I’ve been trying to articulate a really helpful “this is what working from home really looks like” post—again by request—but the working is getting in the way of writing. So in the meantime, I’ve found this post from Life’s Archives, February 28, 2008. Pre-Ender, so life was in some ways less complicated… but also pre-10-year-old in the house. Still, it’s a good glimpse at some of the challenges. The real, more helpful post will come. Promise. Soon.
I work from home, my desk in the middle of our living room-library-playroom-toy room, and my work involves a lot of phone time with interviewees, clients, editors and the like. My son loves answering the telephone now, and is a great answering service. “Cinder speaking. Yes she is. May I tell her who is calling?” OR (“Sorry, she can’t come to the telephone right now. She’s doing something really important. (Like, you know, playing Lego and stuff).” (It’s an awesome reality check for Bay Street types. Almost as good as the time I ‘wore’ my baby to a bunch of interviews and she threw up on an investment banker’s Armani suit.)
My three year old has just started trying to beat him to the punch. Unfortunately, she picks up the receiver, hollers, “Flora speaking!” and then, most of the time, hangs up… then tells me it is a telemarketer. Often it is. Sometimes, it isn’t.
On one of my recent phone tag days, the phone rang while I was in the bowels of the basement changing loads of laundry, and the three year old answered. When I came back to my desk, I had an email from the chairman of a very blue chip Toronto firm, whom I had been anxious to talk to all day, that read something like this:
“Umm… I just tried calling you… I think… but… umm… a small
child answered the phone and yelled at me. Umm… Call me if you still want to talk.”
We had a great interview afterward. He told me about the time his three year old fed some of his closing documents into the garburator.
2012. The more life changes… it’s the same chairman. Different three year old. I call him at 10:30 a.m. after I’ve sold the children for the day to the Grandma. He calls me back at 5:47, as they’re all filtering into the house. Seven year-old Flora grabs the phone. “Flora speaking,” she says. Listens carefully. “Hold on a minute,” she says. “Mom! It’s for you!” she says, and hands me the telephone as Cinder hands me the Ender, who dozed off on the car ride home and is waking up unhappy.
“Now a good time?” the chairman asks me. I’ve been waiting for this call all day. Ender snivels into my shoulder. Cinder, I can tell, is starving. Flora desperately needs to talk.
“My kids have just come home, and the three year old woke up from a nap and needs Mom cuddles,” I tell him. “I can call you back in half-an-hour–or tomorrow morning?”
“Go cuddle your babies,” he says. “We’ll talk in the a.m.”
I ❤ him.