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.