So the deal with working from home while semi-laid-up and super-duper-pregnant? Not very much fun. Not exciting. Not relaxing. Not pleasant or refreshing or a nice change of pace. Just work, mealtimes, work. Maybe some mid-afternoon stretching.
Sometimes the solitude is broken by a text from the office or a last minute request to jump onto a conference call, sometimes by my husband coming out of his editing cocoon to disrupt my concentration at just the wrong moment. Otherwise it’s all work all the time – and not the fun kind of work. It’s the same old onslaught of emails and reports and complaints minus all the mid-meeting banter, the politicking and planning, the venting with humor. I can tell you with certainty, emoticons are no match for face-to-face emotions.
I underestimated how fully I relied upon my job for day to day meaning, how completely I relied upon the human interactions and the shifting rhythms of an organization – particularly during a pregnancy that has not always been easy, that since the outset has had me more likely to head for bed than for dinner and a movie with friends. Eliminate the job, eliminate pretty much the whole world that once existed outside the walls of my house. What would I be if not for my work? Can it really be healthy to rely so fully on an external force for validation and fulfillment in my life?
I’m not lonely, though, at least not yet. I still talk with friends, still email and text and waddle (yes, waddle – those racing days are but a distant memory) outside every now and then. I still spend time with my extended family, still go sometimes for Sunday brunch. I still plan play-dates for my daughter with children who have parents that I enjoy talking to, the main difference now being that the play-date comes to us instead of to our very favorite park with adjacent coffee shop. And then there’s the other main difference: Braxton Hicks contractions morning, noon, and night, because time on my feet seems lately to be matched one for one with time spent trying to keep track of all that damn tightening.
To say my life is about to change in a dramatic way is beyond understatement. Transformation I believe is the word to use here. But how incredible it is that I can sit at my desk hour after hour, adding to my list of tasks twice as quickly as I’m crossing things off, busying myself with the minutia of every last thing that needs to get done at work, every last bit of cleaning that needs to get done around the house, every last errand, chore, bill. How incredible that I can just go about my business as if this massive earthquake of an event isn’t actually going to occur. I work and work and work, ticking my way through tasks, feeling momentarily satiated by each successive task I complete until my daughter comes home and everything gets put on pause. When she goes to sleep I’m too tired for more work but I must keep moving, must keep making progress, and so I busy myself folding freshly washed baby laundry for the baby that hasn’t yet arrived or researching replacement rocking chairs online. I occupy my hands in endless attempts to occupy my mind and it works – surprisingly, it really does work. Or, it works until that half moment of quiet, until that little nagging worry starts to seep through.
But oh dear readers, I’ve made a pledge to be positive and I plan to stick to it. So I do the only thing I know to do when the emotional creaking starts – I take a seat. Literally. I sit down, set a timer, close my eyes. The laundry list doesn’t go away. The fears still rattle around. But if I’m lucky I’ll get just one little gem of a moment where quiet proves it can still exist. And that’s all it takes. Just one moment, once, maybe twice a day, like vitamins for the soul. Not solving any problems or curing any illness, just helping to keep me in proper working order.
Meditation has been sorely missing from this pregnancy. I’ve felt its absence as intensely as I’ve experienced the sudden lack of my long weekend runs. When I was pregnant with my daughter, meditation was a daily practice – a dose I couldn’t quite function without – and I believe it contributed a great deal to her overall good, calm (for a toddler) demeanor. I worry about not having yet given this gift to my son. Will he be high strung? Hyperactive? Out of control? Probably not, but in the final weeks of quieting down and digging into home life it certainly won’t hurt to give him a regular hit or two of the good stuff.
So yeah, the deal with working from home? Not that much fun. But at least I get to sit down every now and then.