The Self-Employment Meltdown: Pre-Christmas edition

When I worked in an office, this would have been a fun time of year.

Work would have been winding down before Christmas. There would be an office Christmas party — like, with actual people other than just me. There would be Secret Santa gift exchanges in each department.

There would be candy canes in bowls for people to help themselves, and boxes of chocolates brought in to share. There would be lazy days where someone suggests an impromptu lunch and we all gaily filed outside together in search of a restaurant.

Did I mention work would be WINDING DOWN?

This year — and, well, the last five years of self-employment — that is not the case. You’re busier than EVER because your editors are trying to get ahead of holiday deadlines and that means MOAR STORRRRREEEEEEES and your corporate clients are trying to wrap up projects before the end of the year which means MOAAAAR COPY-COPY and that’s all very good because it also means more money, but … there are only 24 hours in a day, last time I checked?

This is made even worse by the fact that this is an EXPENSIVE time of year and the UPS guy and the Purolator guy have been visiting me daily to drop off gifts (which I ordered in a mad rush panic in between phone interviews since I can’t leave my house to get to the mall, ever). This makes me poorer than usual and therefore 200% more likely to accept assignments in order to not be quite so poor.

(These problems don’t exist in those “salary” jobs I’ve heard so much about, FYI.)

Also, the kids have extra activities at this time of year (concerts! other concerts! parties! merriment!) and that cuts down on my available work time. Because I’m self-employed, I feel the need to be THAT MOM who gets INVOLVED and that is probably a MISTAKE. *giggles shrilly* I volunteered at the elementary school’s Christmas dinner yesterday and served hundreds of scoops of mashed potatoes instead of writing a story I should have been writing. It was both good and bad. I don’t know.

I don’t feel merry. I don’t feel excited. I’m thigh-high in anxiety and it certainly does not feel like the most wonderful time of the year. I think I’m mostly looking forward to Christmas Day because it’s a day I won’t have to write a single sentence or talk on the phone at all, which is sad but true. #burnout is real, and it’s hereeeeeee.

So did you catch all that? No? How about a nice list?

Very Specific Examples of How My Life is a Disaster Right Now:

1. I am not wearing socks because I don’t have any clean ones. Literally none. This never happens, so you know the laundry situation is dire.

2. Our house looks like this most of the time, and it’s eating away at my soul.

3. I am writing until words are spewing out of my ears, and it’s not enough. I worked all day yesterday. I worked straight through cheerleading practice last night and didn’t look up once. When I did have to leave the house, I did phone interviews on my iPhone (cringing at the thought of the long distance charges). Then I came home, put the kids to bed, and worked some more. I actually wish I had the ability to write while driving because maybe I could finally feel caught up?

4. I have piles of not-quite-finished and not-even-started DIY projects to make for my column and they taunt me while I write about boring stuff. I want to get to you, lovely projects! I do! And I know I have to because you’re due but this other stuff is due first and aughhhhh! 

5. I ordered our Christmas cards a zillion months ago (they’re so cute!) and they sat on my desk in a pathetic stack until I managed to address (one-handed) most of them last week during my iron infusion at the hospital. Then they sat on the counter for another 4-5 days until I managed to address the last few. Then they finally got mailed yesterday so I guess no one is getting our cards promptly on Dec. 1 like usual because IT ALREADY HAPPENED LIKE TWO WEEKS AGO.

6. The menu board hasn’t been updated since LAST SUNDAY and staring at the meals we ate LAST WEEK is almost as depressing as the (totally unplanned) meals we have actually eaten this week.

7. Yesterday afternoon, Darling Husband stopped at the store (mid-week! alarm bells!) to pick up “something easy” he could make, and he bought STORE BRAND CHICKEN NUGGETS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HAD A GREY TINGE. *faints*

8. Oh, it gets better. My dinner yesterday was a baggie of cold oven fries (I wouldn’t eat the nuggets) which were stuffed in my mouth while driving to/from cheer practice.

9. I keep missing Zumba classes. Work is taking priority. This doesn’t help my mood.

10. Some of the gifts are wrapped, but … not that many of them. Just the ones I could do with C one morning.

11. I’m at that weird spot with Christmas shopping where I could consider myself “done” but feel like a few people may not have quite enough, so … not done, I guess? For someone who always prides herself on finishing in early November (or even October) I’m in a total Shame Spiral.

12. It’s December 11 and we have yet to write our letters to Santa — although we did “email” him quickly to confirm their gift selections before I, uh, ordered them online — or visit Santa at the mall for our annual screamy photo.

13. I’m too busy to even …

14 … properly finish

15. this post …

Must run to bloodwork now, and then a press conference, and then writing writing writing writing writing writing until all of the crap on my kitchen counters joins forces with the junk heaped on the stairs and it plots to kill me in my sleep (which I’ll be doing at my desk, facedown in a puddle of cold tea and wet Post-Its scribbed with deadlines).


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