I almost went all what are you wearing Jake from State Farm ‘on my husband’s telephone the other morning. I was the crazy, bathrobe-wearing wife, grabbing my husband’s phone to disable the speakerphone.
What I needed at that moment were a few working-from-home guidelines for me and mostly my husband.
If you and your spouse work from home, was it a seamless transition with glitter and twinkly lights in the office? My husband was ecstatic about his new home office.
I wondered if there was such a thing as one being too happy.
Apparently, over the years, one of us grew accustomed to working remotely in her brownstone in the suburbs home.
As a Realtor, my hours and days are fluid. I may be at home for an entire day followed by a day of showings and attending a six-hour inspection.
In March of 2020, my husband and I made plans for a quick spring break just the two of us. Twenty-four hours later, our house was at capacity with our two “still in shock” college-age sons.
It was temporary I reminded myself. This would pass.
Ten days into the stay-at-home guidelines, my husband discovered he was way more productive in his home office. I was afraid that would happen.
We were completely different in our work habits. And, our new workday routine looked nothing like a Hallmark movie. It was headed to that chandelier scene in War of the Roses
We scheduled a Zoom call with our therapist to brainstorm the whys behind my strong reactions to my husband’s work habits.
Sidenote: As small business owners we started seeing a life coach to navigate working and living together.
Apparently, my need for solitude and quiet can be traced back to my childhood. Being one of five siblings meant there was little of either.
And, after years of being the only one working from home, my husband’s work habits and home office unleashed my inner control freak tendencies.
Over the course of a few weeks, we settled on a healthy work environment. Now? We are happily married (most days). It turns out we (okay me) just needed a few ground rules to peacefully work from home.
WORKING FROM HOME IDEAS
- Separate spaces
We are fortunate to have a finished basement. We created a bonus room to accommodate my husband’s and boys’ after-hours office time.
2. Invest in a 2nd Printer
We both agreed to listen to a printer churn out pages disrupts one’s concentration. Or, walking in on a conference call to retrieve documents from the printer is a bit of a distraction.
2 . Lunch Breaks
I knew I was not the only one who struggled with my new co-worker over the lunch hour. One blogger lamented her husband asked her what’s for lunch every day.
As my brilliant husband describes; lunches disrupt the workflow. We save dinner for a meal and conversation.
3. Work Day Hours
I start my days early. I love quiet time and coffee. Somedays he has 15-hour days and other days he is done by noon.
We talked about it.
4. Acknowledge Work Habits
Where I like to hunker down from 8:30-5 pm with a 15-minute lunch break. He likes to take breaks, pop his head into my office and share the details of his day. We acknowledged our differences and came to a mutual understanding.
5. Conference Calls
My husband is chatty. I am chatty with my sister and girlfriends. My husband is genuinely friendly and outgoing every.single.minute of the day. I am more chatty after a productive morning or a workout. Or, a gallon of coffee.
Working from home is an adjustment. He loves working from home and I know it is more productive for him too.
We have settled into a routine that feels balanced. It turns out I will not need Jake from State Farm.
Looks like we made it.
How do you handle a retired or working-from-home husband? Or what is a funny story you care to share for an updated post of the Marriage Diaries series?