• Valérie Gillet

Taking some 'time off'



This summer has been hectic, as I've been travelling and moving around with my family... while working.


Yesterday was my very first real day off since the beginning of the holidays... and I still managed to reply to my mails while visiting an exhibition and send a translation to a client before going out to dinner and a show.


By days off, I mean spending a few days in London with my daughter for her 15th birthday... Planning everything to make it unforgettable: exhibitions, shows, restaurants, shopping, walking around... Being the cool mum for once... and opening my wallet accordingly.


So for those who complain about not having enough time and money for themselves with no children and no responsibilities or a spouse who earns double what we freelancing single parents make alone working 60 hours a week, please put your lack of free time and means into perspective, because it's getting old hearing you complain about how hard you have it.


Being a single parent and a freelancer means you're on deck all the time, even when you're posting cute stories of you and your girl at the V&A, shopping in the Camden Town market or going to see Moulin Rouge and the Harry Potter Studios... All this waking up early to work before leaving the B&B and checking your phone not to miss emails and client requests.


It's a lonely life. A life where your friends kind of forget all about you if you don't remind them you're alive. A life where romantic love is a fleeting notion at best. A life of constant decision-making and trial and error. Where me time means taking one hour at the end of the day to think about how you're going to make it until retirement with enough money not to die alone from hunger in our unheated flat if they let you keep it while all your married friends and family members are building swimming pools to 'fight off global warming'.


Never ever really stopping. Not a single day in 15 years (for me I mean).


Because comfort and leisure can only be afforded if there's a constant inflow of money, for that as well as for the mortgage, the bills, the taxes, the insurances, the medical bills, the dance classes, the car, the clothes, the food, the school stuff... all the adult things you have to carry all by yourself on your shoulders 100% of the time, even when you're tired, sick, sad, depressed, not in the mood, fed up with your job, injured, pregnant, post-partum, getting older, exhausted, not doing good, not performing well enough or not doing what you'd like to do for a living.


This is not about making six figures to brag about it on social media, it's about real life raising real humans who depend on us.


This is a fun life if you decide to make it so, but a restless one too whether you like it or not.

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