Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Sat There. I Didn't Do Anything. She Had To Experience Something In Its Entirety.

In October of last year, I moved Lisa's desk and laptop back to the home office. There's a story behind that. You can read about it here. I was more than overjoyed to have Lisa's home office space put back together. For the 6 months that Lisa didn't have her space in the home office, it felt empty. I was a little sad. When I had long work days at my desk during the week or worked at my desk on the weekends, I loved having her in here with me. At her desk. Checking emails and her social media streams. Plus, she had her own space. She no longer had to use her laptop at the table or on the sofa.

During the week, she doesn't spend too much time at her desk. On the weekends, she'll take a couple of hours here and there to utilize her office space. Over the past couple of weeks, when she's been at her desk, I've been working on something else like DIY Dog Mom Projects at the kitchen table or baking or typing a blog column on my Chromebook in another room because I've needed a break from my desk.

Last weekend, Lisa sat at her desk to check emails and do other stuff. I was at the kitchen table working on DIY Dog Mom Projects.

All of the kids were up. Willa wanted to play fetch so she dropped her ball at Lisa's feet. Lisa threw the ball. Willa brought it back.

This happens at least 354 times during the day when Lisa is at work. It doesn't matter if I'm at my desk or sitting on the toilet. When Willa wants to play fetch, she doesn't care what you're doing.

Coco was pacing around, barking, and initiating play with Willa.

Sophie was curled up in the DIY Indoor Dog House and slightly restless.

Lobo was running from room to room barking because...well, that's what he does.

I could hear what was going on, but I kept my ass planted on the chair at the kitchen table.

I knew what was happening. 

Coco will pace and bark when he wants an extra snack during the afternoon.

Sophie will get comfortable on one of the DIY dog beds, in the DIY dog house, or on the sofa, remain there for a few minutes, then move to another spot when she needs or wants to go outside.

Lobo will run from room to room barking because, well, he's Lobo and that's just what he does. More than likely, he just wants to be picked up or lifted onto the sofa.

Willa requires at least a half-dozen games of fetch per hour. If you don't cater to her demands, she'll get into mischief.

I know this. 

Lisa, because she works outside of the home, doesn't know this. I don't expect her to know this. She spends a great deal of time with the kids, but because she works outside of the home, she's unaware of what certain things translate to.

On the flip side, I have no idea what she goes through at work or what most of her job entails. Sometimes, she'll tell me that she's getting out at 3, but stuff happens, and she ends up getting out at 4 or 5.

On this particular day, it took every ounce of my being to not get up 109 times during the span of an hour to cater to this or that.

Lisa was at her desk going through her emails and replying to some.

All of the kids were in the office with her. Each was expressing their needs at the time.

Sporadically, I'd yell a tidbit of advice from the kitchen to the home office.

"Coco wants an extra snack!"

"Throw the ball for Willa or else she'll convert a blanket into a Swiss Cheese blanket!"

"Sophie wants to go outside!"

"Lobo, well, he's just being Lobo. Try putting him on the sofa!"

After an hour of this, and Lisa getting up from her desk 217 times within that hour, she ventured to the kitchen and leaned up against the counter. Bewildered.

"I've never underestimated what you do in a day's time as a Work at Home Dog Mom. But today, I finally realized the challenges you face each and every day when you're trying to get work done."

I stopped what I was doing. Inhaled slowly. Exhaled even slower.

Mission accomplished.

I know Lisa has never underestimated what I do day after day after day as a Work at Home Dog Mom.

She has always respected my work and contributions to our home and family.

She has always extended her gratitude and never fails to show how much she appreciates what I do.

On the days when working at my desk has consumed me for longer than anticipated, she always jumps in and helps with anything that needs to be done after arriving home from work. No complaints.

But, on this day, I wanted her to understand a very specific challenge to my Work at Home Dog Mom Life.

What it's like to try and sit at your desk and get stuff done while the kids are up and at 'em.

And, the guilt I feel when I didn't get all of my desk work done. 

I've lost count how many times I've tried to explain to Lisa what it's like to sit at my desk and get work stuff done.

Sometimes, it takes me an entire hour to write a single paragraph.

I tend to all of our kid's needs when they happen. In real time. It's a continuous state of up down, up down, up down...

In addition, if the neighborhood kids have the day off from school, there's extra noise. So, all of the kids bark. More challenges on my Work at Home Dog Mom front.

Today, Lisa got a taste of what I go through each and every single day.

What it's like to sit at your desk during the daytime hours and try to get something trivial done like writing an email or responding to stuff you posted on social media streams.

She got it.

She understands.

Because in order to fully understand something, you need to have experienced it or gone through something similar or the same thing.

You can't just listen to the challenges someone encounters and say, "I understand..."

Unless you've experienced it or have been through it, or witnessed it firsthand, no, you don't understand.

How can you?

If you have never experienced having to get up from your desk 102 times in an hour while working, you can't possibly understand what it's like to try and get desk work done between frequent up down, up down, upon down.

If you have never experienced what it's like to live on the streets in the dead of winter, you can't say, "I understand" when someone shares this particular experience with you.

Now, Lisa understands.

As difficult as it was to just sit there and let her experience it all in its entirety, it was worth it.

She gets it.

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