Monday, April 21, 2014

Five Pitfalls of the Home Office

A few weeks ago I wrote a pretty complimentary post about Adam and what an awesome marriage we have. That was all true.

However, just so you don't think our lives are always filled with butterflies, I'm giving you the other side today.

These are the things that drive me batty about having a husband that works out of a home office...with two toddlers who are home...and me, a mom who stays home. In other words, the things that drive me batty about having everyone home together, all day long.

I mean, this (and Starbucks) is MY office. Would it kill him to find a similar one from time to time?


So, in case you have ever wished that your hubby could ditch the long hours and commute, here are the pitfalls you need to be aware of.

5) He's in your business.

What are you doing? 

Did you guys not get dressed yet?

Why did they make such a mess?

You're going to Target again?

Is there a reason this is out?

I hate having to explain everything. We're going to Target because I forgot to get the ZipLocs yesterday, and we need an afternoon outing. They made a huge mess because they were playing quietly so I tried to get a few phone calls made. We didn't get dressed yet because I didn't feel like it. Get off my case.

And don't even get me started on the bathroom.

4) It adds to the mess.

You would think that two adults being home with two toddlers might help keep the house in check. No. No it does not.

I'd like to say for the record that he has never asked me to make him lunch, or a snack, or even breakfast. But if I'm cooking, I'll offer. And that's another set of dishes.

Or he makes his own breakfast, snack, lunch, glass of iced tea. And it adds to the dishes. And the general mess in the kitchen.

When Adam and I both worked outside the home, our kitchen had occasional bouts of messiness, but generally stayed clean. Now it is a train wreck all the time, simply because it's in use all the time. By the time I do the breakfast dishes, there are lunch dishes on the way. By the time I do those, the dinner prep dishes are heading in. And so on, and so on, and so on...

And don't even get me started on the bathroom.

3) There's no real privacy.

Yeah, I know. I'm a mom of toddlers. There isn't much privacy to begin with. But let's just say that I managed to get both girls in their rooms, napping or resting, for an hour.

Then my co-worker wants to chat. He wants to tell me about how this customer wanted this and this guy they're dealing with is an idiot and this guy had this happen.

I get it. He's alone in an office all day long, all of his colleagues present via phone and computer only. I am the adult he gets to personally interact with on a regular basis. So instead of wandering down to the office next door and sharing the story he read about news, or sports, or something that happened on a conference call, he wanders in while I'm watching my DVRed Chopped episodes.

I'm also incredibly self-conscious about certain things. Do not try to read what I'm writing, do not listen as I gossip with my friends on the phone, do not come downstairs if I'm trying to exercise. I don't want you to see the scrabble of words trying to turn themselves into a coherent essay, I don't want you to hear how gossipy I can get, and I do not want you to watch me trying to keep up with a cardio DVD. I don't want you to notice that even though I said I'm writing, it's Facebook open in my browser.

And don't get me started on the bathroom.

2) It get confusing for the girls.

Reagan might cling to me, but Madison is a Daddy's girl through and through. She loves Adam and everything about him. There is nothing she likes better than coming home from her morning activity with new information or a craft and bursting in his office to catch him up on what she's been up to.

When she's mad at me, for whatever reason, her first solution is to go to Daddy (who has, without fail, backed me up, but it doesn't stop her from trying). And though he's home, he's not available to play good cop.

Reagan adores everything forbidden about Daddy's office. She wanders around, picking up papers and dry erase markers and pushing buttons. Daddy's office has a lot of buttons.

And we haven't managed to be consistent yet. Sometimes Adam is happy to have them in there, but sometimes he can't allow them in. Sometimes he's fine with the household noise while he's on the phone, sometimes we need to pretend that he is working in an actual office where the loudest background noise you'd expect to hear on a conference call is typing. Sometimes he welcomes the interruptions and is more than happy to share breakfast and lunch with them, sometimes he can't be a part of their day until dinner.

And they are horribly confused. Most of the time, Madison gets the difference now. Door closed means Daddy can't be disturbed. We treat phone calls as quiet time unless told otherwise.

Reagan does not get that difference.

Not to mention that he occasionally stays on the phone as he comes down to the kitchen to refill his coffee, uses the bathroom, picks up receipts from one room and moves to another. Because it's a headset, it's not always noticeable, so they think that Daddy is ignoring them, when really, he's just trying to get through his day.

We also don't have a distinct Daddy's at work/Daddy's home delineation. Daddy might be working in his laptop before breakfast, or on a call after dinner. He doesn't have "hours", at least not that they understand.

But then he's available to play with them much longer in the morning than most dads with typical jobs are, and he's ready for dinner by 5:30.

1) When he's not there, we feel it.

Big time. 

When he travels, we don't just notice it at the beginning and end of the day. We feel it all day long.

Because for all the little annoyances, I don't think we'd choose to have it any other way.

For all my whining, I wouldn't trade this guy in. But husbands do make for some excellent story material.  Have you picked up a copy of the book yet?
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