Tuesday, October 27, 2020

One Little Word: October 2020

Is anyone else scratching their head this morning and wondering how it already got to be the end of October? It seems like I was just writing Septemer's OLW post, and yet here we are again. Many thanks to Honoré of Morning Glory Studio for hosting these monthly link-ups. You can find my previous OLW posts here.

I started thinking about this post yesterday and reflecting on what I've been savoring the past month, and it occurred to me that there's been something very obvious in my life for quite some time now. One thing that I've really come to savor during these "quarantimes" has been working from home.

Before working from home became the norm, there were times when I did bring work home with me -- mainly because there were tight deadlines to be met and not enough hours in the day when I was in the office to meet them -- and I really resented it. Part of the reason I've stayed in my current job rather than going back to teaching is because I was able to keep work at work and not have to bring it home with me. But things are different now. Although technically the schedule is the same, there is so much more flexibility now. As long as I get my work done in time and show up for the regular team meetings, no one really cares if I'm doing work from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. I can take my "lunch" break whenever it's convenient for me, which has given me the opportunity to get in the exercise that is so critical to my physical and mental health (trying to cram it in around a more rigid work schedule has always gotten in the way in the past). Because I'm able to pick up Rainbow at the end of the school day now, she no longer has to stay for the after-school program, which means we're no longer spending extra money on that and I get more time with her, especially as she now likes to join me in the bedroom (my work-from-home "office") to do her homework in the afternoon. And I'm even getting more sleep, because I no longer have a commute and am not worrying about doing my hair or makeup every morning -- heck, I even start my day in my pajamas sometimes!

I've often fantasized in the past about quitting my day job to be a stay-at-home mom and devote more time to designing, especially considering that my salary at my job isn't contributing that much to our household income (I do work for a nonprofit, after all). But aside from the practical considerations, like the fact that we get our health insurance through my job and we wouldn't have the option to have the same carrier through the Mister's company, I also like the intellectual stimulation of my job and the example I'm setting for Rainbow as a working mother. Working from home full time is the best of both worlds because I'm able to have my career and also be available as a parent. And it also feels like it's enabling me to be more productive and less stressed, because I can do things like throw in a load of laundry or whip up a batch of banana bread in between projects (or when I need a break), and when I'm in the middle of a slow period at work, I no longer have to just sit at my desk looking productive -- I can actually do things like read or knit or spin! Yes, I'm technically still tied to my computer, but I feel like I have a lot more control over how I spend my day and how I get my work done.

It seems that I'll be savoring my current work situation for the foreseeable future, at least through the end of the year but likely into the spring. And I have no complaints about that. I do miss some aspects of getting up and going to the office every day, but I would also be perfectly happy if I never did that again.

I'm looking forward to hearing how your One Little Word has shown up in your life this month!


  1. I was just listening to an NPR story about this, last Thursday, I think. People were sharing their views--and it was so interesting to hear how different people experienced the same situation. I'm an introvert & a homebody, so I love freelancing (from home) and stepping into the work world once in a blue moon (conference or something). The flexibility you described, and the ability to change gears and feed all parts of yourself and your family--it's a big thing. An angle I hadn't considered was that of New York City dwellers. A few of them shared their stories of trying to work their (C-level) positions from a Manhattan apartment, in their bedroom, while their spouse and kids worked & learned in other parts of the apt. And the downstairs neighbor started construction, with hammers going all day! Glad Rainbow's school set-up is still working well, too. (I love that the two of you 'share an office' after school!)

    1. We are definitely lucky that even when all three of us were home and online, we all had our own spaces and could be productive without disrupting each other. I'm also very thankful that we have a fairly spacious house -- I think I would go crazy being penned up in a small apartment!

  2. I can see why you savor this opportunity to work at home, Sarah! I hope the arrangment can continue for you long after the "pandemic all clear" sounds. I think the entire work structure will have shifted by then, making it more acceptable to allow employees an option of working from home. (After all, so many people are demonstrating that work-from-home . . . WORKS!) Keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. I love reading this, Sarah! And bravo for you for embracing this and really making it work for you! My son's employer has found that some employees thrive at home, others...not so much. But I think this is just such a great opportunity! :)

  4. I love that you're finding ways to savor your current work situation! I think a lot of employers are seeing the benefits of this and I hope it can continue for you as long as it's working for you.

  5. It sure sounds like you've found silver lining to savor ... I hope you can carry some of what's working so well into a future "working from the office" scenario. and even if you can't, remembering this ONE good thing about all these months is still worthwhile. I love the picture of you and Rainbow working together (on separate things) in the afternoons. That seems like such a nice transition to full-on family time once your workday ends.

  6. As someone who paid a LOT of money to that "nonprofit" - I did choke a bit at that description. I hope that they can see the light when this is all over and allow staff to work from home when possible. That flexibility would be a nice trade-off incentive to employ the best candidates.