I dreamt last night that I sat down at my work desk with a giant cup of coffee ready to conquer the day when I discovered a half-eaten waffle on my keyboard, a dirty diaper on my daily planner, unfolded laundry on my printer, and my husband’s decaying wrestling shoes under my chair. Oh wait, I wasn’t dreaming. That’s today, that’s right now. That’s working from home. F— this.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fantasized about randomly dropping off our un-bathed half-dressed children at my husband’s work, and leaving a trail of toys and Kix behind me on my way out. I’m sure he fantasizes about sending me to that day-long international meeting where the language barrier is so high that it’s more productive to have a group of Teletubbies making executive decisions; but his fantasies are for another day. Today, I’m giving a shout out to the rock stars who work from home. Centuple points if you do it with infants and toddlers. Below is by no means a comprehensive list of humorous truths about working from home, rather it’s only 10 of them. Please enjoy over your 8th cup of coffee:
1) Your desk is a combination of an office, a playroom, a laundry room, and a kitchen
No joke, my desk right now has baby wipes, my daughter’s hairbrush, yesterday’s leftover lunch, three days worth of coffee mugs, an empty bag of popcorn (I frantically shoved all popcorn in my mouth yesterday), and a week old WSJ that I SWEAR I’m going to get to. Anywhere else, I’d be cast off as the office slob. Here, unfortunately it’s completely normal.
2) You sometimes feel you can’t hold a sudden adult conversation
Most of my professional correspondence is via email. That means I have time to be thoughtful and pragmatic. The rest of my human interaction is with my toddlers. So when I’m suddenly face-to-face with other professionals, I literally speak Peppa Pig. I did quantitative equity research and hedge fund investing for years in my home; when I had to go out and actually discuss research and performance with my colleagues, Peppa Pig for the first hour. Yes, I talk with my husband, but we’re not professional with each other, we’re seasoned and vulgar.
3) Your lunch break is a tv-dinner at your desk and switching a load of laundry
Sometimes I’ll fantasize about telling myself “Hey Self! You’re going down the street to get chips and salsa and a strawberry margarita for lunch!!” But then #4 happens….
4) You’ve discovered it’s more productive to get straight to work than to brush your teeth, bathe, or put your pants on
It’s embarrassingly true. It’s worse that sometimes my kids get in on this too. One day they had Lunchables from start to finish, with no pants (the shocking part). Our pediatrician forgives me, so you should too.
5) You know where the “mute” button is on all devices capable of making a phone call in your home
This button was made for people who work from home, right? On one of my devices I had to press three buttons to get there; that was the devil’s phone, period.
6) Your kids’ naptime is THE most imperative part of the day
Their heads go down and it’s game time. Sometimes I can’t even believe how much I can get done in a day’s naptime. If they don’t nap, or for some reason they wake up early, my work day collapses like a life-size Jenga game.
7) Your schedule includes wee hours in the morning, and begins again when your kids have gone to bed
Have you ever Googled “work from home” to find a series of happy people in clean offices with their slippers on their desks?! Do it. It’s all lies. I’m not convinced that these people actually work from home regularly unless it’s dark outside .
8) There may or may not be empty wine glasses at your desk
When I find myself returning to work in the midnight hours, sometimes I’m greeted by a lonely glass of red wine. That’s all. I end up writing a lot at night too, so if you’re finding commonalities in my writing style, it’s probably due to the red wine.
9) Your neighbors always seem surprised to learn you know the alphabet
Okay, so now I’ll leave the house on some days reasonably presentable. Before, my job was very research driven and didn’t call for style photo shoots. I remember meeting some of my neighbors for the first time and they were undoubtedly shocked to learn the kind of work I was doing in there. It’s all good, I get it. I speak Peppa Pig in front of adults (see #2) and they saw me in my pajamas all the time (#4). But even if I wasn’t, I have two toddlers. That sh— is no day job.
10) You really are tempted to wear a sign in public that says “I swear I’m contributing to the societal well-being of our Republic”
I’ve found myself at Walgreens and thought to myself “you left the house like this?!” It’s mostly because of #4 and #2, but also because of teeth stains from #7 and #8, but I promise I’m a productive person that is contributing to the circular flow of economic activity.
I love you all! Let’s not take life too seriously 🙂 Happy Friday!!