Every day I’m busy. In the morning as I get the kids ready for school, I’m making lists of what needs doing, and prioritising tasks. I find it difficult to shake off the feeling that I’m not using my time effectively and I’m always telling myself, that once I finish this project/ get through this week/ tick off everything on this list – then I will be able to relax.
Recently I’ve started to wonder why I think I have such a busy life. If I’m being honest with myself, which is something I generally try to avoid, I have to accept that as I don’t have a job, and the kids aren’t that little anymore, I’m basically filling my time with hobbies. These hobbies have become elevated in importance in my mind to the point where I wonder, if I got a job, how I’d be able to fit it in.
By hobby, I don’t mean that I’m organising my life around cross-stitch, or stamp collecting. Probably hobby is the wrong word, but what else is having an allotment? DIY? Baking? Writing a blog?
If it’s not a paid occupation, or basic housework, then surely it’s a hobby, something which you wouldn’t do if you didn’t have the time because you don’t have to.
I don’t class housework as a hobby, because everyone has to do it to some extent. The same goes for grocery shopping, doing the laundry, going to the toilet. However all these things can become hobbies if you take disproportionate pleasure out of it and engage in the activity more than is really necessary.
I don’t tend the allotment because I can’t afford to buy vegetables, and sanding down a staircase by hand, goes beyond a minimum level of household maintenance. Therefore I guess they are hobbies.
Realising this is demoralising enough without the fact that I’m not very good at any of it. The amount of time I spend sifting and mixing, I should be a shit-hot baker, but my cakes look like something only a mother could love, specifically a mother in desperate need of some damn cake right now.
If I’m not actually at the allotment, I’m making plans for it or getting stuff ready for it, but I will never worry the serious contenders for best kept plot.
When it comes to my blog, I’ve been really late posting a blog this week because no matter how much I like doing it, it’s not as if I have hoards of followers waiting for my latest missive. I write them because I like to, and occasionally someone may enjoy reading it, but when there’s all the ironing to do, and I have to go shopping for whatever thing I’ve decided we desperately need, and I’ve got this list of stuff I have to do today…. Well the blog gets postponed again.
Which is particularly stupid, because out of all my activities it’s the one which is closest to my copywriting paid job. It could even be described as work experience. I’m beginning to wonder about the actual worth of my other daily activities, and it’s pretty depressing stuff.
I’m surprised that my husband never points this out to me when we’re discussing our respective days. He’ll be telling me about how he managed to get an important news story to air at the last minute, meaning that the world will know about the terrible events in, someplace, where people are doing stuff.
I’ll interrupt in order to tell him how I found that thing I wanted in a shop, but by going to seven other shops I was able to get it £5 cheaper. To his credit, he has yet to say, “So f***ing what? You probably spent more than that on petrol.”
Perhaps he doesn’t want to die alone, or maybe he’s somehow got hold of my criminal record, either way fear is almost certainly the motivation for his tactful silent nodding.
Ultimately this is why people who step back from work for whatever reason- in my case, kids- find it so hard to get their confidence back enough to apply for jobs, and get back into the working world. After years of doing stuff other people simply don’t have the time to do, you can begin to question what you can bring to the party, other than weird-looking cakes.