Even if you live in a busy household
I Dream of a Room of My Own
A room of my own. An impossible goal.
My kids have a room, one each. I share mine with my husband. We live in a three-bedroom apartment. My daughter has a beautiful small room, a perfect spot for an office. It has a river view.
Often, I dreamed of decorating it just for me. With bookshelves, a large desk that could fit a monitor, my laptop, a few books, my notebooks, pens and a coffee cup. Perhaps a sofa or a soft armchair so I could relax when reading. And some space for my yoga mat and my meditation pillow.
My own retreat.
But you see, I am not someone who can legitimately claim an office.
I am not a writer, at least not a paid writer and I don’t run my own business. I just work for a company at a desk in one of their open space offices. I could not justify an office for myself, even if I had that space.
I did consider making some space in my bedroom for my yoga at least, but the room is so small, it fits our queen size bed, our dressers, and our built-in wardrobe. We squeezed in the night tables, too.
Perfectly adequate. But no space to double as anything else.
Legitimate Work From Home
Then the pandemic happened and my company sent us to work from home. While we did have a flexible ‘work from home’ policy before the pandemic, I had rarely used it because I just couldn’t get much done working from the kitchen counter, with the TV in the background and my husband and kids conversing and making a noise.
I did that for a few days but it was a disaster.
Then my husband had an idea. We’ll squeeze my son’s tiny desk (he does his homework at the dining table, anyway) and his chair into our bedroom. It was a tiny Jysk desk, 40 cm wide, 60 cm long. To my surprise, it fitted right in front of my bed and under my window. The chair wouldn’t fit, so I swapped it for one we used at our dining table.
The desk now holds my work laptop, a mouse, a souvenir mousepad that makes me happy, and a 24″ monitor I brought from my office. I can also squeeze in a cup of coffee (while being very careful about my movements)
And just like that, I have worked for 8 hours a day, sometimes longer, since March 2020. I am writing this post from that desk.
Not a Home Office, but a Bedroom Desk
I finally have my office. And, best of all, I claimed it legitimately. When mama is working nobody comes in. Because mama has important work to do. Or a conference call. Mama deserves this small space.
And by having an ‘office’ of her own, kind of, mama can now write. And research and learn.
In the past few months, I have started this blog, something I learned how to do from the tranquility of my home desk. I have now written several posts, tweaked my social media, discovered Medium and signed up for it!
A world has opened up from this tiny desk.
Now, I never want to leave it. I feel a little guilty about neglecting my kids and husband (I try to make it up on the weekends).
It turns out, I don’t need an office. I just need this tiny desk, this little space to call my own. The space that calls on me to sit down and create.
For 15, 20 minutes a day. Or longer. Most days it is longer.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
I have recited this quote by Theodore Roosevelt to myself for years. I had even finished the first draft of my novel stealing bits and pieces of time and space with a laptop on my lap, on my bed.
I’ve never realized that I did have space for an office just for me. And that I could legitimately claim it, whether I am being paid for the work I do at the desk, or not.
Without being forced to work from home by my day job (paid!) I would still be waiting for the perfect time, when the kids are in school and I am not at work, to do my writing.
Or any other creative pursuit I want to do and that I am not being paid for. And there are plenty of those.
From my tiny desk, I say, this is plenty.