• Peter

Freelancer Guilt


I’ve been thinking a lot lately as I continue this freelancer journey, and thinking of new topics for the blog. One that keeps cropping up for me is freelancer guilt. How often do you hear the phrase “Oh, it must be so good to work from home - I bet you stay in your pyjamas all day.” Only part of this is true. It doesn’t help that my stay-at-home comfies look exactly like pyjamas, but they’re not.

Yes, most of the time it’s lovely working from home. I can stay comfortable and work at my own pace. I can pop to the shops if I need to and cook (when I can be bothered) for my partner. I can clean (when I can be bothered) and play with the cat.

There are also downsides. People who ring for a chat when you’re working, or even worse, pop round! Any deliveries will be picked up by you. And it’s always the way that when I pop to the shop, that’s when they decide to deliver, so I miss it. The cat gets very attached and does not want you to work and shows his displeasure by sitting on your keyboard or desk. And for me, lunchtimes I get my fix of Judge Judy. Even now, the cat is demanding attention. Occasionally, there are days when motivation is just not there.

Then there are the times, in the middle of a contract, when you’re waiting for feedback from a client when you have a spare day or two. There are, of course, things to do for the next stage of the contract, but there’s weeks until the deadline. And then the guilt comes. Usually, I go and see my disabled mum, who lives alone. I always take my laptop with me, just in case. Does anyone else feel guilt when they take a day or two just to ‘be’? Isn’t that one of the perks of freelancing? But still ensuring you have enough work to do? I feel so blessed that due to freelancing, I’m able to visit my mum every couple of weeks. My sister lives hundreds of miles away, so I try to visit every week or so, if I can.

My partner travels a fair bit with work, and quite often I tag along. Sometimes I get, “Another holiday?” Well, not really Mavis, it’s just a couple of days away. Like the post photo, taken when we were in Italy, and I popped to San Marino for the day.

Sometimes the weight of expectations when you work from home is too much. Not that I’ve had this, but maybe a partner or housemate will say “Why hasn’t this been done?” or “You’ve been at home all day! What did you do, sleep?”. Sometimes the guilt of not ‘keeping house’ gets to me, even though my partner has never mentioned it. I feel bad for not cooking, but then I’m working too.

Is it just me? Let me know your thoughts.

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Peter J Fullagar. Reading, UK.

peterjfullagar@gmail.com

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