Since I moved in with my husband, I have longed to have a Room Of My Own. Other people long for fancy cars, or pieces of jewellery, or a home in Paris; I just yearned for an office space with four walls and a door I could close against the world.
In our first home, a three bedroom duplex, there was no room for me to have an office, unless we put the two older kids into a room together. And, considering that for the first three years of her life my daughter ran the risk of being shoved in the bin by her slightly older brother who, apparently, was not that keen on a sibling, it seemed wisest to separate them.
So I established an office space in the only corner of my home which was not overrun by toys and kids: my bedroom. It was an impressive office nook, a nice Ikea set-up with desk, shelves and a couple of drawers. The problem, of course, was it’s very location. Taking into account sleeping, getting dressed, and my working day, it meant that I spent most of my waking hours – and all of my sleeping hours – stuck in my bedroom.
I thought it couldn’t get much worse, but how foolish I was. Our next home, a two bedroom apartment where we lived while we built our house, was barely big enough for our new baby, let alone an office. The big kids shared a room, as my daughter was, by then, able to save herself from the bin, and the bub slept in with us. I worked on the dining room table, and occasionally on the floor. And as we lay in bed at night, our daughter snorting softly beside us, I dreamed of my office over the rainbow.
Well, two years later, my fantasies came true. We moved into our beautiful new house, which contained all sorts of lovely features I wasn’t fussed about, and the one I definitely was: a gorgeous, white office overlooking our backyard with modular desk and a comfortable chair. I was ecstatic.
“No-one is allowed to use my office,” I informed the children, as I pasted photos on my walls and arranged my computer into a pleasing position.
“Okay, Mum,” they chorused.
“Unless we really need to use your computer,” my son said.
“Or if we’re lonely,” my daughter added.
“Mama! I want sit on your knee!” the toddler cried.
I used my office undisturbed for less than two weeks. And then it started. Lego pieces crept in. Crayons and textas scattered across the floor. Teletubbies perched upon my desk. And every time I entered the kids were seated in my chair. Why? Because it was my chair. And that was far more appealing than any chair of their own.
These days, I work in my office when the kids are out, and on the kitchen bench when they’re home. I have given up my dream of a Room Of My Own for now. But one day, in the future, when the kids are grown, I know it will happen.
And if I can get a Night On My Own too, well, that would be perfect.
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