There is a lot of talk today about the growing popularity of Stay At Home Dads. More and more dads are staying home to care for the kids and run the household. Some do it because the job market caught a massive case of the blahs and lost their job, some want a more defined role in raising their kids. But what about guys like me? We are the Stay At Home Men. In committed relationships, but no kids yet and working from home. We do the cooking, the cleaning and in my case are still the sole breadwinner while my lady is finishing her studies. Now I don’t have to worry about the life of small ones or their development but my day is still crazy and I can’t imagine how parents do it.
I wrote before about the blurring of lines and responsibility when you work from home and I wanted to touch base a little more on that. I work a lot, I mean a lot, it’s one of the things Michelle bugs me about most, how I am always zoning off into my laptop hours before the office is open and hours after it closes. When you don’t leave your office it’s hard to shut it off. When you work from home it’s sometimes hard to get motivated until it hits you. We wake up at 5:30am around here which translates to 3:30am at my office. After a large cup of coffee and getting her to the train, I start working most days by 6am. That’s 4am office time and I will run nonstop till 10 or so. Some days I won’t get cracking till 11 but I’ll be working till 7 or 8pm. It’s hard to keep a set schedule, sometimes it’s about being inspired! It’s an advantage and a disadvantage of being at home all the time. The next thing you forget when you work from home is your home duties. When I do have downtime I usually get sucked into doing research for a future project, which when you can do from the comfort of your robe and couch it makes it hard not to use your usual surfing time to get work done. However, I sometimes, and I don’t think Michelle would comment here, forget to do simple 10 minute things like sweep, dust and just do basic upkeep. I am usually good, I do all the cooking, dishes, etc but when I get sucked into a project or get on a roll I can’t pull my head out of office mode.
There are many roles we play when we are at home all the time. We are expected to do the normal day to day housework, when realistically we are “at the office” for 8-10 hours a day. We are expected to think about all the things we need to do in our normal after hours lives even when its 10pm and we are working. And it’s hard to argue why I didn’t wipe the table from breakfast when I was home all day. All I can argue with is “but I had to sort 1000 potential clients into type and if we work with them or not!!” I can only imagine having to add children into the mix. I get sucked into Excel spreadsheets like they are a mythical vortex during the day, if my dog wasn’t self sufficient and vocal enough to make sure I know he wants something I am pretty sure he would starve or die of boredom. Sometimes I walk Doogie just so I can get my head out of a project long enough to remember to eat! Sometimes I realize I have already worked 5 hours before anyone else is in the office and step away for some Halo 😉
Working from home is a lot like working at a small company. You have to do it all, project manager, cook, maid, dog walker, alien killer, customer service rep and loving partner. It’s tough but I figure if Kevin as our VP is willing to unload boxes from an ocean container before running the kids to practice and going over projects with me I can find time to not completely ignore Michelle and Doogie. How do you find your balance?