You know what I just realized this past week? MY OFFICE HAS A DOOR.
OK, that might sound stupid, but hear me out. During the summers, I work from home. When Tim and I first got married, we had a two bedroom apartment and we used one of the bedrooms for a communal office space. We each had a desk in there, and we each were able to use it to do work if we needed to get away from the television in order to concentrate. It didn’t happen often, but there were a few times when Tim was in there working while I was working. Since we are both teachers and both generally have summers off, it makes sense that we would both be in the office at the same time. It was for that very reason that, unless I had a previously scheduled conference call, I would always leave the door open. It was shared space; I had to.
When we decided to buy this house, I was ecstatic when I realized that we had four bedrooms AND a finished basement. Tim got the basement all to himself, and he can make whatever decorative decisions he wants (which he still has yet to do, but whatever – he can look at those yellow walls as long as he wants). He can close the door and spread out on the couches, watch television, listen to his sports radio, and work at his desk without ever hearing from me or having me bother him. He also has the added benefit of an extra warning because I have to open the door and walk down the stairs before I can even talk to him.
So, he gets the basement, which is great. I didn’t want the basement at all. It’s cold, dark, and has spiders living down there. Plus, he does have to share it with the dogs. I love the dogs, but working while their cute faces are staring at you is a serious distraction. Therefore, I chose a bedroom. I picked the one that looks out over our front lawn because often, I try to get a little work done before someone visits and I like to see when they are coming to the door. I also like to see when Tim is coming home. It also made much more sense to have the room I do instead of the one we selected as a guest room because that one is right next to the guest bathroom, so overnight guests can use that at the end of the hallway, right next to their room. Also, if we ever have a kid, this room is right next to the one we’d use as a nursery (which is also right next to the master bedroom, as it were), making it extremely convenient.
I love my office. I painted it Tiffany blue (No, seriously, I took a Tiffany’s box into Home Depot and had them match it. Best. Decision. Ever.) and created three distinct stations. I have my writing desk which houses my computer and iPad and is also a great paper-grading desk. I have my reading corner with my bright orange armchair which is super comfy. And I have my craft nook, which is the closet without the doors and with a table and a chair for my crafting. It is perfect.
Last summer was great. Tim had a part-time job, so while he was gone, I worked in my office. Generally, unless I had something really important going on, I would stop work when he got home and I would do minimal work on days he wasn’t scheduled. That way, I could get my work done when there was no one around to bother me, and I could enjoy my summer with Tim. Win-win.
This summer, Tim didn’t get a part-time job and I took on a TON of work – writing jobs and school work. I didn’t have anything to gauge my work time on except a clock which, realistically, doesn’t work when you don’t start working until noon. How can you work until 5:00 and call it a day? You can’t. Even worse, Tim would come try to talk to me. He wanted my opinions on things. He wanted to do fun stuff. He wanted to figure out what was for dinner. Also, since he didn’t have a job, he wanted to stay up until midnight or 1:00 AM and sleep until really late (hence not starting work until noon).
These are all good things – well, except maybe the messed up sleep schedule – but you can imagine how, since I was trying to get some major work done, I was pretty annoyed.
Then, just the other day, it dawned on me. My office has a door. If I close that door, Tim will leave me alone because he will know I don’t want to be bothered.
You see, I got so used to thinking of our space as shared space that I forgot that this space is MY space.
I think it’s important for a couple to have their own space and their own time away from each other. Tim and I struggle with that every summer because we’re around each other SO MUCH, but eventually we hit our groove, just like we did this summer.
And then school starts again. Less than two weeks, friends. Then, we start all over again.