Have just landed back on terra firma after three days on a farm in the Blue Mountains, a place so remote they haven’t yet cottoned on to the idea of Wi-Fi.
I shouldn’t really complain. Being someone who rarely steps foot off the school-office-home-supermarket circuit unless I really really have to during term time, the farm really is a little bit of paradise.
We discovered it four years ago and try to go every September school holidays. If we’re lucky and everyone’s timetables coincide, we might even manage to drag a few extended family members along for the ride too. The kids are still at an age where stomping through the mud in their rainboots and stuffing every animal in sight full of carrots and apples is akin to ten Christmases at once, so we try to enjoy it while we can.
And every year there’s something new to discover. This time it was two baby rabbits and a tiny spotted piglet with an extraordinarily waggy tail. The kids were in ecstasy and I’m sure the three little newcomers are still lying fat-bellied in their pens recovering from all the love and attention they received over the past 72 hours.
We’d booked our stay about three months ago, so I knew the trip was coming up. But still, as we inched closer and closer I could feel my blood pressure rising. Three days away from my desk! And no wi-fi to boot!
I’m still at that stage (and expect to be for a long while yet) where writing my book has to fit around looking after the kids and my bread-and-butter work of magazine writing, which essentially means weekends and weeknights after the kids have gone to bed (I’m full of admiration for those people who can get up at 4.30am and cram in a couple of hours before their little people wake up, but have long since accepted that that is not and never will be me). If I’m top of my editorial deadlines, I might grab a few extra daylight hours during the week, but that’s pretty rare.
The upshot is, like most working parents, every minute of every day is accounted for and there is absolutely. no. wiggle. room. At least that’s the way it feels. I’m sure I could probably claw back 20 minutes or so to myself by cutting out my detour to the coffee shop for a takeaway cappuccino after school drop-off or cutting out my Kardashians binge-fest at the end of the week, but, you know, life and living and all.
So the farm escape had me sweating. While the kids packed their little overnight bags and made drawings for all the animals (which I’m sure they just loooved) I found myself in the grip of the full-scale night terrors that I’d come back to a fledgling writing career that was no more.
But strangely, I feel refreshed. It’s like someone has hit the reset button. Even though we’re now smack bang in the middle of the school holidays – otherwise known as Nightmare from Hell for anyone working from home – I have a feeling I’ll be more productive over the next couple of weeks than I have for a while.
Well, that’s the hope at least. The reality will probably be me shouting and cursing at the kids to get off the computer or flinging their beloved Frozen DVD out the window after umpteen re-runs.
How do you juggle kids and work and writing? Any clever time-saving tips you’re willing to share?
(NB Admission re pix…these were actually taken 3 years ago cos I still haven’t gotten around to downloading this week’s farm pix from my phone. Plus Miss M looks so damn cute atop that horse…ah, the memories…)