My husband is in law school, so my days are a whirlwind of drop-offs, pickups, housework, and errands. And, oh yeah, supporting my family. And with all that, there’s never enough money.
Somehow, when my husband was in kollel, we didn’t feel the pressure as much. Call it siyata d’Shmaya, call it lowered expectations, but things just fell into place. Now my husband isn’t available to pick up the slack at home, and we’re feeling the pinch in a big way.
I guess I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself lately. What happens then is that when I get to work, I can’t buckle down and focus. It’s crazy — I do the whole morning routine myself, get everyone where they need to be, even make sure I’m wearing two matching shoes, rush out the door, then I just sit at my desk and stare at the screen, finding excuses not to start my workday as a court transcriber.
I’m exhausted, and I need time to breathe, I tell myself — just ten minutes to unwind from the morning’s chaos. I check the news, do some online shopping, check my email, and the next thing I know, an hour and a half has passed.
For better or for worse, my job’s flexibility enables my time-wasting. The office is chilled, and there’s plenty of schmoozing.
As long as I hit my monthly minimum, no one’s breathing down my back; there’s no supervisor looking over my shoulder. There are plenty of downsides, though: My work isn’t what it should be, when I fall really behind I need to take some work home, and bottom line, I’m paid per page I transcribe.
It’s a horrible feeling. I feel lazy but powerless to help myself, and I can practically see dollar bills flying out the window. Even the downtime is pointless— relaxing on borrowed time isn’t relaxing.
It’s time for drastic measures.
I thought the new school year would be enough to inspire a fresh start, but the first week of school I’m back to my old habits.
With the Yamim Tovim finally behind us, I’m ready to take the bull by the horns.
In a notebook, I prepare a highly convoluted but very thorough chart system. It’s got columns for each workday of the month, how many hours I can potentially work, how many I actually work, cumulative hours for the month, daily earnings, and cumulative monthly earnings. Every relevant data point — and some irrelevant ones, for good measure — is accounted for in that notebook.
I’m going to fix this problem by observing it under a microscope.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 622)