Ever since my youngest started full time school I have felt an overwhelming pressure to immediately go back to work and “do something with my life”. The only thing as strong as this pressure is my equally powerful dread of heading back to an office job. Sure, it would be nice to have the extra money, see other adults during the day and make a contribution to society, but there are many compelling reasons for me to stretch out this stay-at-home gig as long as humanly possible.
1. I’ve f*cking earned a sabbatical. When I left my career to become a stay at home mom, I genuinely felt that I had earned a break (that’s back before kids when I still thought that becoming a stay at home mom would be a ‘break’). I had just spent the past decade in the crazy land of advertising, the most recent 7 of which were in the even more crazy land of a start-up digital marketing agency, surviving the dot-bomb crash and working on two of the most high-profile, demanding clients around. I feel like I’m in a similar situation now. I’ve dedicated the past 10 years to two even more demanding clients, sustained by the vision of someday being able to dump them both off at school and enjoy a few complaint / demand / whine / “he took my ______” / “have you seen my_____” free hours. In many companies, it’s customary to offer employees a sabbatical after 7 years. So let’s just say I’ve been offered a belated sabbatical.
2. Number two. (Pun intended). One of the few aspects of office life that I really did dread was the public bathroom dynamic. It’s not like we had an Ally McBeal unisex or anything, but of my two options, neither were conducive to a nice, relaxing poop. There was the traditional ‘stall’ set up, where you could either try to rush your business to get in and out before any new stall mates arrived or even worse, end up sitting in a holding pattern so your coworker who just came in (and surely recognized your shoes) can quickly pee, wash hands and discreetly leave so you can get back to pooping in peace before the next intruder.
The somewhat better option was what my friend, Kristine, had named “The Family Style” (TM). (This also became our new codeword, as in “Oh man, that thai food totally made me have to Family Style”.) The Family Style was the handicap accessible bathroom which was a luxurious 100 square feet of pooping privacy, (even furnished with a magazine rack in case you cared to share bacterial-covered reading material with 200 of your closest friends). Sounds like pooping perfection, except for one important detail: The Family Style was located right next to a stairwell and directly across from a conference room. So, best case scenario, you had to made a choice between trying to sneak out in a blur, hoping the person sitting by the conference room window isn’t facing out, or just strut out with pride, ready to make eye contact with that person and give them the “yeah, I just totally Family Styled” head nod.
And then there was the ultimate worst pooping scenario, which somehow seemed to happen at least 50% of the time, when our President and Director of Business Development would decide to hold some weird post-conference-conference directly outside of the Family Style. So even if you’re done and ready for your exit, if you miss your window, you could be stuck in there for what feels like hours with only a pile of gross magazines and your nagging thoughts of, “if I leave now, they’ll know I’ve been in here the whole time….do they already know that I’m in here and they’re just messing with me?…..Is one of them waiting for the Family Style and will stand there until I eventually leave? Should I have brought a snack?….I’m missing my 10:00 client call….If I swing this door open fast enough can I knock them both out and make my escape?”
All this pooping talk is putting me in a Family Style kind of mood. And because I am on ‘sabbatical’ instead of at an office job, and the kids are at school, I can leisurely choose from any of our 3 bathrooms where not only can I be assured will have no senior level meetings held outside the door, but I don’t even have to close the damn door.
This is living the dream.
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xo - Susanne