At home

Rosalie de Jonge

A house is an object
a place where you live
The heart is inside
where uninterrupted
Love, fun and togetherness
A place you come home to,
it’s that nice place!

I wrote this poem a few years back. Of course I couldn’t know that I’d now be working from home. That the walls are closing in a little and your world becomes very small when your home is also your office and you can’t just invite anyone round for coffee. That the time would come in which shopping for groceries is no longer simple as a single mother and you suddenly can’t allow spontaneous visits to your own home. Over the past weeks, I’ve become aware how nice it is to have sweet friends, family and colleagues, but that it’s even nicer when they’re actually around you.

I’ve been working from home for the past 3 weeks. Having noticed that my parents were becoming more cautious and that it was tricky to arrange day care for Otis, my son, we decided during our weekly corona meeting that I would take the computer home with me to work.

So there you sit, at home, computer installed on my desk in my computer room, and time to get to work. It didn’t take long for me to discover that it’s more practical to have the computer in the living room with a toddler around.
So there it is, on the dining room table. Otis thinks it’s interesting and recognises opportunities to watch Peppa Pig during mealtimes.
I’m aware that I needed to find my feet and establish a pattern in the first week. Instead of heading to the office 3 days a week, I need to figure out how to get my work done while Otis is with my parents or his father. Okay, when Otis is home, I must admit that the tablet is a solution when you need to make phone calls.

Now that I’m working from home, I really need to have structure in my day. I won’t oversleep with a toddler so that’s sorted at least, because why would you set an alarm clock to work at home anyway….
No, I’m not wearing my pyjamas and yes, I have combed my hair and put on my make-up (I prefer to interrupt my colleagues in a video call so I can’t get away with that).
I’ve noticed that I purposely park my car in the blue zone, requiring me to nip out every 2 hours to adjust the parking disc. Solitary walks are not as much fun…

Working from home means dealing creatively with the situation, and looking for opportunities. Combining work and children has never been so challenging.
My conclusion is that working without colleagues is boring, even though everyone sits behind their own computer at the office, all doing their own work. Yet you’re together.
If there’s something you don’t know or anything you want to share, they’re there. Giving or receiving a cup of tea, a quick lunchtime walk, exchanging opinions.
It’s the little things that matter and which I now miss, and will appreciate more in the future. But let’s stay positive, it’s time to become conscious of what we have and what we miss. That will help us appreciate it even more once we can get back to work ‘as normal’, do our grocery shopping ‘as normal’, our children can go to school or day care ‘as normal’ or you can shake someone’s hand, kiss or cuddle them ‘as normal’. ‘Simply because you can’.

A house is an object
a place where you live
Where you work
and where you’re interrupted
Not always fun
sometimes too small
But being at home all together can be nice after all

If you’re alone
then it’s not easy
No visiting
so switch on Facetime again
Yet you stay indoors
not for yourself
But for other people
you’re a hero

Working and learning
smiles and tears
All together
tackling it together
Appreciate the moments
small as they may be
Stay home and make it a nice place to be

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