Corner Office

Corner Office

by Charlotte Siems
Having been a stay-at-home mom for nearly 29 years, the idea of a home office never occurred to me.  My desk was my lap and my office chair was the rocking chair.  Diapers were always kept within reach, in either a basket or cabinet.  The box of teacher’s manuals and schoolbooks was nearby, under the coffee table, for the homeschooling hours.  A little table beside my chair doubled as an end table and a writing surface for the youngest student.
[break][/break]Eventually, to my surprise, the youngest child outgrew diapers, so the diaper wipes and ointment were no longer needed.  Toddler toys were replaced by dolls and art messes. A new season of life had begun.
[break][/break]When I began to work online from home, we set up an office corner in the dining room.  I reasoned that it would be away from the main traffic areas of the house, and I would have quiet in which to work.  It took several months to realize that the space was seldom used because it was away from the main traffic areas.  I was still using my laptop in my chair because I didn’t want to sequester myself away from the family, and I still felt a need to keep an eye and ear on children’s activities.
[break][/break]So one day we moved my little office corner to the family room.  The desk was placed so that it looks out into the room, where I can see the TV and all the goings-on in the family.  Twenty-nine years of mothering twelve children has developed a rock-solid ability to work with distractions, so the arrangement suits me.  I’m able to supervise younger children, but still have space to work.  Mind you, there are times when I require the children to be quiet and not interrupt my work.  What better place than home to learn that you must wait your turn and have self-control?
[break][/break]Working from home has a flow.  Some days the business requires more attention than usual and the family pitches in for household tasks.  Other days the business is on the shelf in a box, while grown children are home or someone is sick.  I heard of a mother who was asked which child in her large family was her favorite.  She replied, “When one is sick, the one who is sick.  When one is away from home, the one who is away from home.” Needs are met as they arise, whether they are the needs of people or business.  Schedules and plans are good, but so are flexibility and adaptability.
[break][/break]Someday I may have a “real” office, but for now I love being in the midst of family comings and goings.  My children actually don’t interrupt my work very often.  They tend to their things, do their schoolwork with me nearby and scatter Legos and PetShops.  My little corner is decorated with some favorite things—a framed butterfly brought from Costa Rica by my husband, a small china plate that belonged to someone we admired, a wooden-wick candle.  The framed print that overlooks the desk says, “Be not weary in well doing,” which is a much-needed reminder on busy days.
[break][/break]I’ve always heard that executives aspire to be promoted to a corner office.   I guess I’ve already earned the promotion.
Charlotte Siems has studied home management for over 30 years.  She believes that Home should always be a warm, welcoming, Lovely Place to shelter and strengthen loved ones for their tasks out in the world.  While building a homey home on a tight budget and making memories with holiday traditions, she has fostered a love of learning in her children and maintained a healthy marriage.  She lives in Oklahoma with her family, where she still homeschools the youngest six of her twelve children.


  1. Sarah Clachar says:

    Charlotte, love your post. I had the same revelation a few years back that I could take some special space to “own” my business and work more. The kids and dad put in new flooring and painted a room that had never quite found its calling and now it’s one of the most lovely spaces in the house. It glows with the sun – in the spring I start my seedlings for the garden there. And the walls have my daughter’s art all over.

    One major difference, I use a balance ball for a chair instead of a regular chair. Occasionally my son steels it and rolls around a bit. But it’s a wonderful way to save your back and to sneak a little movement in.

    1. Anonymous says:

      I’ve heard that a balance ball is good to sit on at a desk. We bought an office chair and I used it a few days but my hips really bothered me so I went back to the regular dining room chair that doesn’t bother me at all. Very cool that you have a lovely office!

    2. I have a balance ball at work that I use for meetings. I’ve moved my desk up so I can stand when I want so I can no longer sit on the ball while working on my computer. I have a co-worker who sits on her ball all day long. They are great for your back.

      I always say you can’t be in a bad mood while you are bouncing on your ball either. 🙂


  2. Charlotte, I have 3 corner desks! One is for the computer and some school filing, the second one is for sewing and crafting, and the third one I use is very small and white to match the twin girls’ school area. I don’t feel that I need them, but they are very useful for all the elements in which they are used. I homeschool our six children and love it!

    Thank you for all the encouragement you bring. I love T-Tapp too! Just lack motivation most of the time…

  3. Charlotte, I grew up in a family of 13 and I can work with whirlwinds all around me. My husband is amazed (probably more like lived in fear when the kids were young). I, too, had to move out of the home office and into a regular room in the house so I could keep in touch with the kids. It’s been a real blessing. By the way, how do you keep it all so tidy? Mine has piles of projects!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Ha! You think I’m going to post a photo of a messy desk? I usually do have a pile or two, but I clean it off pretty often because I can think better in a neat space. 🙂

  4. Thank you for posting this it put the world in perspective today for me on a day when I wanted to pull my hair out.

  5. Hey Charlotte,

    We are so in-tune to each other. Today’s post on my blog is about my early beginnings working from home. Working to find the balance, where to work, when to work…around the kids, dishes and laundry:) I love how you adapted your work space into your lifestyle. Good call ~ a true expert at balancing being a mommy of 12 with homemaker, entreprenuer and teacher.

  6. Great post Charlotte; 12 kids! I can see that you want to be around your family; this by itself would be a great testimony. Many families would be able to do this with 2,3 or 4 kids…they need a super-nanny 🙂 I could sense the art of organization through your article..awesome!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *