I keep coming across people talking about working from home. How they'd love to do it.
Dave works from home, and I have to say it can be absolutely as lovely as people think. There are some days, when the sun is shining and the work is slow that he says 'sod it, let's go on a bike ride and stop off at the pub on the way back' so we do. There are days when he comes downstairs for lunch and gets a special play with the kids. It's easy for him to go to the school events; The Year 2 circus show at 2.15pm today being a prime example. There's the no commute aspect which means he can drop the kids off at school and still be back by 9am.
There are the downsides too. It is very difficult to remain professional on the phone to a client when a small boy is yelling 'I'm finished' from the loo next door. Similarly it is difficult to maintain a train of thought when World War 3 has erupted downstairs.
In all the rhapsodies I've heard about working from home no one has ever asked me what it is like, as the other grown-up in the work from home house. And I'd like to say something.
It is lovely having a husband who works from home. If the baby is having a nap then I can pop to town with no children in tow, get a gazillion things done come back and find the baby still snoozing away. Likewise there's no need to wake a sleeping baby for the school run. Huzzah and Hurrah.
But there is another side. The side that says there is someone trying to work upstairs so lets try and contain the chaos to at least a minimum. The side that thinks 'would another 3 children in the house be a good idea given the end of week deadline?'
The thing about people working from home is they are at home all the time. Things that they don't need to know about what goes on at home when they are in the office are now obvious. Vital things like my penchant for running a dishwasher incorrectly stacked and capable of taking at least 2 more plates. Or how I've spent most of the afternoon with my mate sitting on the step in the sunshine drinking coffee and letting our babies discover mud (I say important to discover mud on your own terms, Dave reckons it is having coffee with a friend all afternoon and counts as a break from childcare). Or just how much I shout.
We've both had to get used to him working from home. He's learnt that I don't take kindly to having lunch left out in the hope that the washing up fairy is going to visit. I've learnt that I can't enter his office unless I have a really, really good reason to. He's learnt that appearing downstairs in the middle of a meltdown and saying 'how about doing some craft' is going to get him shot at dawn. I've learnt again that I can't interrupt without a really good reason (the incident of the potty training toddler, the poo-filled pants, the just crawling baby and the circling, hopeful dog was only just deemed to be sufficient cause). He's learnt that he must ask me if I want a cup of tea when he's making one for himself and that he must also greet all visitors in the house. I've learnt that he's a grumpy bear with a sore head if he gets interrupted and when he's in the work flow social niceties go out the window.
But the main thing about working from home is that work is always at home. Which is why at 10pm we are both still at our computers. So I'm going to turn mine off now and go and say hello to my working from home husband - who I haven't seen all day.