My husband has started working from home a couple days a week. If you think that sounds awesome, you obviously haven’t experienced this arrangement. Two work-at-home spouses are like Clark Kent and Superman – they can’t exist in the same space at the same time.
C. set up shop in the room formerly known as the nursery. His desk in one corner, our 6yo son’s desk in another. It’s pretty cute, actually. So the first morning, C.’s shuffling around in there getting his computer and lamp set up and I’m getting nervous. I don’t like someone messing up my routine. And maybe I don’t want him knowing what I do every minute of the day, OK?
Like now, at 10am, the kids have been dropped off at school and I’m home from the gym, toasting a bagel to take upstairs to my desk. But what’s this? Someone has finished all the coffee? Home-office foul. Grrr…
C. and I spend a few minutes arguing about the breakfast dishes before we go our separate ways. I have just torn myself away from email and Twitter and related distractions and gotten down to the business of writing when C. barges in. He starts chattering on about something and I sigh. “If this is going to work, we’re going to have to lay out some ground rules,” I say. He leaves.
Around 11:45, I’m getting bored with the medical research I’m doing for a story and wander in to his office. “Wanna go get lunch?” I ask him. “Can’t. I’ve got a call coming up.” Well, damn. Does this working-at-home-together thing have any perks at ALL? We nuke our respective lunches in the kitchen side by side, then shuffle back to our desks.
OK, this day is REALLY dragging. My next phone interview’s not for a couple of hours. I feel like popping over to Marshall’s to see if they have any cute flats, but I don’t want C. thinking I do nothing all day. He probably thinks I have it so easy, going to the gym, shopping, checking email… Why can’t this be one of those days when the dog throws up and the school nurse calls and I’m on deadline? This is really not a fair representation of a typical day.
My work time’s over, the groceries are purchased, and the kids are now home from school. C. makes the fatal mistake of showing his face. Now the boys know he’s home and won’t leave him alone. Rookie. When I worked from home and the boys were small and downstairs with a sitter, I wouldn’t ever go downstairs or even flush, so as not to alert them to my presence in the house.
It’s 6pm and C. is done working. We all gather round the kitchen table – this one’s whining, that one’s knocking over his chair, I’m threatening someone with no dessert if he doesn’t eat his veggies, C.’s pouring the milk and checking work emails on his iPhone. Everyone’s here for a
nice family dinner. This quality time is what working from home’s all about, right? Although I’m starting to think there’s a reason Lois Lane worked in an office.