with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I love my children. I love my children. Ilovemychildrenanddon’treallywanttokillthem.
So the thing about my home office is that I used to share it with my husband. When we first moved into this house a few years ago, we packed the room to the gills with our stuff—his desk on that wall, mine on this one, and bookshelves and boxes galore everywhere else. I enjoyed sharing with him (I am rather fond of the guy, after all, and he makes an ideal officemate because he’s quiet and tidy but also fun to be around), but we really didn’t have enough space. And so this summer, we rearranged some other things in the house and my husband moved his office upstairs.
The good news is that now he has enough room for all of his stuff, and I have enough room for all of my stuff.
The bad news is that all of the new-found extra space in my office is rapidly being filled up with child detritus.
My office is where we’d have a mudroom, if we had a mudroom. It’s the room that joins the kitchen and the garage, and therefore the door we go in and out of 99% of the time. We actually spent a lot of time considering whether or not this was the right place for my office, what with it being the main hub of egress for the household, and I knowingly and willingly moved into this space. It would allow me to sort of keep an eye on everyone while I work, not to mention that when I’m still working when it comes time to get dinner started (that only happens… oh, nearly every day…), I can just pop around the corner and get the meal going, then go right back to my desk and work while I wait for the oven to preheat or whatever.
The kids walk into my office after school and I get to see them the moment they get home, and I love that. And I’ve made concessions to the location for years—my office houses our coat rack, a console for shoes, and the spot where the backpacks live when not in use. I expect the kids to leave certain things in here each day; I can’t just declare the office off-limits entirely.
But ever since my husband moved his stuff out… I don’t know whether it’s the increased open space or the fact that the kids were less likely to leave things where he might get on their case, but suddenly they’re leaving everything in here.
There are piles of books on the floor. Socks. My daughter’s flute. Piano books. Wrappers from snacks. All over the floor and my desk and the futon couch.
It’s driving me insane.
And I’m trying to be all hardcore about it and tell them that if it gets left in my office, it becomes mine, but what happens if I take the overdue library book? The library doesn’t get it back. Or if I take the flute, which I paid for? Well, maybe she gets in trouble at band, but eventually I have to give it back if I don’t want her to fail the class. And they certainly don’t care if I take their garbage, which honestly is what most of the leavings are.
I’ve got to come up with a better system, or at least a more credible threat, to get it through their heads that my office is not their dumping ground.
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