A (Grown-Up) Room Of One’s OwnAmy Corbett Storch
As promised (because I’m sure dozens of you were on the edge of your seats), we did indeed go to Ikea over the weekend. We had a purpose this time, because come hell or high water or signs stating that Småland Is Currently At Capacity Please Check Back In 40 Minutes, SUCKERS, I was getting myself some office furniture.
When we bought our townhouse, one of the things I liked was the extra room off the master bedroom. It’s a wee little spot, designed to be used as a den or nursery or even (if you’re our next-door neighbor) an over-sized walk-in closet. I deemed it perfect for an office. We bought a small desk and stuck it in there, and I never, ever sat at it. Partly because we forgot to buy a chair.
But mostly because YEAH RIGHT, like I was gonna hole up and blawwgg about my feeeeeeeelings all tucked away upstairs while Noah toddled around the house unsupervised. No, I needed to employ the proper mommyblogger method of only semi-ignoring my child: On the couch, with a laptop, with my eyes and attention bouncing back and forth like a ADD-addled ferret. Type, check kid, type, check kid. Blah blah, yes honey, I will get you a snack in a minute, but first I need to finish this overwrought entry on how motherhood has profoundly changed me, blah.
I did that for years. Still not really sure how. Or why. By the time the second kid came along I basically losing my always-frantic mind several times a day because wait. What was I doing? What was I supposed to be doing? How many sites did I need to update today? Why won’t you take a nap? How is it time to go pick up Noah from school already? What did I do with my keys? AND WHERE ARE MY PANTS? I SWEAR, I JUST HAD THEM?
So I finally cried uncle and hired a part-time babysitter a few months after Ezra’s first birthday. During her interview, our sitter basically told me I wasn’t allowed to work out where the kids could see me, because it upsets the who’s-in-charge order, and she needed to be the sole authority figure during her shifts. I immediately agreed with her, mostly because I am so completely terrified of her not liking me or thinking I’m some typical jerky rich-person so I tend to go out of my way to seem cool and agreeable.
But by that point, the small desk had been relocated and re-purposed and the “office” was now an extension of our bedroom. I think we intended it to be a dressing/sitting area, but only got as far as moving our dressers in there. We still neglected to buy a chair. The room — because it had a full-length mirror — basically became little more than my Belly Photo Self Portrait studio during my pregnancies, until the amount of clutter built up to such a level that I was embarrassed to have it even be seen in the mirror reflection. It was officially a full-sized version of a kitchen junk drawer and my secret shame and the reason I refused to give anyone an upper-level tour of the house.
Meanwhile, I worked every day camped out on my bed. Which I think is usually ranked as one of the Worst Biggest Mistakes People Who Work From Home Make on every Worst Biggest Mistakes list ever. It’s bad for your back and wrists and brain. By climbing back into bed to sleep in the same spot where you work, you might as well just be curling up with all your stress and deadlines and every jerk or annoyance you dealt with during the day. Cozy!
The office remained on our to-do list the whole time, but we just…didn’t. The task had been put off for so long that it was officially Very Daunting to me. Everything in the room was linked to a good three or four other house-related tasks that needed to be completed first, and those tasks had similar issues, and so on and so forth. We couldn’t do the office until we got a small dresser for the bedroom, we couldn’t put a dresser in the bedroom until we moved all those storage bins to the basement, we couldn’t move the storage bins until we purged and organized the basement, gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh you know what let’s just all calm down and watch TV instead.
Obviously, (SPOILER ALERT) we eventually managed to half-ass our way through enough of the preparatory projects and set up an office. And I’m now basking in that cliched feeling of “I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner!” and an over-inflated sense of accomplishment. BEHOLD THE EXPEDIT WORKSTATION WHICH I HAVE BUILT WITH MY OWN TWO HANDS, HEAR ME ROAR.
But also it’s been yet another in a long-ass list of house-related experiences that make me wonder if other grown-up people are as…well…not exactly competent at being grown up as I am. At keeping their homes clean and chaos at bay; at not procrastinating and letting toys and plastic whatzimahdoozits take over the living room with a disinterested shrug.
Or maybe I’m confusing “grown-up” with “people who simply aren’t lazy slobs.” Hmm.