll be after a day looking after that tiny bundle of explorative energy. “Oh, I’ll do some blogging and catch up on e-mail after she goes to bed,” I say. Hah.


And so I find myself tearing through a Tuesday, trying to catch up on the work I haven’t been able to do for over half a week. It’s at times like this that I almost – almost – feel like going and getting a proper job again. The eternal problem with working for yourself is that there’s no such thing – mentally, at least – as office hours. Your income is completely dependent on how much you work, and thus any time where you could work can lead to you feeling guilty for not doing so. Frankly, I’m the most demanding boss I’ve ever had.

And then I remember that little rampager, and remember she needs time with her parents far more than she needs more toys, and I try to settle down and live comfortably in the choices I’ve made.

consultancyfreelancinglifelifestyleparenthoodwork/life balancefamily

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.