Working from home presents unique challenges, I have found. Gone are the days when I rolled out of bed still bleary from the previous night, quickly made myself presentable, and went off to work. Work was clearly defined by hours, and there I was no matter what, day in and day out, hacking away at a never ending “in-pile” sometimes feeling successful and sometimes not. I did work hard, but it was all with a steaming cup of coffee to buoy me through the day and the knowledge that I had breaks that occurred with regularity. On those breaks (smoke breaks often, I am afraid), I would talk with my colleague and friend who also had a tendency to take smoke breaks. She kept me up to date. “T” was -and is- amazing. She taught me what “foodie” meant and introduced me to its world. She tried to teach me about the many mysteries of computers and other electronic gadgets. Technically, she is a genius. She read voraciously and inspired me want to as well. She was my first friend when I moved to the Bay Area and she made me want to stay in a job that was difficult, to say the least. But, at the end of my day, I would walk away from it all until the next day began.
For the very same reasons that I hated working outside the home (having my schedule made up by someone other than myself, having to look presentable, sitting for hours focusing on my work, waiting to take a break, not being a able to nosh at will) I now miss it terribly. I find that it takes an incredible amount of effort to get dressed every morning and schedule myself. I no longer have “T” to keep me up to date and I feel like a very foreign foreigner when it comes to popular culture. My tasks are now much more varied and…exotic. And there is now an added layer of difficulty to navigate: scheduling time around a one-year-old that has no concept of time. The day can go quite wildly, if not controlled. And control has to be balanced with a healthy respect for the unexpected.
For the most part I devote mornings to walking the Very Energetic Dog, myself, Babou (my little one’s nickname), cleaning the house, some vague attempts at some vague toning exercises, eating and feeding, and then it’s the afternoon and time for errands and dinner planning and trying to fit in extras like the gardening I like to do, or various other projects deemed necessary at the time. When Babou does go down for a nap you would think—ahh—there’s the break. As every mother knows, however, this is the chance to actually complete a task to the finish and I move into Mach 10 mode. Showering while cleaning the shower, writing a letter while organizing the mail and making phone calls, completing the unfriendly-baby parts of future work so I can finish them with greater ease post nap (getting the recycling into the car, prepping for dinner, etc). But SOMETIMES, I just sit on the couch and watch Giada De Laurentiis look beautiful and cook something amazing simultaneously and hope it inspires me.
So, in the end, I have to say that work is work. You cannot judge it. Usually what irks you the most is what you eventually miss the most. So while I might have looked content sitting at work focused on my computer, inside I was secretly dreaming of being a stay-at-home mom. Now, sitting at home half focused on my computer, half focused on Babou; I am realizing that you simply have to embrace the current moment--whatever it might be—and that the point is to love that moment and make that your work.
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