Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Working at home

I was going to write a book on this at some point. But my writing attention span is short, just like my reading attention span. I can read well-written stories just fine. So Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter books are no problem. Also okay are books by good history writers, like Ambrose or Hanson (mmm-bop).

But magazines are great, as are blogs. Quick, what's your main point? Quick, support it. Now let's tear it apart. Don't fluff it up just because you're getting paid by the word (or, gasp, the page).

Therefore, I probably won't write a book. So here's my "business" book.

Working at home is hard, but not for the reason you'd think. Why?

Because there are two spheres for every working person: the public sphere and the private sphere. Lots has been written about this, and I seem to recall a good article or set of articles on this idea in First Things back in the 90's. But I'm too lazy to look it up. How's that for you?

We'll label the public sphere as Work. Work is where things get done and money gets made. Both of these are fine. Things need to get done: potholes need to be fixed, iPods need to be made and sold, software needs to be written, etc. Money needs to be made so that I can put gas in my car, buy an iPod, buy software, etc.

We'll label the private sphere as Home. Home is where two things happen. First, you enjoy the things that Work makes possible and rest from Work. We need to rest; if you don't believe me, read Genesis again. Even God rested.

Second, Home is where real relationships happen. Your deep, inner needs are met; your obligations to meet the deep, inner needs of your spouse and children are fulfilled, etc. You've gotta do these things or else you're just a shell. Sorry to be so blunt.

Now, Work and Home do not get along. They compete for their primary resource, which is you. Do you stay late, or go home on time? Do you work on your project, or IM your friends?

When you first start working at home, the focus is on keeping Home out of your Work. For us, the big problem was noise. I'm on the phone all day, so how do we keep the kids quiet, etc. Many, many times I've had to mute the phone and stomp on the floor to let my wife know that the boys were upstairs making a racket. This drives her nuts.

For all the talk about keeping Work and Home separate, it turns out it was all one-sided: how do we keep Home from interfering with Work.

But as we've gone on, the real issue has come to the fore: how do we keep Work from interfering with Home.

I mean, this is the boys' house. It's my wife's house. But there's this penumbra of expected silence that extends to 3/4 of the house. The old saying is true: boys will be boys. And that includes being very loud in their own house. Having to be quiet all the time is making them miserable, and it's making my wife miserable.

So we're moving.

Just down the street is another house with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But there's an office above the garage that is completely separate from the rest of the house, and which even has its own staircase. The office is nowhere near bedrooms, so the boys can play in their own rooms. It's far enough removed from the playroom that the boys can run around like the monkeys, screech and throw poo to their hearts' content.

This will be our third house in Tucker. Our last move was one block away. This one will be even shorter. We'll probably walk most of the stuff to the new house.

So if you or someone you know someone wants a 4 BR, 2.5 BA Traditional home in Tucker, just let me know. It's priced to sell. But you won't be able to work there. It's just a Home.


At 4:41 PM, Blogger fiorinda said...

Sounds like the ideal setup. Call us if you need help moving.

Debbie W.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Becki said...

We'll pray the Lord makes it all happen. Mom.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Enjoyed your post, and I certainly can relate. I used to work at home with three boys, and it was a challenge at times. The hardest part came when I returned to an at-office job. Someone asked me what the worst part of going back was--the hours? No, I was actually at the desk earlier at home. The hardest part for me was wearing shoes 8 hours a day. Peace.


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