– When the kids are home but the work doesn’t stop, I waffle between thrilled and frustrated as I make my way through the workday at home –
Monday, November 26th 2018 – 6:50 AM Elmhurst, IL. First Day back to work after a lovely Thanksgiving long weekend. Snow is coming down. School is canceled. My three kids were jumping up and down when they heard school was canceled. No uniform! Pajamas and pancakes. Amid a pile of snow pants, coats, boots, hats and mittens, my toddler giggles with excitement.
I pause to consider the specialness of the moment. I take a few pictures of the snow blowing across the lawns. Looking out the window I peer at the snow sitting on the branches of my neighbor’s magnolia tree. How pretty it all was. I looked at the clock. Did I have time to go outside with them? No, not enough time. My toddler followed my gaze. Standing at the window together looking out, I decided I wanted a clearer view. With no one yet dressed, I decided to open the window. He touched snow with his fingers. The shock and excitement were really fun to see. Then he stood there quietly for a few minutes taking in the scene and all that was new to him. It made me appreciate him all the more.
On my end, it is the last week of the quarter and the rest of the world does not stop because of a snow day in Elmhurst. I am working on two contracts and a request for proposal. 8AM call is with New York (9AM ET). India replies to the Service Request. Newly onboarded Colorado colleague requests a brainstorm. The eager inside sales rep in Austin requests time to discuss a strategic account. With the end of quarter looming, I can recall the stress building and this is only from looking at my archived Outlook folder from that day. Not every day is this wonderfully busy; however, I remember thinking I wished I was a teacher or some job where a snow day applied. I wished I could cancel everything and join in the fun. But I wasn’t and I couldn’t.
Most jobs these days don’t have snow days. There are no excuses. There is internet on so many corners of the earth, the new trend is people taking vacations specifically where they can get away from wifi – remote cabins, cruises and the like. Vacation days typically don’t roll over as we move to Unlimited policies. So what does the world look like today? I may not get to take a snow day, but I’m so glad that I have the flexibility to work from home and to be a part of these fleeting moments. Work today for me has a little more pajama time in the morning. Fast wifi and work almost every day of the year. And yet, I’m happier than ever most days. I’m less rushed. I once busted my knee for weeks running to the train and colliding with a step while looking up as I ran up the stairs. I do not have a three-hour commute anymore.
So what else is there to complain about? Well, about two hours into the day, the kids were going bananas. My home office was like Grand Central Station – requests for hot chocolate, juice punches and the need to separate fighting children. Yes, I have childcare but there are some things only Mom can fix. I was dreaming… if only there was a place I could go. An office… that wasn’t so far away. Two years later, I built one. That’s a story for another day.