Not working from home

Sunday, July 31, 2022 Permalink

I spent a couple of weekdays at my mother’s last week. I haven’t worked much from her place since starting my full-time gig as she didn’t really have reliable wifi until a few months ago. And since then I’ve mostly been there on weekends or on brief overnight visits.

But for various reasons I decided on having a couple of full days at her place. We bought a new desk for her spare room last year, so it’s not like I’m hogging her dining table or we’re in each other’s way.

Mum was in and out as she has a variety of commitments. And my brother often works from there when he visits so she’s accustomed to leaving him to it as she bustles around the kitchen or house as she’s wont to do (in between crosswords and reading).

It occurred to me later that the thing I enjoyed about working from her place were the breaks. When I’m at my place I go and get some food and take it to my desk. While I’m eating I’ll check Facebook or other social media, or do some of my own emails or blogging. I tend to eat at random times and drink diet coke in between. I visit the fridge far more than I should and am conscious that any weight gain has probably been linked to my all-day grazing.

Mum, on the other hand, tends to eat at regular times: breakfast on rising, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. So when she was home I found myself joining her. I didn’t take hour-long lunch breaks or anything, but I stopped and left my desk. I sat and cracked open a diet coke at her dining table when she had her morning and afternoon cups of tea. And we went out for breakfast one morning before I started work.

not working from home

It was a pleasant surprise how much of a difference it made to my entire week. I’m reminded that’s probably what one enjoys about an office. A break in which to chat to someone. The water cooler talk that’s not via an online app or screen.

I wrote recently about ‘spending time’, commenting that I’d forgotten how to do it in an enjoyable manner. I seemed to be either working; or lolling on my bed scrolling through social media on my phone… bored out of my brain. I said I felt guilty that other people ‘do’ things in their spare time and yet I wasn’t sure what I even wanted to be doing.

But since [that post] I’ve spoken to a few people and realise I’m continuing to compare my life to others’ highlights’ reels. I mean, I am definitely antisocial and slack about doing ‘things’ but suspect others flit about less than I imagine. They share it when they do (as do I!) so they seem to live fuller lives.

In a response to a comment on that post I said I realise that one of the major differences is that others – when home – usually have someone else around, so they’re more likely to occasionally carry out a conversation. Bitch about their day, debrief about the state of world affairs, gossip about neighbours. And so forth.

I’m not prepared to get a housemate (given I’ve lived alone for over 30 years – other than the ‘group house from hell’ – ie. the Australian Embassy in East Timor circa 1999-2000!) but I might need to work from mum’s more often.

* Image: @lazybonesaustralia via Unsplash. Click on image for link to source


  • Natalie
    July 31, 2022

    It’s great that you can work in your mom’s spare room from time to time and enjoy her company. I read your interview with her on ageing (your post in 2017). I’d love to chat with her and listen to her thoughts and tips on friendship.

    • Debbish
      August 1, 2022

      She’s great at maintaining friendships and has a motivation (for everything) that obviously skipped my bloodline. She keeps in regular contact with friends, often being the one to reach out and still sends cards etc.

      I’ve got some very close friends but tend to see them irregularly now I’ve moved but rely on social media or emails to stay in touch. One of my besties calls but she’s the only person (other than my mother) to ever ‘ring’.

  • janine219
    August 1, 2022

    Your break time with your mother sounds wonderful, and it’s lovely that you are able to spend time with her inbetween your work. I recently stayed with my mum for the first time in three years (thanks Covid!). It was so lovely to just pop in and out of her house and catch up on chats. We often take these small gifts for granted in life.

    • Debbish
      August 1, 2022

      That’s true Janine. I spent many many years living in other cities, state and countries from my (then) parents so it’s nice to be close again.

  • Denyse Whelan Blogs
    August 2, 2022

    What a lovely idea to do this and I bet your Mum enjoyed it as well!

    • Debbish
      August 3, 2022

      I’m going there again today for a couple of days.

  • Jo
    August 3, 2022

    I hear you. I’m on my own for most of every day, but do have Grant coming home in the evening. I try and keep a routine during the day but need to stop the visitations to the fridge just because I’m bored and restless because I’m bored. Hey ho…

    • Debbish
      August 3, 2022

      I’m back at mum’s for a few days now, so I’ll see if it helps again this week. You’re right. Some routine would probably be useful for me. I stopped going to my exercise classes when I went to WA and then returned with an injured ankle so haven’t returned at all…

      • Jo
        August 3, 2022

        Kali & I are in the Bay next week so I’ll be right out of routine again…

        • Debbish
          August 4, 2022

          Maybe you can drag me for a walk….

          • Jo
            August 5, 2022

            Maybe I can… You’re lucky in that Kali doesn’t walk that far these days…

  • Joyce in England
    August 10, 2022

    your mom will definitely feel cozy and warm to have you!

    • Debbish
      August 11, 2022

      Hi Joyce, and yes, she always seems happy to have me visit. I’m always conscious that it’s easier for me to be at her place than her at my place because she’s still in the same house I grew up in so I’m very comfortable there.

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