KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Dear Newly Self-Employed Editors . . . Here's an Update

Back in 2014, I wrote a blog post because I "wanted newbies to know that I have hard days too—and that I love freelancing despite those days." Well, it's 2021 and I'm still self-employed, and there has been a pandemic, so it's time for an update.

My children are now 19, 26, and 38. And for the last couple of years, I have been the daytime caregiver for my elderly mother-in-law, who lives in my intergenerational household. She has dementia and is now 86 years old; she also has type 2 diabetes, as I do. While all the other adults are out of the house at their day jobs, I provide her with nutritious meals and monitor her blood sugar levels and adjust as needed the amount of insulin that I inject her with.

The 19- and 26-year-olds still live here, along with the 26-year-old's mate and their now 6-year-old daughter (our brilliant and fun youngest grandchild). (The 38-year-old, who is the mother of our two older wonderful grandchildren, comes by on Friday nights to hang out with us.) The 6-year-old is attending kindergarten remotely here at home, because we're wary of exposure to COVID-19 from outsiders. (All 6 adult family members who live in our home now have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine; all second doses will have been had by the end of this month.)

My office is still in my kitchen, even though my handy guys (my husband and our two adult sons) have built me a lovely 12 foot × 12 foot office in our backyard. If they ever quit having to work overtime on Saturdays (they're all cabinetmakers) and it quits raining here on Sundays, we'll move me out there, and I'll be delighted. But I'll still be my mother-in-law's caretaker.

Fortunately, the county agency for the aging has grants that fund the services of a health-care aide who works here to take care of my mother-in-law on 4 days of each week, for 5 hours each day. This does give me some mental space for working, but not as much as I want, of course.

The woman who would become my mother-in-law used to commute by train to her job in Manhattan, just as I did: she was a designer of children's clothing for a clothing manufacturer; I was a full-time employee for a publisher. We became such good friends that she introduced me to her only son in 1992. He and I fell in love very quickly, and we married in 1993. It is that great gift of hers that helps me continue to provide care for her on the days when things get tough.

And yes, I still do find joy in being self-employed.

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