Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Working Under the Same Roof

It dawned on me randomly today that our lifestyle setup is probably different than most. In fact, I can think of only one other specific family that we know who lives in a similar manner.

What I mean is that we are generally always operating under the same roof, day in day out, all day. Since 2005, when we moved from California back to Indiana, Jeremy has been what is considered a 'tele-worker', or 'remote employee' or whatever other weird title you want to give it.

Meaning simply that when he is not traveling, he works out of an office in our home. For a while his company was the same one based in CA, and a couple of years ago the spun off and started a smaller company whose offices are in Pittsburgh and CA. Since Jeremy deals directly with clients all over the country, the idea was always that his centrally location, proximity to an airport and willingness to travel meant he could work from anywhere.

So that's exactly the way we set it up so many years ago. Our sun room has always been his office, with 9 beautiful windows that look out into the neighborhood, and french doors with blinds that can block out the rest of the house.

Jeremy used to travel about 50% of every month, but recently it has been somewhat less than that. He usually does short trips that last only a couple of days and we hardly notice he's gone (as opposed to times past when he was gone week after week).

A common question I get is how I am able to manage a traveling husband, and keep things balanced.

I find that to be a strange question to answer simply because I've never known it any other way. Jeremy has been traveling since we first married 10 years ago and hasn't stopped. This is what we know.

But when the kids were really little and I was sleep deprived, I'm not going to was sometimes hard. 

The thing that people sometimes don't think of though,  is that when Jeremy is home working, we see each other a lot. Like all day. So it's really and an All-In or All-Out lifestyle. Meaning, when he is home he helps me in the morning, we typically have lunch and I see him around the house all day grabbing coffee or showering or whatever. Our ability to be in-sync with what the other is doing is pretty open.

He has always been very disciplined about working from home simply because he has to be. The kids have been trained to know that if the doors are shut and the blinds are drawn, we generally leave Jeremy alone. Sometimes that can go on all day, which is totally fine. And many times he is more available than that and the kids run in to say hi when they get home from school, or he can lend an extra hand when someone is sick or laid up.

And mostly, it seems to work for us. I realize though, that it's different than what most stay-at-home-moms are used to.

The Good
Availability- If and only if Jeremy has the availability during the day, I can talk to him, ask questions, have meals or ask for extra help if someone is sick or something. 

More parental time- Since his commute to the living room is a short one, we usually get more morning and evening time together than most families, not to mention occasionally during the day. I think later on the kids will remember that Mom AND Dad were both always around, and that's a good thing.

Less Mileage- We have a car that's literally collecting dust in the garage, mostly used for taking Jer to the airport and times when we need to go separate places. 

In-sync- He knows the routines of our days and vice versa. 

Appreciation- I know specifically how hard he works and vice versa, and we can appreciate each other more for that. 

The Bad
No Sweeping Under the Rug- Meaning, I've often wondered if a lot of stay at home moms are able to mask the craziness of their day, or clean up the house quickly before husband comes home or slap on some makeup. I can't do that. It's all out there where he can see it. The good days and bad. If the kids are screaming, he'll hear it. 

Over-familiarity- Like....oh, are you still here? I hadn't noticed you there because I see you all day every day. 

Taking advantage- This is something I have to be careful of when I'm sick or something. I sometimes assume he might be able to put on a movie for Charley while I lay in bed, and that's not always realistic. Although it had come in VERY handy a time or two. 

No true alone time- 
Even when the kids are at school, he's still around I'm rarely truly alone. But when I am, it kinda feels weird. 

The Ugly
What I am on days where I'm wearing raggedy sweatshirts and no makeup. And he sees in all. And I guess he loves me anyway.

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