I'm Leah, and in a lucky twist of fate, I've landed my three dream jobs:
book editor, writer, and mother. Since having my son in December 2008, my
work-life has been in constant flux - full-time? part-time? freelance?
working at home or in the office? It depends on the day and which way the
wind is blowing - and figuring out how to keep it all going is a constant
challenge. Heck, I'm still getting used to the idea of being someone's
Check out my profile on Work It, Mom! and my personal blog, A Girl and a Boy.
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to stay connected to the world if you spend most of your days in charge of a small person who calls you Mama. Join a playgroup! Frequent library storytimes! Sign up for mommy-and-me music classes! Join baby bootcamp! Start a blog! All this in the name of forming contacts with other parents of small children, presumably as much for our own sanity as for our kids’ social development. But what do you do if you’re home all day without your kid?
Back when I was on maternity leave, I wrote about how completely uninterested I was in joining a mom’s group, and in fact, part of the reason daycare was such a good decision for our family is because it allows my son to get the social interaction he needs (and thrives on) without making me wretched with worry about having to “perform the parent.” I like having time to myself and I don’t need in-person socializing to be a part of my everyday routine, and yet…if this lone-wolf hermit says she’s feeling a little isolated (and I am, in a tiny, tiny voice), it behooves me to listen.
I work from home for lots of reason: to save on time and gas money and fuel emissions (and clean pants and the water I save not showering), and also because when I’m home I can multitask in a way that I can’t in an office that’s lacking an ensuite dishwasher. The consequence of that, of course, is that I spend loooooong days with only myself and the cats for company–plus the very valuable but also somewhat limited (and limiting) contact I have with people through various online communities, including this one–and after a while…it’s a little trying.
Last week I found myself wondering if it’s time to reassume the cost in time, gas, and shower water as a necessary expense of not going insane.
Here’s the thing: I don’t need the kind of social colleagues a playgroup (or even a one-on-one playdate) creates–what I need are professional colleagues. I have my girlfriends and my parent friends already, so what I need are work friends. It was then I had an idea so crazy it just might work. Say, what if a group of working people–parents and non-parents combined, even–all got together in a shared space and worked at the same time (but separately) in such a way that they could form a sort of daily professional social and support group. It might be even better if everyone in the collective was employed by the same company. Perhaps when one of them celebrated a birthday, the whole team could sign a card and then kill fifteen minutes over cake. Can you imagine?
And voila, I just invented the office. Duh. Maybe I have been working from home too long after all…
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