I love my wife! And I go to every length to make her realize that.
Don’t believe me? Ask her. Guaranteed, she will give me 10/10 (OK, I’m at least a 9) on being the best husband who knows how to make her feel loved.
I used to think that I can never get enough of her. We can sit together and spend a whole day enjoying ourselves and rhapsodizing about our relationship.
So, when COIVD forced us to work from home, we were happy! Full day with each other… Ohh! So lovely!
But as they say, “When life gives you a reckoning, it hits you hard.”
Make no mistake; in the beginning, it was a fun couple of weeks. We enjoyed working with each other. Seeing each other immersed in work was something new for both of us.
We never saw the ‘work version’ of each other, and so, it was a novel experience to sit across a table, looking into a computer screen and going about our 9 to 5 job.
We had lunch at our wills, little moments together while having tea was fun, and laughter, don’t even ask about that.
It was all fun until… the work-from-home began to lose its shine. Those tiny moments – that felt adorable before – became a tad irritating.
We found each other’s traits pesky. My loud laughter during con-calls irked my wife. Her cleanliness made me prickle.
The utopia was disappearing.
We realized that working side-by-side on a rectangular desk, every single day, wasn’t as charming as we envisaged.
We began disconnecting, distancing, and after a while, we were working out of separate rooms.
Working with each other not only became stressful, but it also affected our relationship. The work-life balance was throwing our doting life into disarray.
It couldn’t work like that, so my wife and I sat down to establish some rules that we both would follow until we are working from home.
I am happy to say that those rules worked out well for us, and now we don’t hate working with each other.
This blog is about how we learned to live with each other while working from home. Let’s talk about what worked for us and what didn’t.
Talk about your habits
The most important thing: tell each other about the things you do while working.
For example, I am loud. When I work, I sometimes shout. I also start signing. Silence isn’t my forte.
But my wife, she is like a strict teacher who wants pin-drop silence in her workspace. So, when we began working together, half of her time was spent in shushing me.
Once we acknowledged this difference and talked about it, working with each other became easier.
Now, I have learned to shout less often, and she has learned to ignore me by putting on the headphones and forgetting that I even exist.
Have separate workspaces
If your personality differences are too drastic, and you couldn’t coexist in a single room, then the best course of action is to work out of separate rooms.
In my case, I work in the living room, while my wife has turned the bedroom into her workspace.
We respect each other working space and don’t throw basic etiquettes into the air just because it’s work-from-home.
We don’t barge into each other’s workspace whenever we want to have a quick chat. If her door is locked, it means she’s working, and I wait for her to get free.
She follows the same protocol when entering my room.
So, make sure your partner knows when it’s OK to enter that space and when it’s not. Hang a “do not disturb” sign if you feel like it.
Don’t try to be work buddies
Yes, you are working from home.
Yes, you are spending all the time together.
Yes, you may feel like “work buddies,” but YOU ARE NOT!
So, it is not OK to discuss work ideas with your spouse or indulge in workplace gossips with them. Do it with your actual colleagues. Get them on a call and talk!
You and your spouse couldn’t relate to each other’s workplace environments, and more often than not, your conversations would end up in ‘let’s just leave it.’
Word of wise: Don’t put in extra effort to be each other’s friends.
Share your schedules
Once I did this stupid thing of entering into the room where my wife was on a conference call with her colleague and boss. Completely unaware, I said something that I shouldn’t have.
An eerie silence shrouded the room, and my wife’s face was red with humiliation.
Safe to say, I never felt more mortified in my whole life. After she schooled me, I learned my lessons.
Now, we have shared our daily schedules. It helped us learn when the other person is having a meeting, or when is the right time to have a chat.
When it comes to work, everyone has a different routine. You may like to work late at night, while your wife may be an early bird.
Everyone feels productive at different hours. Acknowledging it would make the work-from-home a lot easier.
Sometimes, we get tempted to comment on other people’s works, despite us not knowing the first thing about it.
Don’t do this when you are working at home with your spouse.
It might be normal for you, but the other person can take feel disrespected. Yes, if your spouse if asking for a suggestion, feel free to give them one.
But then too, stop after giving the suggestion. Don’t try to impose it upon them. It will lead to an argument, which will affect your relationship.
Don’t stop loving each other
There’s a dichotomy to life.
“When you don’t have anything, you crave for it. When you get too much of it, you take it for granted.”
The same could happen when both husband and wife are together all the time. You might think that you don’t need personal moments because already, you are spending all the time with each other.
Being at home with your spouse can sometimes become a little overwhelming and lifeless. So, it is important to keep things lively.
What my wife and I did was that every night at the dinner table, we watch one episode of our favorite T.V. show together. It helps both of us to relax after a full day of work.
Saturdays are movie nights. On Sundays, we prepare our meals together and turn it into a date.
Since we can’t step out due to the pandemic, we bring the fun to our home.
Result: Despite the ups and downs, our work-from-home experience has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.
Come to terms with it
Unfortunately, coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon. Work from home is now a new norm, and spouses are closer than before.
However, it is important to stay cognizant of the boundaries and define them clearly to foster a healthy work-life relationship.
Keep communicating with each other, and don’t try to be work buddies. Make sure that you’re not intruding, and maintain a distance during work hours.
Whenever possible, appreciate your partner and celebrate each other’s success. This is how you can have fun while you’re stuck together at home