I never imagined that I would be working for my husband. And that I would actually LIKE it. And that it would be GREAT for our marriage. Note: we do NOT hold hands like in that picture. I just searched in Google images for ‘husband wife working office’ and that’s what I found. And thought it was pretty cute.
I’ll give you my 3 reasons upfront, then hash them out in my typical long-winded style (sorry, the English major in me is not very succinct. I’m more of a novelist than a blogger!).
I have gained a deeper respect for him and what he does to provide for our family as I get in his world and see how much he juggles. I mean, I’ve always known he was a smart guy and a hard worker, but when you get to see your man in action, shining with his gifts, it’s pretty cool. I have learned that every time he gives a power-point presentations, I am impressed. And a little bit turned on. Something about that upfront leader guy just does it for me. Was that an overshare? I never know.
When he comes home and shares about his work day, both the highlights and the struggles, I am much more engaged and able to empathize on a much deeper level than before. Because I am more familiar with what he does and what his daily life looks like, I know what questions to ask and I am actually interested! When before, I would try to be sympathetic and ask the same general things and well, he would usually lose me in the first 5 minutes when he started throwing out words like B2B space, SEO/SEM, lead generation and pay-per-click (and trust me, he dumbed it down as much as possible). It just all seemed so boring. And well, it was a totally different world from mine. And perhaps I was a teeny bit jealous and even judgmental that he could ‘go to work all day and sit behind a computer and check his email’ when I was doing things like changing diapers, potty training, disciplining, cooking meals and cleaning up. I considered my job to be a lot HARDER than his and a lot of days, I resented him for it. The problem was: I was demanding that he enter my world but never really tried to enter his.
Even though the time that we spend in the office is not really all that much (I come in once or twice a week for 3-4 hours), there is something about physically being there in the office with him, on his turf, in his professional world, where he spends a majority of his time, that brings us closer. I can’t really explain it. But it’s a sense that I get. And it’s good. It’s really good. He likes having me around me around (he’s a quality time guy). And I like feeling like I’m contributing to his business (even if it’s a meager 8 hours a week). It’s the little things that make a difference. He usually swings by between meetings just to check in and see how I’m doing. Sometimes he lets me join him and his business partner during their weekly check-ins. I have become fascinated with his industry and how it all works.
But I’m not saying this is for everyone. Heck no. It may not work for us in the long term. But right now, it’s really awesome.
I guess I should tell you how it all came about. And let me say this: when he first pitched the idea that I could write web content for his online marketing company, I was like. Ugh. No. How booooooooooooring. I am a creative writer type. I like to talk about myself and process deep things. I don’t want to write for the web. Who wants to write about boring things like storage containers, mobile offices, modular buildings and office coffee services? No thanks.
But then, well, I went through a major mental crisis. Basically a nervous breakdown. You can read more about that in my blog post: Am I Going Crazy? So all of the sudden, my kids were in full-time childcare and I was a stay-at-home with no kids to stay home with. That was an identity crisis, let me tell you. So I was desperate. I felt a little bit guilty for all of the expenses I was accruing with counseling and medication and yoga and such. I felt like I needed a project, something to occupy my mind. And well, what better way to do that then utilize my skillset by writing content for my husband’s company? It sure beat sitting at home all day analyzing and journaling about the roots of my depression/anxiety (which usually spiraled me into further depression/anxiety). But there were other days when I watched multiple episodes of Downtown Abbey or Call the Midwife while thoroughly enjoying a bowl of ice cream (have you guys tried the Salted Carmel flavor? It’s just some generic Walmart brand. But oh my gosh! It’s amaaaazing!). On high energy days, I would even work out and meet with friends. So don’t get me wrong. It was a pretty nice life. But after awhile, I got ansty. I knew I needed to do something with my time. So I agreed to work for him part-time, still dragging my feet a bit.
In the beginning, it was slow. I was rather offended that my eloquent flowery style of writing was considered inappropriate and not ‘scannable’ for the web. I learned that things like headers and key words and bullet points and bolding and links were really essential to web content. It was a very different kind of writing than I was used to. But I found I actually enjoyed the challenge. It was something new. I was constantly learning. And it was the silly things that made me feel good about myself – like getting to dress professionally again rather than wearing work-out clothes all day. It was going through the Starbucks drive-thru and knowing I was heading into the office. It was getting to interact with other people in the professional world. It was getting to sit at a desk and work on a computer and get into that zone.
Now, I can crank out a couple of pieces of web content a week. I find myself writing late at night or when the kids are having rest time on the weekends. And it’s not a burden (I realize that’s a total luxury to be able to work part-time and set my own hours). I even find myself reading up on the industries that I’m writing about. Just for fun. Just to learn. It feels like I’m using a part of my brain that went dormant when I had kids.
And let me make an ugly confession: I used to be a tiny bit judgmental of working moms. I thought it was selfish to put your career above your kids. I mean, I was more understanding of those who had to work to pay the bills. But in some cases, the cost of childcare can just about equal the amount of money you make. At least that’s what my working mom friends tell me. But here I was, a judgmental little stay-at-home mom, forced into a situation where I had to send my kids to school full-time and I got to interact with a lot of working moms. I got to see how hard they work to be present in their children’s lives. I saw how many of them made every effort to attend their kid’s preschool events in the midst of their busy work days. I saw them meeting their kids for lunch. I saw them hosting birthday parties for their entire kid’s class. Basically, I saw that we weren’t that different. That we were all struggling to be good moms, good wives, good people, good contributors to society.
But that could be a whole ‘nother blog post. I’ll leave you with a prayer since I don’t really know how else to wrap this up.
Lord, thank you for the past two years, although incredibly hard, they have been so good for my marriage, my parenting and my own personal health. Thank you for letting me use my writing in a new way that brings a joy and confidence back to my life that has been missing for quite some time. Thank you for gently humbling me through my weakness, for allowing me to see things from a different perspective, for allowing me to respect, empathize and connect with husband in a deeper way. For all of this, I am grateful. You truly work out all things together for good according to your own purposes, even though we may not see it. Help me depend on you for wisdom and strength and joy as I do life. Thank you, most of all, for always loving me, for never forsaking me, despite the fact that I easily stray from you on a daily basis. Thank you that your love endures forever. I love you. Amen.