It’s a bit of a stretch to say that this post is about science, but it relates to my capacity to work effectively so I’m going to proceed.
(It’s also based on rather of a first world problem, so please forgive me if it irks you on that level.)
We’ve been rearranging the house over the past couple of weeks.
When we renovated nearly 4 years ago, we decided to create two bedrooms for children and one general ‘playroom’ which could house toys, games, puzzles, various shared electronic paraphernalia and drawing and painting supplies. You know, all the stuff that the modern Western child seems to accumulate faster than you can say consumerism. This room is attached to the main living space by two sliding doors.
A spare room in the older front part of the house was transformed into a slap-dash home office to be shared by my husband and myself.
This layout had not been working too well recently for a number of reasons.
Firstly, my oldest child – a boy aged 10 – was well and truly over sharing a bedroom with his three-year-old brother. Their wide age gap and shared tendency to be highly competitive and emotional about most aspects of life was wearing us and them down. Differing times of retiring to bed also got a little complicated. In addition, that their sister had her own room seemed a little unfair.
Secondly, all five members of our family seemed to be spending most daylight hours together in the main living area: the kitchen, the TV area and the play room. This may sound most cosy and loving and wonderful. But it was doing my head in. There was no escape. There was no rest. Nobody ever seemed to leave and find their own space. And the toys. The toys were everywhere.
Thirdly, we hired a piano to support our daughter’s recent love affair with this instrument. Unfortunately, we had no place to put it. She needed a larger room; the only one big enough was the home office.
I had to make a change. Finally, over this past weekend, I’ve completed it.
Three kids, a bedroom each. Big boy, stays where he is. Little boy, into the smallest room. Middle daughter into large ex-home office, with piano. Toys distributed into bedrooms.
Playroom converted to new home office.
And it’s worked.
Kids actually go to their rooms to play! Toys generally stay out of the living area. Kids can go to bed at age-relevant times, and read with the light on without disturbing others. My new home office is handy to the living area, and I am able to use the built-in cabinetry to file work and personal matters rather than endless photo albums and drawings of fluffy bunnies.
Yes, I sound selfish. But when you work from home in a relatively large family, you have to make it bearable. Otherwise it can do your head in.
[image thanks to janetmck on flickr]