Not too long ago, I attended a concert in DUMBO with some friends from college, one of whom I hadn’t seen since he moved to Westchester. We were catching up over beers when I explained the whole stay-at-home family experiment, which my wife and I had maintained for over a year, and his jaw dropped. Then he responded, “Wow. And you’re still married?”
I wrote that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and that’s mostly true. But it’s also a load of crap. For as fun as our home life usually is, all this working in our home office (a scant 7 feet from our living/dining area) causes a lot of wear-and-tear. You’d think a couple like us—who met, became friends, flirted, and fell in love while working together—would be unnaturally adept at dealing with the perils of constant contact. Well, that was when we 1) both worked for someone else and 2) had a lot more “alone time.” Now, one of us (usually her) usually outsources stuff to the other (usually me), which means one of us is the boss of the other, and hoo-boy is that a bad idea. Like Hitler-invades-Russia bad. Each of us is a better teacher than a learner, so we have lots of conversations like this:
One: "See, you’re supposed to—"
The other: "I know, I know, I was just thinking that—"
One: "I know what you were thinking, but you should still—"
The other: "I KNOW! I KNOW!"
The effect is rubbing off. Robert and I had a catch the other day, and when I braced for one of his fastballs by holding my hands opposite each other, wrists together, he said, “That's not how you do it, Daddy.” Then he pulled my pinkies together, and shoved my palms upward. If I’m doomed to be bossed around by everyone in the family, I figure I’m getting out into the workforce in the nick of time.