So, I quit my out-of-the-house job in October 2014, so as of writing this I have been home for a little over a year and a half. My husband just quit his out-of-the-house job a month ago. So now we are both working from home. And, as you can probably guess, it’s a totally different dynamic.
Working in the same space isn’t a big deal to us. We met at work and went on to spend 10 years there together, carpooling, often taking the same breaks and lunches. So we are well-versed in being around each other. But even with all that, there has definitely been a learning curve.
It’s a case of competing interests. Three kids whose needs don’t quit (it’s like we are raising a band of Hobbits who have to eat every eleven minutes). Adam needs to book comedy gigs / travel to comedy gigs / perform at comedy gigs. I need to write, often, and a lot. And then some other nonsense about dishes and laundry and grocery shopping but I don’t really pay attention.
We want what everyone wants. To do it all and do it well. Be present parents. Be kick-ass comedians and writers (insert your chosen income source here). Be awesome spouses. Be our most awesome selves. So how the heck do we do that?
I think it comes down to setting limits.
We have to say no to things. We can’t do it all. We can only do what matters the most.
We all know that we only have a limited amount of energy and hours in the day / week / month / year / life, so we have made an intentional choice to only spend it on stuff that matters. Like really matters.
Now the beautiful part is that what matters to me is different than what matters to you, and that’s okay. Super cool even. We need people to care about different things because there is way too many worthwhile causes in the world, and I can’t care about them all. So we have to choose. We have to say yes and we have to say no.
This might mean saying to yes or no to things in a certain season — like no I’m not going to coach my kid’s soccer team because I am focusing on my novel or yes I’m going to coach my kid’s soccer team because it will give us an outlet to do together. There’s no right / wrong answer. But your choice should align with your values / focus in that season.
Maybe it means saying no to phones at the dinner table. No to TV after 8pm. No to debt. No to new clothes for a year. Maybe it means saying yes to being a MOPS table leader. Yes to a painting class. Yes to a house keeper. Yes to one more book at bedtime. I don’t know! It all comes back to what matters to you, what you are aiming for, what will help you get there.
Do you know what you are aiming for?
Whether you know it or not, we are all ‘aiming’ for something. Your choices / actions lead you along a path. And if we’re not intentional about those choices and actions, we’ll end up 80 years old and never have finished that novel. But we’ve seen every episode of 24!
I know this seems a little off course from where I started, talking about how my husband and I manage working at home together. But I guess it’s that being our own bosses really brought all this stuff to the surface. Because no one tells us what to do! No one tells us what projects are priority, what needs to be done next. We have to decide!
It’s super cool and super scary at the same time. There is all this freedom and potential. Too much I think. That’s why we need limits.
If I live like I have all the time in the world I am going to squander it away on things that don’t really matter (because distraction is EVERYWHERE) and if I try to do it all I will be less good at whatever I am doing (being a mom, spouse, writer, human), not to mention totally burn out / put myself in a early grave or at least wish myself there so I could relax!
So we chose NOT to do things. So we can do things that matter, better.