Fake it till you make it?


Feeling a bit like this today.

This is an awkward post to write because it means I’m blowing my cover. I wanted to write this yesterday, but I was entirely too demoralised to even put words together. The truth is, I’m feeling inadequate. Not a great way to be when you’re trying to project ‘eau de confidence’ and make your next post-kid career move.

I’ve been at home looking after my gorgeous girls for five years now, freelancing all the while, and love, love loving it (some of the time). It’s been really hard, I admit, and I never get the balance right. I always feel like half a mum, and I’m crap at being a ‘domestic goddess’, whatever the hell that is. This is half the thing that paralyses me from blogging. I see these gorgeous, decorative, creative and beautiful blogs with crafty mums making and baking … I am not her. I can only do words, be a mum, and cook, while doing daggy dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba (‘Don’t Bite Your Friends’. Best song EVER.)

BUT, working from home as I have been, it means I can drop everything for my girls, and pick up the hours late into the night, and on weekends, and always at least be a physical presence for them in the home, even if I’m in the office burrowing into my piles of paper. (They do keep me warm at night.)

Now? Now… I’m in a quiet patch.

This is me. Metaphorically, obviously. I have SOME hair.

SCARY PART A) The quiet patch. There is nothing more scary to a freelancer than a quiet patch that lasts a few months. I’ve been incredibly lucky for the last few years, and have been referred so much work I’ve been constantly flat out, which delights me. As soon as it stops, the self-doubt creeps in. I know the industry is in a state of flux, and everyone’s feeling the pinch, so I’m licking my wounds, and looking elsewhere. OUTSIDE. It is terrifying.

SCARY PART B) Finding a part-time job. Newsflash: there aren’t any. OK – there I go with the sweeping statements  I tend to make when I’m feeling inadequate and overwhelmed. There are some. A very small number in my field, being vied for by the vast number of people who, like me, need flexible working arrangements for any number of reasons, one of which is raising children. Why are the only available jobs full-time? I know it’s frustrating as an employer to juggle a job-share arrangement, and to organise hot-desks or telecommuting situations, but I also firmly believe that employees who are offered such flexible arrangements work twice as hard and are twice as loyal. I certainly work my butt off when I’m freelancing, because I’m paid by the hour. Why stop for lunch when it means an hour I’d have to otherwise work into the night? Why take a sick day when I’m not dead? I plough on through. Every working mother I know works DAMN hard because she’s there to get her work done as efficiently as she can so she can get home to her other job.

SCARY PART C) The job interview. YAY! I had one this week which is awesome. I made it to the interview stage (so I must look OK on paper), and my fingers and toes and even my eyelashes are crossed for a positive phone call in the next day or so. But wow – I hadn’t realised how out-of-date my work wardrobe has become in five years. I tried all of my clothes on the night before (nothing like planning ahead. I’m good like that) and realised my suit no longer fitted me (amazingly it had grown!?) and my pants were all really ill-fitting and badly cut. Who was the girl who bought these bad clothes? Surely not the same person who works away in her home office looking stylish, glamourous and effortless in ugh boots and leggings. I’d forgotten about the part where your hands shake when you go to drink the water they offer you, and the part where you get hot because you are nervous, and the part where your voice sounds funny because you’re speaking too quickly, and the words aren’t the ones you chose in your head. Ah. Well. Time will tell.*

So – this is where I’m at this week. In an inadequate nutshell. HELP! I’m in a nutshell!  I did, however, mow the lawn. WIN! Very badly – I may have blunted something when the sparks flew off the concrete of the gutter.

I’ve decided to just grit my teeth and hang on until I feel useful again, and less like a washed-up career lemon. Because everybody has some use for a lemon, right? Like I always say (not really, this is my first time, but I will say it a number of times after today, and then it will be  always) ‘If life hands you lemons, hang onto them, because they make your gin taste much better.’ Although they may have said it more eloquently below. Yes? Are you still with me? At least I make gin taste good.


This is the answer to life. Yoda has spoken.

* Time has told. I didn’t get the job. So now I feel worse than a lemon, which is … um… a grapefruit?

17 thoughts on “Fake it till you make it?

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  2. Kim, you’re not half anything. In fact you’re fully full and pretty damn amazing. For some sadistic reason or other we put these silly feelings of inadequacy into our minds, even though we are doing as much as humanly possible to be everything to everyone. Not setting the bar too high or anything.

  3. I’m so enjoying making my way around your blog today! I can totally relate to this post. I sent off a job application just this morning. It is a part-time, work from home position but it’s way below my capabilities in many ways (hope they’re not reading!) But you don’t get to be a big grown up manager person when you also need to be home by 2.30 for school pick up. I’ve done the odd bit of freelance too over my two years (so far) off work, but it’s hardly worth the effort financially. It’s a real tug of war. I wish you the best and I hope the right thing comes along for you asap. Meanwhile, I guess embrace the fallow season (and your snuggie) and keep your chin up.

  4. I agree with BachelorMum. You’re not a washed up lemon, you’ve been balancing work and motherhood for 5 years. We tend to forget that there is no way in hell that many of those senior (yes, I will say it male) executives or managers could cope doing the same thing? Juggling parenting and career ?

    I’ve been out of the workforce for 3 years now. I’ve been doing bits and pieces of freelance stuff but it definitely has been the hardest thing ever.

    Sometimes you just need to embrace those quiet moments because you never know, around the corner, something big is waiting for you and it’ll be all systems GO! :) x

  5. I’ve noticed the work lull. I’m paranoid about getting back out there. I’m not going back to work just yet, but looking ahead three, four years terrifies me. Good on you. Stick to it. It’ll happen.

    And I tried craft with my daughter the other day. I cut myself while getting sticky tape off the roll. I ain’t no crafty one neither, no way nuh-huh.

    • Ha! I’m constantly putting bandaids on my girls from sticky tape roll attacks. I guess it’s either in us or its not :)
      Try not to think about 3-4 years from now if you can. Enjoy the moment. When they’re cute.
      Thanks so much for visiting!

  6. You’re not a washed up career woman! You’ve been successfully balancing motherhood and working from home for five years. I take my hat off to you. I can’t work when my daughter’s around. She wants my attention and i feel guilty if i plonk her in front of the tv. I had to work from home today as she was sick and i nearly went crazy. You’re just feeling the pinch from the bigger world economic influences that have nothing to do with you personally. You didn’t create the slump. The market did. I have worked since my child was 4 months old. I carry huge amounts of guilt around with me daily. I have felt like half a mum, half a worker for the entire time although sometimes I’ve felt i’ve put more time into my work than my daughter – more guilt. Spend time getting your wardrobe updated so you’re not in a last minute panic – a scarf can do wonders and it’s not expensive, and go easy on yourself – it’s the unfamiliar territory rather than you that is the problem. We all feel out at sea when we’re embarking on something new or forgotten. You’ll be fine honey.

    • Thanks so much bachelormum. The guilt is KILLER hey. My kids are far too well-acquainted with the TV. Love your wardrobe idea – quick and easy confidence boost. X

  7. Whoa baby. You have so hit the nail on the head with this post. I’m a former equity analyst with a degree in economics and a post grad diploma. I dont feel I can juggle the kids with the finance thing these days and am finding the shift to part time work near impossible. It can be quite demoralizing if you let it.
    I’m sure you did fabulously well in your interview.
    PS: There are far too many blogs about craft and recipes. Blogs with a sense of humor are more difficult to find.

  8. There have been a whole run of redundancies on my friends list lately, mostly husbands losing their jobs or having their hours cut back to the point where they may as well have. It’s a tight market out there right now with everyone worrying about what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it!

    My husband and I are kinda hippy anyway, we haven’t done the full-time job thing since our first daughter was born 5 years ago, but even that lifestyle choice has it’s drawbacks (we’re both salavating over the latest gadgets, being huge geeks, but of course that’s not really on the cards). With my writing I’ve made a grand total of $50! My father was so proud LoL.

  9. Worse than a lemon…. I’d say a mango, but only cause I’m not a fan.
    I have a friend who is in the same place at the moment; all her freelance work has dried up too, and they are really feeling the pinch.
    I don’t know what to say except that I hope something comes up soon for you. Xx

    • Thanks for visiting! And you already said the best thing … that I’m not the only one. I hope it comes good for your friend too very soon. x

  10. I think this is such a common issue for women in our situation. My girls are the same age as yours (more or less) and I am also an editor/writer type! I also had a bit of a career crisis after my youngest started daycare. I think we are lucky with our skills that we can work from home. Perhaps ask your past clients if they can recommend you to others who need your services – I have found that is a useful prompt and clients have gone out of their way to connect me with new clients. Good luck!

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