It's been a week since I posted here. I've never had such a long break from posting except when I was away on holiday. I've taken on a lot more work - 50% more, at least until October. It's more money as well, and that's nice but it's not the reason I'm doing it. I'm a university lecturer and some students found themselves without a tutor half way through the course, so I stepped in to fill the breach. I enjoy my job and I'm glad to be able to support these students. But the extra work is a burden and it has reminded me why I don't normally work so much - it messes up my work-life balance.
I work part-time, mostly from home although every couple of weeks I give a face-to-face tutorial in Liverpool or Manchester. I don't need a childminder or any child-care because I can take my kids to school and pick them up and be with them during the holidays. I reckon I'm as financially well off as if I worked full-time and paid for child-care, so I'm not at all tempted to go full time. If I want to spend some time on the allotment on a sunny day I can, because I can do my marking in the evening or at the weekend instead. I can go to my bees when I need to, or spend the afternoon making jam. I can do my shopping on a weekday morning instead of Friday night or Saturday when the shops are a crush. I feel very lucky.
There are disadvantages. It can be rather lonely. It isn't the glittering career I once dreamed of, it's much more humdrum than that. And because I don't have a clear division between work and not-work, I don't ever quite feel "off duty". When Ed comes home from work and kicks off his shoes, I can see the work stress fall off him. But I still have the dinner to make, some laundry to fold, and I might be planning to mark 6 essays after dinner.
On the other hand, I don't have work stress that I need to escape from. I remember that stress from when I used to work full time and I don't miss it one bit. It eats your soul.
I'm glad I took on this extra work. I'm glad to be able to help the students. The extra money will be nice for a while. But mainly I'm glad because it helped me realise why I don't usually work this hard.