The Compromise

I threw a massive tantrum last week about how I CAN NOT WORK FROM HOME ANY MORE, and as a result my husband and I have struck a deal that, I feel, is legendary enough to deserve its own name, like the way the Missouri Compromise of 1820 did. I’m calling it the They’re Half Yours, Too Compromise of 2007. At times, it was a tense negotiation. I started out asking for three days a week, working from an empty cubicle in my husband’s office. I proposed that he drive the kids to school on Tuesday mornings, pick them up on Thursday afternoons, and take my daughter to ballet on Wednesdays. I ended up with two days a week working off a laptop in his conference room, with the nanny taking them to school on Tuesdays and him picking up on Thursday afternoons. I suggested a formal, written agreement, but he said a handshake would do, and so we kissed on it and had ourselves a deal.

The Compromise went into effect this week, and let me just say that Tuesdays and Thursdays are my new favorite days of the week. I’m thinking of having TGIT/TH buttons printed up for myself. Now granted, I know that I’m talking about work days here, but they might as well be vacation days. Consider the following: I get to sit, at a desk, uninterrupted, for an entire day. I get to put on real clothes, and go in an elevator to a high floor of a real office building. I get to make phone calls without someone screaming in my ear or pulling on my leg. I get to eat lunch without having to share it with a two year old, at a real table that is meant for adults, and not at a mini-table under which I can barely fit my legs. And best of all, I get to pee alone. And then, when I get home at six o’clock, I am actually happy to see my children. I’m not tired of them, I’m not ready to strangle them, I don’t wish that someone would hand me a bottle of wine with a straw in it, and I’m actually even a little disappointed that bedtime is in less than an hour. It is luscious. It is heavenly. It is work.

It’s not perfect – they use the conference room for meetings, and I sit in the corner, trying to drown out their discussions with my iPod while at the same time trying to write, which is not easy. I’m in an office with my husband, who is chatty, and who doesn’t seem to understand that every minute in that office is precious, and that I don’t feel like wasting even a single one of them by talking to him about nothing, or by going out for a long lunch. And sometimes I feel bad when I get home and my kids barely even look up, because they’re so engrossed in whatever they’re doing with the nanny. But I don’t feel that bad. Twenty minutes later, when I’m once again peeing with an audience, I find myself very much looking forward to the next Tuesday or Thursday in my future.