Silk and wool on the wheel from the weekend.

Stockpot on the stove for soup tonight.

Natalie on the stash room.

Have I mentioned this?  A little while ago I hired Natalie to be my assistant, one glorious morning a week.  It took me forever to do it, mostly because hiring help – even if I really need it, makes me feel lazy. In my heart I think I should do it all with no help from anyone, even if that means I’m crazy and exhausted and not actually doing it all.  I confided this to a friend with a small business a while ago, when she asked why I didn’t hire help.  There was stunned silence on the other end, and then she asked me if I thought she was lazy because she had hired some part-time staff.  "Of course not" was my instant answer, and that stupid thing I do with myself hit me again.  It’s reasonable for other people to have help or staff, but a failing if I need it.  I’ve been doing a variation on this one for years and years. It makes total sense for other people to have a babysitter, but I have to be with my kids. Busy working parents can take their clothes to a wash and fold, but I wouldn’t be able to let myself off the hook.   It would be nuts for you to make your own yogurt and bread, but I have to make all of mine. (I got over that one.) I have high standards for myself, but I don’t hold other people to them at all.   The Natalie experiment is an attempt to … well.  Get over myself.  If I don’t think that other people should work 70 hours a week, then maybe I shouldn’t either. 

Natalie comes on Monday mornings.  She drinks tea and applies herself to all the stuff I think is really important that doesn’t need to be done by me so that I can do the stuff that can only be done by me.  It’s a little bit brilliant.  She answers emails in the Knitters Without Borders inbox,  she drops things at the post office, she files things and she manages the media and clippings I’m not sure what to do with… and it’s a miracle.  It really is.  I wasn’t sure  if four hours of help a week would change anything, but it has – which is great, because I really couldn’t afford more.  Natalie’s hours are directly converted to writing time for me, and that’s pretty outstanding- but there’s another advantage that I wasn’t expecting, and it’s that Natalie doing all this stuff that I always mean to do and never get time to do and bugs the snot out of me on a daily basis, means that I’m a lot less worried and stressed out.  Being less worried and stressed out means more writing, even when she’s not here. 

It’s a big step, and I know you’re all probably thinking it’s funny that I would have so much anxiety about four hours a week of part time work – but the decision was really crushing for some reason.  (Essentially, Natalie hired herself, which was a big help.)  Big step or not, completely neurotic wingnut or not, it all comes up to Natalie being up in the new stash room, sorting books by subject and height (she totally got where I was going with the plan) and I am starting to really like Mondays.