There’s no one else that I could quarantine with, but for me, it’s not the kids or the homeschooling that are pushing me to my limits, its figuring out how to work from home with my husband.
My husband and I have been co-workers for about 15 years now. We worked 10 ft apart at the second software company we went to for the better part of 2 years before we started dating. We were able to keep work and personal separate, but still have a common topic to come back to, empathize with, and champion each other. I knew his work style; fiercely data driven, technical troubleshooter, direct communicator. He knew my work style; pragmatic, relationship builder with a passion for hard work and getting stuff done. We never carpooled together, we rarely talked anything but work at work, we hardly ever ate lunch together, and in our current roles, I worked out of an office and he worked in a collaborative space where we do not cross meeting paths too often.
So, we were set up for success when the pandemic hit, right? Well…. not exactly.
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Do we have to talk about this now? Remember when you would get home from work and your significant other would ask you how your day was. Then you would reply and ask them, and they would reciprocate. Then you would talk through things and do your mental checklist for the family. And you had one another’s attention … sigh. I miss that. It’s not that we don’t share anymore. It’s that it has become an any time, all day, at his convenience, exchange because I appear accessible simply in presence. If he doesn’t see earbuds in my ears, it must be open game for chatting. How can we suddenly need to discuss, decide, belabor so many things in the middle of a workday? The kicker, being accused of “not listening”. If I am still typing on my computer when you talk at me from another room, you are correct. I am not listening, and you probably got a “yeah sure” for something I am not going to like later. It’s exhausting to be in both of our days all the time. I really just need him to go out the front door, walk back in and wait for me to ask him how his day was every once in a while.
I love you but, I still do not want to have lunch with you. Is anyone else done with planning, eating and cleaning up EVERY meal at home? I got out of the gate strong thanks to my love of cooking. At the end of a workday it was, and still is, my happy place to cook dinner for my family. BIG difference going from doing dinner 5 nights a week to all meals 7 days a week. I couldn’t keep up. So, I upped my grocery shopping game, hit the easy button on a few things and made meal options and snacks available. For some reason, though, I am still getting asked “what are we doing for lunch”? Does he need me to decide? Is he trying to lunch date me, in our home, on a Tuesday? About 99% of the time now my “lunch” consists of off-camera eating something I have thrown together, blended, or re-heated in a hurry. Our 12yr old has picked up fending for herself when I am slammed because I couldn’t get to her “I’m hungry” all the time. My husband, on the other hand, will continue to ask every day and wait for an answer. Some days I don’t respond with rolling my eyes and some days, he makes something for BOTH of us! And those days, might be why we are still married through this.
This cannot last forever, right? When quarantine and lockdown first began back in March, we assumed our spots in the house we would take on the rare occasions we both had to work from home. He was in the office and I was at our dining table. I wasn’t jealous he had a tufted rolling office chair and I had a stiff dining chair. It was only for a few weeks, right? I didn’t mind only being on one monitor, while he had the ultimate dual monitor display, it had only been a month. In his defense, he offered me the office multiple times early on, but I still was an optimist and thought I would be getting back to my office at HQ soon. I didn’t see myself settling into a room in the back of the house that seemed closed off and confining. I liked being in the hub of the house.
Now, almost half a year in and I am desperate for confining. I have come to realize that I like being the “hub” of this house M-F from about 6-8 AM and then again from 5-9PM. Not all day every day. I really do want a better chair, better monitor, moreover, I want a door.
I have never been so jealous hearing someone say “let me close my door”, I swear he says it louder on purpose. I wonder if I can re-open negotiations on moving into the office. Maybe I’ll make him lunch….