I have some friends who tell me they love it when their partners work from home. They have lunch together, go for coffee together, their husbands help out with the school run…apparently everything is rosy. I, on the other hand, grit my teeth and groan with dismay whenever the Old Git tells me he’ll be working from home. I hate it. It’s like he is deliberately setting out to ruin my day.
There are two scenarios. The first is when the kids are at school/nursery. The Old Git totally unsettles my domestic tranquillity and disturbs every aspect of my routine. He stomps around noisily, belching and burping, makes a mess and annoys me in a multitude of ways. Firstly, he interrupts me when I’m writing or sending emails, despite tutting every time I walk into his study to ask him a non-work related question. Secondly, he’s always watching what I do and judging me. “Going out for lunch are we?” or “Aren’t you lucky to be meeting friends today?” he’ll say, insinuating that I spend all day prancing around socialising. And thirdly, and most annoyingly of all, he insists that I pretend he is not at home and carry on as normal, which is code for him telling me not to even think about getting him embroiled in domestic chores. And yet, come midday he will emerge from his room asking me what’s for lunch. Excuse me? I thought you told me to pretend you’re not at home? Grrrr.
And then there’s the second scenario which is when the kids are at home whilst the Old Git is working. Now this can get dramatic. He hides away in his study refusing entry to any of us but on occasion will pop in for two minutes to say ‘hi’ to the children. He will then promptly exit, leaving a trail of emotional destruction behind him as the kids start screaming for their daddy’s attention and affection. I’m left to deal with two hysterical children having a meltdown whilst simultaneously trying to cook dinner and complete homework. In a matter of minutes the Old Git has caused chaos for us, trashing all hopes of a peaceful evening. And then, the thing that riles me the most is when he blames me for the kids interrupting him. Occasionally I might need to go to the toilet and the kids might storm his study. Despite my best attempts I can’t always monitor their every move. Sometimes the little pests get through. But rather than tell them off and set boundaries, he’ll huff and puff at ME for letting them disturb him. Inevitably this will lead to a barmy and all domestic bliss will be well and truly shattered for the day.
Rightly or wrongly, I’ve always considered the house to be primarily my space during the weekday. I’ve always worked from home as a journalist and used it as my base. It’s also where I look after the kids and have routines and systems in place to keep things going. Whenever the Old Git hangs around everything is disturbed, including my sense of zen. Of course, I’m not one to complain (as you know), and I do appreciate it when the Old Git helps out with the school pick ups and drop offs, but to be frank, that’s about the only silver lining.
I’ve come to the conclusion our space is simply not big enough for the both of us to be at home working/ looking after the kids. In fact, I can quite confidently say if the Old Git worked from home consistently it would be a marital disaster for us. We both like our own space, enjoy having separate aspects to our lives and actually appreciate each other more this way. We would probably kill each other if we were at home together all of the time. I’m not quite sure this bodes well for our retirement together, but we will have to cross that bridge as and when we get to it (trying not to panic quite just yet)! In the meantime, the office beckons.