Mister Doorknob's Big Adventure
The Search for George Washington

Seven Years in Exile

Every other Wednesday I now go to An Office. Primarily so I can attend A Meeting. It is A Team Meeting, with members of My Team, who are all fellow grown-ups who spend multiple days a week in An Office, and who (as far as I can tell) manage to leave their homes on a regular basis while running little to no risk of injuring themselves on curbs, doorknobs or travel mugs of coffee.

I am getting better at that last part, I swear. Just give me a couple more Wednesdays. 

To be fair, it's been seven years — almost to the DAY, actually — since I said goodbye to my office (and its accompanying office job). Seven years! No wonder I am rusty. Seven years of working from home, with no commute and no cubicles. No business casual clothing or someone else brewing the pots of coffee or a supply closet that was always magically stocked with my favorite red pens. 

Seven years. Fat. Hot. Ham. 

It took me a few years to really figure out what worked (part-time childcare, showering and getting dressed every day, email/internet ban outside of set working hours) and what didn't (using TV as a babysitter, being slovenly and disgusting, letting work bleed into a 24/7-type situation just because I was near a wifi-enabled device gaaahhhh better check on the Internet again).

(Oh, and keeping Coke in the house. At least at my office I needed to scrounge up a dollar in change in order to drink one. Turns out that unfettered access to Coke = I WILL DRINK ALL THE COKE.)

I like not having a commute. I like working and earning money and yeeeeesss, getting a break from the kids, but I also like being here and seeing them whenever I want to, and meeting Noah at the bus every day in the afternoon. I like that jeans and a t-shirt counts as an accomplishment. I don't mind that 99.9% of my daily interactions with people are over email or IM. Cable guy needs to stop by? Plumber coming over to fix something? No problem. I'll be here. Child has a doctor appointment? A field trip? No problem. I don't even have to give anyone a heads' up, most of the time. 

And yet...I really like my every other Wednesday, when I have to wake up a little earlier, dress a little fancier, and drive a lot farther. I am not Amalah there; I'm Amy. And it feels good. It feels right. And so different than it did seven years ago, when I walked away from that world, when I closed my eyes and threw myself into blogging and freelancing and...well, I wasn't even 100% sure what I was doing at the time. 

This time, I'm sure. It's a solid step forward instead of a breathless leap into the unknown. 

Though I still don't understand the how the key to the office ladies' room works. Goddamn piece of shit takes 10 minutes of jiggling to open the door and AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

 

Comments

-k-

Love this entry. I am hoping one day to see a long-form piece about your career transitions, past, present, and future planning. We've seen bits and pieces of your writing about it here and there but I really think it would interesting and relevant, especially now that kids are growing and things are shifting. I don't know where the place to publish that would be-- maybe the Smackdown? do I need to make up a letter?--but there is interest.

AmyH

GAH! I remember when you left your job. I was so jealous. This post makes me equally jealous. (Also makes me realize how long I have been reading your blog. wow!)
Congrats to you, though. You have managed to find some semblance of balance. That's pretty amazing.

Karen

COKE! COKE! Awesome! Awesome! Oh, you mean the stuff you drink....my bad. ;)

Heather

I just can hardly believe I've been reading your blog that whole time ;)

Ashley // Our Little Apartment

YES. I work 20 hours a week in an office and it is AMAZINGGGGG.

Mostly because I am a Person Who Knows Stuff there. Not just Mama Get Me That. I really feel like I've hit the perfect balance and am super lucky. Now if I could just get those 20 hours to be in a job that I actually LOVED, we'd be golden (i really like it, just don't LOVE).

Ashley // Our Little Apartment

YES. I work 20 hours a week in an office and it is AMAZINGGGGG.

Mostly because I am a Person Who Knows Stuff there. Not just Mama Get Me That. I really feel like I've hit the perfect balance and am super lucky. Now if I could just get those 20 hours to be in a job that I actually LOVED, we'd be golden (i really like it, just don't LOVE).

eva

speaking of the office ladies room... http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/04/30/is-pooping-the-last-taboo-for-women-at-work/

And congrats! You only have this dilemma every other Wednesday!

Shawn

Wow, Amy, I have been reading your blog that long as well. I remember meeting you at BlogHer 2 in San Jose. I had just returned to work after staying home with my son for 4 years. I am now working from home again as he is 12 and needs me. I salute what you are doing, organizing your life to help the family do best. Also, I hear you about the soda at home!

Beth

Finding balance...amah-ZING!Good for you, taking the steps that feel right for you and your family. Good luck with that bathroom key though? Are there roving groups of non-office people looking to use the bathroom or what? Why the need for a key?

Jessica

Bronchitis? I don't got time for dat! If that's not what you were referring to I apologize a bazillion times for being rude and incorrect.

Congrats on every other Wednesday. I get that - you're Amy, not someone's Mom or wife, but simply Amy. Excellentness!

Lindsay

Love this post. I love hearing anyone's real-life genuine work-kids balance stories, because after 2 years of having a kid, where I worked part-time for the first few months, and now work full-time but from home two days and office three days, and am considering a new job that would have me in an office full-time, it feels incredibly reassuring to see 1000 different flavors that people make work for them.

Ali

Love this post! I'm five months into working-part time-motherhood and am joining the other commenters who really appreciate this! Would love to hear more about how things have evolved over the years, lessons you've learned, etc. And I am right there with you on the coke!!!

Jimmy

I've realized that I feel almost superhuman on the random days when I don't have the kids with me. I'm lighter, faster, mobile, funnier, and far more likely to get drunk. It's a marvelous feeling.

But I'm guessing that when the kids are all in school and I have to go back to work it won't have the same effect.

Carrie

I've been a stay-at-home-work-from-home mom for a month now and it is slowly killing me. I am hoping to get them back to part time child care but a big part of me wants to get back to an office. I've been working from home for 3 years (my girls are only 9 months old) and i'm just sick of being alone all day. i need OUT. i'm trying to get back into the office. and i hope it's worth it. this is just too much for me.

The comments to this entry are closed.