I always had this picture in my mind of what someone who stays home all day, for whatever reason, looks like. She’s taller than me, with porcelain skin, dangling gold earrings, and poufy, overdone hair. She’s wearing a fitted satin nightgown, leopard-print robe, and kitten-heeled slippers. She’s wearing a cocktail ring and has some sort of Virginia Slim in her hand. And she’s sitting awkwardly on a chaise longue. When she’s bored, she gets up to pour herself a double scotch on the rocks, then begins pacing and talking to herself erratically.
It’s possible I may have watched too much Days of Our Lives when I was younger.
The picture in my mind of someone who works from home is a bit different. He (in my imagination, it’s a he) is working quietly in a neat, tidy office that is well-lit and adorned with modern furniture. Colorful books of all shapes and sizes line the walls. I also imagine this person gets dressed for work anyway, just to make things more official.
What I never quite pictured was myself, working from home, physically or theoretically. I never imagined how it would look, how it would feel, or if it would ever happen.
Yet, here I am, I suppose, to burst my own bubble of expectation.
I’ll start with the getup since that’s the best part. White t-shirt, stained with Children’s Tylenol, with the words “Property of Team Tink” across the front. Purple cotton shorts. Professional.
And this is how my “workday” has gone so far…
I turn on the laptop, log into seven websites. Catch up on email, news, etc… Try to work on my schedule for September.
My husband leaves, unexpectedly, for a meeting that was moved up to this morning from this afternoon. I am left with three babies.
I change Matthew and try to return him to his play yard. Fail. Matthew joins me in “my office” (dining room). He takes an interest in my whiteboard. He swipes the whiteboard and lays it on the floor. He sits on it, rubbing off everything I wrote. then he orange highlights the dining room table, his hands, and his face.
I wash Matthew’s hands and face, then bring him up to his room for a nap.
I return to the laptop, and try to get back to work. Maggie wakes up, so I feed her. She is whiny and will not let me put her down. I try typing with one hand. It works for a few minutes until…
Michael wakes up. I make him a bottle and food. I try to put Maggie down in living room, but she screams into the rug until I pick her back up. I feed Michael with my right hand while holding Maggie in my left. Maggie is grabbing everything within her reach and throwing it on the floor. Baby food is splattered all over the table.
Feeding is finished. I bring both babies into the living room, and put them down to play. They are unhappy (they had vaccinations yesterday). I rock them in the rocking chair for a bit, and they return to sleep.
The phone rings. I dash for the phone so as not to wake the babies. Success.
I grab a sandwich and some grapes, and try to return to the laptop.
The phone rings again. I dash for it again so as not to wake anyone. Fail.
Matthew wakes up. I bring him downstairs and feed him lunch.
I clean up the kitchen. My husband returns home. It is now 4:00pm.
What was I trying to do again?