Sure, I’m wearing my robe, my bare feet are propped up on the coffee table, the laptop is warming my thighs and I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. That’s the good part. That’s the “creative office freedom” that comes from working out of your house. No one bats an eye when you show up at work without a bra.
I have no boundaries. I am stressed ALL the time. I’ve gained 6 pounds from potato chips and cheese sticks. The Fed Ex guy doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. I’m wondering why everyone doesn’t have a glass of wine at 11 am.
Oh, I’ve tried all the tricks for working from the house. I moved my desk out of the bedroom. I got dressed in a skirt & heels. I took lunch from 1 – 2 pm. I once walked out of the house and walked back in through the front door, shouting to our housekeeper, “Sorry I’m late. Traffic was a bitch this morning.” I even bought a new travel mug for the commute. But one year later, I’m admitting defeat. I need to abandon my home office or else I’m going to bite off someone’s cheek.
Why the looming threat of 1990’s Silence of the Lambs violence? Because without an office to leave at the end of the day, I never stop working. Every time I sit on the sofa, I think “Let me grab my laptop and do some work.” Same goes for the dining room table, the Adirondack chair at the back porch, the kitchen counter and my bed. My kids no longer ask me if I’ll swim with them in the pool. Instead, they shout, “Careful not to get your computer wet, Mom!” My husband no longer asks if I want to “kill the lights.” He just kisses me on the cheek, turns over on his stomach and mumbles, “Don’t stay up too late working, hon’.”
There’s always more work to do and I’m starting to feel angry about it. Very angry.
The balance of family and career is tough enough without the ongoing battle to define when the workday ends and life begins. By working from the house, I never stop being a mom AND I never stop running a company — and worse yet, I never give work 100% of my focus or my kids 100% of my attention. I’m a “jackie of all trades and master of none.” (and I have bags under my eyes and on my thighs!) When I’m not working, I feel guilty. When I am working, I feel guilty. It’s a no-win life I’m living and I’m beginning to believe it means I will fail at both endeavors. I’m not being a good mom. And I’m not being a good start-up entrepreneur.
You might say, “Ah, that’s the tension of life, Deb. Did you think being a working Mom would be a walk in the park?”
“Of course not,” I would retort. “ But no one said it was going to be a 78-hour jungle fight with a 94 foot python” either.
So, what now?
Step 1: Identify the Problem. (Done)
Step 2: Stop dithering (Working on it)
Step 3: Cut the check for office space (Okay, stop riding me…)
Since I am a woman of action (side note — that is NOT a good title to put on your Linked In resume), this morning, I drove my first month’s membership check over to the Cross Campus office, securing my spot in their communal office space (www.crosscampus.us). Now, I will be able to clearly delineate the line between work and home. Will I become a better mom or a better entrepeneur?
At the very least, my mailman will no longer cringe & duck when I wave hello.