One of the perks of being a self-employed freelance writer is that I get to work from home. My schedule. My desk. My big Mac. Twice in nearly three decades I’ve tried working full-time for a corporation—at an office from 9-5—with lots of other people plus a boss and a badge and a yucky cafeteria. Each stint lasted less than 12 months and it’s clear that I’m not cut out for it.
So back to me at home (where I know I belong). Our place isn’t huge, but it’s really nice, and given we’re a small clan, we don’t need more square footage. It’s just me, my husband and our teenage son. A remodel thoughtfully reconfigured the floor plan so that we now have what could be considered three master bedrooms, with my office and bathroom on one side of the house, and said spouse’s arrangement on the other.
Yes, we’re a modern couple and my better half is in sales and works from home, too. It’s really great because he’ll come into my office and ask me, “What should we have for lunch?” Or, he’ll text me to see if I want a breakfast taco on his way home from sneaking out to get a Big Gulp—having left me in a house full of dirty dishes and unmade beds. I find it distracting when he goes in and out the back door fifty times whereby his movements sound the motion chime each way. Ding, dong. Ding, dong. Ding, dong. Ugh! When I venture to the kitchen to make a sandwich, he’s likely to emerge from behind his closed door and proceed to make one for himself, right then, before joining me in my would-be peaceful moment sitting in front of our big picture window. Soooo happy together, right?
Wrong. Call me cold and unromantic, but I think too much daily togetherness feels downright imposing.
I wonder, am I the only woman who longs for the time when men got dressed in the morning, left with a briefcase in hand, and said au revoir until dinner? After talking with a few friends, I don’t think I’m alone. One patient, meek and much-sweeter-than-I pal remarked that it drove her bonkers when her spouse was home-bound for an extended period of time. She’d be heading to the grocery store (or dry cleaners or yoga class), when her business-exec spouse would approach her with a confused expression and ask, “Where are you going?” Recently, while at Starbucks one morning, my spouse ran into an acquaintance who confessed that he and his wife both work from home, too. In fact, he was standing in line to get a Grande Vanilla Latte because his beloved had just begged, “Can you please leave the house? Please. Now!”
I’m not sure how this work-from-home dynamic is playing out in living spaces across America, but if you read this and have thoughts, do tell!
*Lest this post attracts a flock of haters who feel inclined to tell me that I’m the wrong kind of feminist or wife, let me assure that I’m sounding off and posting this for the world to see because my husband knows I love him. He’s also known of my fondness for quiet time since the day we got married, when my father pulled him aside before walking down the aisle and advised, “You know, the best thing to do is give her a little space.” Dad had many faults, but he got me. There’s a reason I don’t work in an office building. Absence makes my heart grow fonder. I like not seeing someone for a while so that when I ask ‘How was your day?’ I’m really interested in the answer. I cherish my space, but I also love my husband, our family, our house and my job—as well as my right to speak my mind. And so it begins, my blog.