Having successfully navigated 18 months of marriage, Mr H and I have, like so many newlyweds before us, tentatively turned our attention to the omnipresent “what shall we do about having children” question. Now, whilst I am aware that there are countless bridges to cross before I find myself responsible for another human being, my Type A personality has got me considering my options.
First up: where would I work once the baby was here?
You may find that, especially if you’re a woman, well-meaning friends and family members assure you that freelancing is the ideal choice for working mums. These people are not translators. As much as I wish translation was a booming industry, I find I need to work more than the length of a two-hour nap to pay the bills. Furthermore, if I’ve had so much as a glass of wine the night before a job about different types of pliers then my mind starts to wander, so I can’t imagine 30 minutes of sleep a night would be great for quality. And if Spotify’s “Music for concentration” playlist tinkling away gently in the background ruins my focus, then I doubt a loop of screaming baby or—worse—Peppa Pig on repeat would be overly helpful.
What’s more, although I’m obviously no expert on the matter, I’m led to believe that babies require a fair amount of attention. Maybe they’re not going to be up for sitting quietly in a bouncy chair while I spend eight hours at my desk.
Throw in the fact that we only have a two-bedroomed house (one of which is currently my office) and the idea that, working from home, I would have no neutral office setting to return to after having my world turned upside down, and it’s starting to look like I might need to rent some desk space.
I absolutely love translating. I love that I’m lucky enough to combine two of the things I enjoy the most: languages and writing. I love that I actually get to use the degree that I worked so hard for. For the most part, I feel so lucky that this is what I get to do. The only thing I don’t love is the loneliness.
I miss people. When you work from home, there’s no one to go for a cup of tea with or eat lunch with. There’s no one to act as a sounding board for any issues, professional or otherwise. If my computer randomly restarts mid-job and loses half a day’s work, there’s no co-worker to sigh at or boss to step in and negotiate a deadline extension. Some days, the only person I see is my husband. And as lucky as I know I am to even see him when so many people working from home also live alone, I am beginning to think I’m losing the ability to talk to other people. And to him (I also have a tendency to unload every thought I’ve had that day as soon as he steps through the door, probably hoping for a sit down and a bit of peace).
I’ve weighed up my options:
- Work in cafés, spending money I don’t have on fuelling a budding coffee and cake addiction
- Work in the library, surrounded by children on school trips and trying to avoid the crazy man who once followed my friend home
- Rent desk space
On paper, desk space is the answer. It will give me somewhere to go to better separate my work life and home life; it will provide me with a potential-post-baby sanctuary; it will help me get socialised; it will save our heating bills in the middle of winter and, most importantly, it will save Mr H from two hours of saying “uh-huh” to hundreds of tedious statements.
Yes, desk space is surely the answer, my friends. So I’m setting off to find something suitable.
I’ll report back.