And now for a big dose of humor + fun, we have a guest post from Jenna McCarthy. Learn more about Jenna at JennaMcCarthy.com.
Working out of your home is an undeniable luxury, and having a life partner is wonderful (well, most of the time). But sometimes trying to juggle the roles of wife and home-based drone simultaneously can be exhausting.
Here, five tips for not losing your job, your marriage and your mind in the middle of the act [cue the circus music].
Fashion yourself a real office.
Most of us don’t have three or four empty bonus rooms in our homes to use as we wish. (Except my sister. She has a gym and a music room, but the poor woman lives in the middle of the forest and she spends thirteen hours a day in the car so don’t be too envious.)
Don’t have a dedicated work space? Don’t despair. Windows are nice, space is great, but the only thing your home office really needs is a door that locks. My friend Kir turned a utility closet into her home office, which we affectionately dubbed her “cloffice” (closet-office… get it?).
Set up a card table in the bathroom if you have to; having a place where you won’t constantly be interrupted with inane questions about how to change the batteries in the remote control is a surefire WAHM marriage and sanity-saver.
You need DH to pick up milk on the way home. His mother called to say she’s coming for a visit this weekend. The dog just puked all over the carpet. (At least it wasn’t his mother.)
If you have the occasional need to check in with your spouse throughout the day, you can save a ton of time by setting up an IM account. (There are plenty to choose from but Skype has fun, “secret” emoticons (mooning) (poolparty) (finger) so that’s what we use.)
Instead of dialing the phone, waiting for it to ring, having the call put through by the receptionist and then suffering through an entire synthesized Barry Manilow tune while you hold just to ask him what time he’ll be home, you can simply type into Skype “ETA?” Every time you elect that option it buys you four more minutes on this site to work. You’re welcome.
Space out your appointments.
Look, us indie gals are nothing if we’re not efficient, which means most days we would rather not go to the laborious trouble of showering or dressing if we’re not even going to leave the house.
Nobody is suggesting you get all dolled up for your husband’s sake, but we tend to feel better about ourselves when we make a tiny bit of effort, and that positive energy is likely to be contagious. If you pack all of your errands into one day of the week, it leaves six days where you reek of slovenly, negative juju.
Get up, get dressed, get out on a daily basis and everyone will be happier.
Most husbands would admit (only if you held a gun to their privates, of course) that their wives tend to way overshare when it comes to the minutia of their lives.
When you work out of your house and don’t have colleagues to gab with all day, your poor husband has to listen to never-ending stories that include sentences like this: “And then I did two loads of laundry, cleaned up three hairballs—the cat either got a gopher or a rat, it was hard to tell—and just barely it to my Pap smear on time!”
Your dude doesn’t need (or want) to hear a play-by-play of your day—and is likely to either cut you off or just look painfully bored as you recount the less-than-titillating particulars. This, it should be noted, is not the way to kick off an evening of fun and intimacy. Save the mind-numbing details for your mom. She has all the time in the world and she’ll probably even enjoy them.
Set clear boundaries.
When you work at home, sometimes your family will forget that you are actually working and not just checking Facebook and Twitter all day.
I have a sign on my office door to remind them of the sanctity of the space and the importance of my labor: “Mom is a surgeon and this office is the ER. Unless you are bleeding profusely or on fire, please knock quietly and wait patiently for your turn.”
Nobody pays a lick of attention to it, but maybe you’ll have better luck.
Jenna McCarthy is the author of If It Was Easy They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-So-Handy Man You Married (Berkley Books, October 4, 2011). (Please note it says the blah-blah-blah man you married, not the one she married. Her husband likes it when she points that out.) You can find out more about Jenna, her books and how she survived tanorexia on her website.
Check out Jenna’s hilarious book trailer below and tell us if your husband does any of these things.