A home office, a baby, a life


Who knew a room could launch you into adulthood?

I spend a strange amount of time not feeling “old enough.” Not old enough to have a house, a car, credit cards, a checkbook. Not being old enough to have a husband and a baby on the way; not old enough to argue with cable companies and insurance representatives, to be grocery shopping independently and gathering tax documents.

Though I don’t obsess about it, I often feel like I’m glancing over my shoulder — waiting for someone else to swoop in and take care of things. Fix the insurance snafus; adjust the thermostat. Be the adult in the room.

It’s scary to realize you’re the adult present. The one throwing the party, taking the phone calls, signing up for health care. It’s all you.

We have a home office. One with built-in cabinetry, outlets for computers, actual computers, a mug with pens and Sharpies. And pencils? I guess you need those sometimes.

It was the first thing we noticed in the real estate listing discovered around this time last year: a beautiful space with counters and drawers and ridiculous organizational possibilities. Coming from a relatively small apartment, all I could think about was cramming our stuff in those nooks and crannies. There were so many of them! Something out of a dream. As soon as we stepped inside and looked left, taking in this gorgeous room, we were sold. I mean, the rest of the house is great . . . but that office.

It’s been almost a year since we first toured the place that would become our family home. I had “that sense” as soon as we walked in, you know? That feeling of peace, tranquility, overwhelming rightness. We’d already visited half a dozen houses with my dad, a Realtor, and found positive qualities in each . . . but this one? This was it. It had everything. Never a doubt in our minds.

I freaked out a few times, of course — mostly about money. Houses require lots of it. We got into a bidding war right before the bank formally accepted our offer on the foreclosure, so there was a time when I thought we might have lost it. That thought brought on a potent mix of overwhelming disappointment . . . and relief. I was panicky thinking of another move so quickly after our wedding and my initial transition from my parents’ house. Putting our life back into boxes — ones I felt I’d just unpacked — was overwhelming.

But it was worth it, of course. We got the house; we moved all of our worldly possessions; we’ve made this place ours. We’re home now. I won’t pretend like there aren’t still piles of stuff in the basement waiting to be organized, placed and hung . . . but no one goes down there anyway, right? Spence has learned to ignore them. For now.

With a snowstorm blowing through the Washington area on Monday night, I was able to take a laptop home and work from our office on Tuesday — for the first time ever. And it was magical. “Working from home” is a mystical concept I’ve heard others experience, but I’ve never been able to attempt such a feat.

Given I’m six months pregnant and unsteady on my feet on a good day, my boss kindly suggested I hook up with our IT expert and figure out a way to make it happen. I was ridiculously grateful. By 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, I was hunkered down in said home office with two laptops fired up, listening to Coldplay and sipping a contraband Coke while typing away.

Outside, my husband — off for an actual snow day — set to work clearing our driveway of the 8 inches of fluffy stuff that came down overnight. Our neighbor drove his tractor up and down his property, making hasty U-turns at the street. Around lunchtime, a plow finally pushed its way through our neighborhood. Salt coated the street. The sun broke through the windows.

And I felt happy.

Like really, really happy. Suddenly, inexplicably, buoyantly happy. I’m emotional in a normal (non-pregnancy) state, but something about this scene — cozy but productive at home, our home — just felt . . . really good. Adult-like. Answering work emails, researching articles, laying out pages, being part of a team . . . well, I felt like a grown-up. Never mind that I’ve been in the working world — and at my job — for nearly eight years. This? This was it.

Do you ever have a “This is my life” moment? Tiny, sparkly shards of realization that you are, in fact, this or here or something in between?

For me, they’re usually sparks of recognition that I’m married, starting a family, turning 30 this summer . . . that somehow — by the grace of God, perhaps — we have a home to call our own and people we love who love us back. And more than anything, Spence and I have each other.

There are times I wake up and feel like I’m 10 or 12 or 25 again. Sometimes I expect to open my eyes and be back in my childhood canopy bed, Dad downstairs popping Eggo Waffles into the toaster while my sister and I scramble to get ready for school. Sometimes these scenes feel so familiar, so real, that I forget. Forget I’m here. Forget it’s now.

Feeling a baby kick and tumble in my belly produces some of these existential wanderings, sure, but I’ve always been a philosophical mess. Questioning everything, adding weight to every moment. I was a weird kid. Once, at Disney World, I remember crying because my mom gave me a piece of gum — and I threw away its paper wrapper. Someday, I thought, I’ll remember her handing me this wrapper — something she held. Someday, I’ll want it back.

See? Weird.

I’m not worried about becoming a mother. I don’t worry about being bad at it — though I’m sure I’ll screw up and ask forgiveness and wish I’d done things differently. I’m not a perfect person, and I won’t be a perfect parent. But I already love our son with a fierce fire I didn’t think was possible, and I know I’ll do my best. I’ll do more than that.

Sometimes I think about what it means to bring a child into this world. Like everyone, I think of the scary things — illness, violence, heartbreak — and worry about how I’ll make myself a human shield, absorbing his blows and soothing his cries. Knowing I won’t be able to fix everything — or, someday, anything — is already a gnawing ache.

But I can’t go there. I know I can’t. So I focus on how we want to raise him — how we want to encourage him, laugh with him, inspire him. I keep thinking of my own happy childhood, wanting Spence and I to give him everything we had: love, support, attention.

I keep picturing him in this home office in a Pack ‘n Play, baby-babbling while I tap out emails and field phone calls — how different our life will look four, six and twelve months from now. So foreign from how it looked when we first cleared snow from our shoes and walked through the front door last March.

But also right, too. Very right. Good.


98 thoughts on “A home office, a baby, a life

  1. Inspiring post from you! Yes I have these moments as well. One of the biggest of them was when I moved abroad away from my family, my boyfriend, my friends and the city I love. But I moved into a life where I was able to work in my dream job. I was working to get to that position for over 10 years at that point and to stand on the top deck of the ferry bringing me to my new home realizing this, had a similar effect on me as you describe here.

  2. Your best post yet, Meg. This will be the gum wrapper that your mother threw away– one day you will look back over this post and be so grateful to have sat yourself down in your grown-up office and written all these thoughts from this transformative season down. I really loved reading this, and though I know you only through the internet a few states away, I’ll add that I am also really, really happy for you.

  3. Great post! Beautifully written. I think maybe my son was several years old before it actually sunk in that I was someone’s mother (talk about feeling grown up). I remember thinking that maybe people would realize I wasn’t worthy enough to be the parent of a such a great boy, and they would catch on – but they haven’t yet (and he is 18 years old).

  4. Very inspiring and lovely. You need to save this, perhaps for your baby book or whatever that looks like these days. You’ll be glad to be able to go back and read it after your boy is grown. Trust me. Moments like these and this clarity of thinking are worth preserving. πŸ™‚

  5. Reading your posts everyday kind of give me a little bit of hope into “adulthood” as you call it. Not only are you inspiring, but simply pleasant. This specific post made me wonder about what is ahead for me as well. I have no doubt that you will be a wonderful kind hearted mother. And I hope to have my home office set up like yours by the end of the summer ( god willingly lol ) so inspiring and lovely ! thank you πŸ™‚

  6. Wonderful post! I imagine you at some point showing these thoughts to that baby as he grows so he can see the wonderful things you thought about him during this time that he waits for his time to meet you in person!

  7. I love coming to your blog, and today I just feel all happy having read about your peace of mind and happiness. I was right where you are 22 years ago…new home, baby(well babies, twins) kicking inside me, thinking how amazing life was. Guess what? I’m still feeling that lucky most of the time. Yes my now 21 year olds and 17 year old give me moments of stress, but much more love and pride. Life is good!! xo

  8. This is warm and inspiring, and I know exactly what you mean about catching yourself in moments where you realize, oh, wait — I am the adult in this room. Love your thoughts on dealing with (what I like to call) adulthood things: taxes, bills, etc. Just yesterday, my husband and I went into the bank to speak to someone about a home equity line of credit. Just typing that feels so weird — like, did I really utter those words from my own mouth?

    I’ve been working from home full-time for several years now, and before that, did so often as a freelancer. There’s a certain sense of coziness that comes with this, and it is quite comforting and lovely. Nice read.

  9. I often feel like I’m not old enough to be doing the things I am. When I went to my first OB appointment and the nurse kept saying things like, “your baby,” I felt like I needed to look around and find who she was really speaking to – because it couldn’t possibly be me! But then there are moments, like you mentioned, where everything seems like it is just as it is meant to be.

  10. I really enjoyed your story. It brought back memories of Gary and I buying our first home (which was suppose to be a starter home). 38 yrs. later we’re still here. lol Being a mom for the first time was scary to me. I didn’t have any one to help me nor give advice. It definitely was trial and error. I kept reminding myself that God gave us this gift of a child to raise so he must know we will do ok. I just trusted my instincts and took Lamaze classes which really helped us. Both of you are going to be awesome parents.

  11. I feel the same way most of the time too, wondering when I became an actual adult. I always think everyone else is so much more “grown up” than I am. Sheesh!

    I am constantly worried about the scary things with my son too. I try not to worry so much about the future but it’s hard not to! He’s not even a month old but I’ve been worryimg about his teenage years and beyond since before he was born. I think it’s the worrying that makes you a good mom sometimes. We care enough to want the best for our sons. πŸ™‚ You will be an amazing mama.

  12. Such a lovely post. I’m so pleased for you… And totally envious too. I very happy to be living with fiends in London, yet I still can’t wait for that fabulous time when I have a house, a home, of my own for me an my family. And with an OFFICE. That’s uber grown up realm in my books. I dream of my own office space…and the chance to not had all of my possessions in one room as it happens when living with housemates in rented accommodation. Good luck with the next few months!! Another wonderful life changing moment to come.

  13. It all sounds so perfect, so beautiful! I can picture ti, too – because I lived it! When my youngest was a baby, my home office was exactly what you described. It was really quite wonderful! I’m looking forward to reading about your upcoming home office with baby days!

  14. Working from home is the best. At my last job I worked from home 3 days a week and was in the office for 2. I miss that so much! Life sneaks up on you pretty quickly!

  15. Very inspiring post. I have often look at my kids and how they are growing up as teenagers and they remind me of some of the things I did when I was their age. The I am adult hits me because at their ages without the cares of responsibilities,my parents were paying the bills and now I am in those shoes. I am an adult, I am a grown up. Questions such as when did this happen lol, where did the time go lol pops up.

  16. Excellent post. As a father of 2, I have to remind myself that I’m an adult as well, LOL. It’s hard sometimes when you just want to still be a kid, but, we made that decision and now we have to stick to it ;). Anyways, very nicely done post!

  17. Thanks for sharing! I’m a lot older than you, but I’m not sure I feel grown up, yet. Maybe it’s my generation (gen-x) or my life choices. Maybe one day, when I grow up, I’ll decide.

  18. I don’t think this feeling ever passes, I rather hope it doesn’t. What a shame it would be to wake up one day without the magic of this daydream. I wonder if I will feel similarly misplaced and simultaneously found when my children are one day navigating the same fiction of this shared reality. Beautiful post.

  19. Great post!! I often have that feeling too. I also look younger than I am, ( I always have) and believe it or not that makes it harder also. I’m never taken seriously at whatever station I am in at life. It will be a godsend when I’m eighty!

  20. Great post. I’m a little older than you, no kids — but that same looking over ones shoulder thing and working on being “present” at my current age comes up most every day. Lately it’s been looking forward — like “WTF, in six years I will be 60! When did that happen?

  21. I’m still in that ‘I don’t really want to grow up phase’even if I am an adult. Probably scared of responsibility and commitment. But your post is so soothing and inviting, I can picture you there, I could see myself there, and it doesn’t seem as frightening anymore… Thank you for making me dream a little about the next chapter. I’m curious to see what happens next…

  22. What an amazingly comforting and real piece…

    Spaces are fascinating things… And when you’re drawn to one just like you describe here it’s a true gift…

    I really enjoyed your writing; thank you as you’ve just motivated me to spiff up our own home office as I’ve had so many different projects going on in it reuniting loads and loads of paperwork that it’s become unpleasant and I usually love being in it.

  23. I really like your post! Childhood is the best phase of life when you enjoy your life like in the magical world! And then youth comes, teaches you lessons of real world. And then finally you have to run this world by having a lot of responsibilities. So best of luck for that!

  24. As a seasoned parent know this we all mess up sadly we learn with the first one or two then the others that follow benefit from the wisdom😊 don’t worry and enjoy the baby years… They go by so fast then u find yourself around teenagersπŸ˜œπŸ˜€πŸ˜€ great post and congrats on your new addition😊

  25. Wow you are such a great writer. I wanted it to keep going and going and going. Your office sounds divine. Jealous over here. My “office” is basically my lap where my computer sits. Sigh. I have moments all the time where I realize I’m the adult/parent. It’s really surreal. The worst is when you are driving and you have the moment where it registers that you are driving. It’s scary

  26. Reblogged this on Charlotte Taylor and commented:
    So beautifully written, describing thy moment of realisation ‘I’m the adult’ so well. You think it would be a scary moment finally letting go of the very young you and accepting adulthood, but when it happens it’s the most natural thing in the world!

  27. And a new house suddenly becomes a home when you add the little one in to the mix. It will be their very first home (outside your belly!) and makes it all the more special to you. We bought a house last year and had our baby last summer, so we are in the midst of what you are describing. Best of luck!

  28. Hey miss!..nice to see such an inspirational post..I’m older than most here..so helps on the “look back” at history..and on the look forward to the future..I’m not rich..but blessed with wisdom..so ask away if ever needed..other wise check my blog and have fun!!..it a good time of life for your family’s and its values..

  29. Such a beautiful post! There are times when I experience that same feeling of not being grown up. People often think I am much younger than I actually am and tend to treat me as such. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am no longer a little girl but I hate to have to ‘act my age’. I prefer to act the age I feel….young! Aint nothing wrong with that right?

  30. Great post Meg. I think we all go through moments of disbelief at having produced little humans. You’re about to have so much fun- every day becomes a joy and a challenge, a lesson, and a chance to relive your own childhood. Our home office- into which I had never stepped before our baby was born – has now become my solace at the end of a long day. You might find that once the rest of the house becomes one big play area, the home office is the only place to have some thinking time to yourself!

  31. And a home office becomes a playground ones you have a little one (at least when they’re around). I have a two-year old little girl and she takes over my laptop any time she gets a chance! Enjoy the ride!

  32. And I have days when I crave being completely responsibility free and not an adult! When I want to just forget about all the TO-DOs and the constant feeling of caring for someone else. But as soon as I have a few hours free I always miss her! That’s the blessing of making sure you keep a balance!

  33. I know that “this is your life” only too well! I’m 26 & catch myself thinking, this isn’t quite what I had planned…but I’m happy & that’s all that matters. Great post – thanks πŸ™‚

  34. It’s nice to read from someone who is happy living in this world. And to be honest, you are still very young. But it is OK to start a family and buy a house at this age. Now you will be able to focus on other stuff. I also work from home, and you are correct to say that there is some magic to it. I prefer it so much I can’t even imagine that I would have to go back to the office. For my career, I don’t need drawers, only my computer (I work with RE apps). And it is great to be able to work from bed once in a while. To be honest, I believe that this is the future of employment. Just imagine how much time it consumes to get somewhere, work there, and then go back all the way. It’s not efficient by any means.

  35. I like the way you describe being pregnant. The way you relate to your baby and have fantasies about managing your future tasks as a parent. The bonding starts in pregnancy and not at “first sight” after the birth. If you already know him now he will be more secure and easy to understand.

  36. It’s interesting how we are never the only ones feeling the way we do. I too use to have to pinch myself figuratively when making the final decision as the adult married with children :). It’s a great place to be though.

  37. Reblogged this on santanbabylady and commented:
    I can relate to this blogger in a couple of ways. I have a new fun and funky home office that makes me very happy. I started a private practice and I feel like I’m finally a grown up. The sunshine streaming onto the red Persian rug and the IKEA filing cabinet give me a deep feeling of contentment, as do the women and babies who visit me in this sacred space.

  38. Thank God for the Internet. For those of us who have the convenience to work from home, it is a blessing. I have been blessed with that for a long time, and every time I get to work from home, I give a word of thanks to my manager and the organization that helped me keep my job while caring for the family. And of course the internet providers too…

  39. Loved reading this, and thinking back to my life pre-baby…now I’m the mom of 4. Every season of our lives holds a special significance; once your baby is there in that room with you, it will seem so odd to even try to imagine a life without him/her in it. And btw I’m 47 and a business owner—you’d think I’d be far past the point of having times when I didn’t feel old enough to be handling all of it…but I still have those days…waiting for the adult to enter the room. I like to think it’s having a young spirit πŸ™‚

  40. It’s like you just typed my life out just now, sort of. Even though I’m married, planning to buy a house in the next few months, and beginning the journey of starting a family this summer, I still don’t feel like a “grown up”. I’m not sure why or how that will change for me, since I am clearly an adult right at this very moment, but I look forward to it. Awesome post!

  41. So inspirational! Have just come across this mavellous world of me being to open up into who I am – I need a photo for my icon but have absolutely know Idea how to change it? Any help would be amazing! πŸ™‚

  42. Great to be able to work from home (I just did sometimes if I get a flue…even if I would not be supposed to work).

    Good luck with the pregnancy and the new coming baby.
    You will see: he/she will be like the best magical happy and incredible (snow) storm you ever experienced!
    All the best!

  43. Reading your post made me smile. My daughter just turned 10 months old and I often wonder about the situations I won’t be able to fix for her.

    I think of my parents though and realize that quite often they weren’t able to fix everything, but their unconditional love and support is what got me through the toughest times.

    You’re going to be a wonderful mom because you’re already thinking of these things!

    Oh and PS- I’d LOVE an office like yours! My office was changed to a nursery and while I still have a desk in it, office supplies have been replaces with binkies, diapers and wipes πŸ™‚

  44. Great post the bit about the bubble gum wrapper struck a chord with me as I was cleaning dad’s house for him and came across a piece of embroidery (part of a joint project between mum and me) and I took it home, why? Because of the memories of stuff we did and liked was all tied into that piece of half finished work. Now isn’t that one weird?

  45. I read a lot of it but not every word. I have no excuse for that. I read at least ten of the comments before commenting. I felt like an adult at age 18, but one fresh out of the box so to speak, with no experience. Today I am 47 years old. I do not have a home office but have type spaces in my residence.

  46. It’s great to read such a happy post. I can imagine that you were glowing as you were typing it. Your home office sounds lovely and cozy and will continue to collect lots more memories once your baby is born. Congrats and hope your pregnancy is going well.

  47. Loved your post! And you are right about the pack’n’play in the home office πŸ™‚ My home business office has a space all decked out for my youngest to play in while I work and she has a blast (she even “helps” me work from time to time!)

  48. Nice post…I am experiencing exactly the same thing apart from I feel too young to be married, 32 weeks pregnant, visiting apartments, arguing with my bank, sorting out bills and travelling around the world. I’m 22 and have just moved from Bora Bora to Hong Kong last month.

  49. Congratulations are in order. The steps you took, pure acts of bravery as well as inescapable reality.
    The best thing is that you have experienced that moment, where time slows down and you get to live every detail of your ‘this is it’ moment.
    Truly inspiring. It can only get better Meg. Just continue to write in real time; as I always say, and not delayed.

  50. Everything in this post is how I feel from time to time. You said it better than I ever could! I am also 30, a new mom, and yet I do not usually feel like a grown-up! It drives me crazy that I have so many responsibilities and I, too, feel as though someone else will take care of them. Great post! Congrats on the baby and the house. πŸ™‚

  51. That sounds amazing to be working from home. Your first paragraph about not feeling like an adult, that’s me most of the time! But I am married own a home and have dogs as my children currently to take care of haha. I love your posts πŸ™‚ good luck with everything.

  52. “This is my life moment” – how familiar it sounds to me! After I found my Home which is my dream house as well, after we saw our son for the first time, – every day of my life is “my life moment”.

  53. Awesome, post. This is the first blog that I have commented on. I have those same moments as well. I am 25 and often wonder where my high school years and my college years went. I feel like I should still be there even though I am married and almost done with a 2nd college degree. I guess that is just one of life’s ways of showing us that we should cherish our time!

  54. I’ve felt weird for a long time because I still don’t feel like an adult. I’m 33 but I don’t feel like I ever stopped being a teenager, one mature for her age, but a teenager nonetheless. Thanks for the beautifully written thoughts on the surreal nature of growing up.
    Also, I’m seriously jealous of all the storage in your awesome office!

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