After posting a story last night lamenting a certain work-from-home-with-my-husband situation, I got this response from a follower:
And then I proceeded to get like 60 messages all with people agreeing/ sharing their own stories of WFH hell with their spouses or roommates (they are not an exception!), which had me rolling.
Let’s back up here. Andrew normally not only works from his office, but travels a lot. Cut to the quarantine, and there is no travel and he and I are sharing my open-concept office during work hours (we are super, duper lucky to have a nanny who still comes everyday, lives alone and is taking this VERY seriously) and the change of scenery from the house to my office is sanity saving in some ways. But let me say, in the last 2-3 weeks, it has been EYE OPENING what Andrew’s co-workers have to deal with on a daily basis. I mean, I had a clue, I’ve been with him for 15 years- but I really thought he liked to just annoy ME because I have a short fuse for repetitive Dad jokes/ his cringe-worthy mob boss impressions and music playlists. Turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Things I’ve witnessed while working with Andrew:
So yeah- it’s been interesting. Did I mention I’m also 31 weeks pregnant and chock full of hormones and can’t drink wine? Yeah. And then we get to go home for MORE TOGETHER TIME while he sips a nice bourbon and I glare at him with rage! There really is something to that whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” saying, isn’t there? There ARE benefits to Andrew being in my office- he is unwaveringly positive, even during salary cuts and layoffs, which is way better than a fellow doom-and-gloomer like me. He does wash my coffee cups and vacuumed once, so that is a nice bonus! And I was really proud when he called out to a colleague on Zoom “Dude, you gotta paint those cabinets white! It’ll make such a difference!” But guys, it’s HARD. We are ALL struggling as we discover what annoying weirdos our spouses, roommates and partners can be during work hours! So as that one follower asked, followed by many more, here are my tips to not annihilating them during this never-ending quarantine:
I don’t own these (pretty Beats by Dre pair), and I think I need to. Just being able to block out the sounds of a conference calls littered with business-dude jargon and ill-timed jokes would probably take things down a notch or twelve.
This one I did download. Mantras to keep you from going all homicidal.
Hidden in your own secret drawer where you don’t have to share, especially after they say “nah, I don’t want any”, and then eat the whole bag.
There are little desktop ones you can use, or even these great personal sticks you can sniff throughout the day. Or you can take a shot of vodka, personal choice.
Take a minute and lie down and put on an eye mask to block out the horror that is watching you partner on video conferences/ workouts.
When you feel overwhelmed and need a hug, but can’t hug a stranger and are feeling stabby at your significant other, wrap yourself in one of these weighted anxiety blankets. Go for the full 20 lbs. It’ll hold you down, if nothing else.
When the work day is over, try to give each other at least 30 minutes of alone time while the other watches the kids (or just leaves you alone with the door shut). Be it to do yoga, watch a quick show while doing a face mask, nap, read or maybe just sob in the shower.
So, share your tips on how you stay sane… or just vent your annoyances! It’s a safe space here…you’re in the trust tree. :) We gotta laugh about this or we’ll cry.
[…] shifts of keeping the kids out of the way to give the other partner some space to unwind a little. (A great tip from the queen of momming fabulously, Erin Gates of Elements of Style.) Or if your kids are older challenge everyone to go to their rooms for some “Me” […]
[…] read a blog post this week about how not to murder your significant other during quarantine. It’s as funny as you might […]
Have you (or anyone?) actually used one of the weighted blankets? I’m tempted, but just don’t know.
Thank you. I have not laughed so much all week :D
With me and my husband, here is my list of gripes: 1. he is SO loud on his conference calls and he always puts them on speakerphone so I hear everyone (the only time I do this is when I need my hands free to be working on a document–he does it EVERY call),2. he is at our breakfast nook so the conference calls happen to occur every time I want to get something out of the fridge (in which case he gives me a dirty look and says, “shh, I’m starting a conference call.”), 3. he keeps coming into the office where I’m working and asking me if I want the fan on, like 4 times a day (if I want it on, I’ll turn it on, my answer hasn’t changed since last time.), 4. any time I make something to eat, he asks if I made one for him (I usually do though), 5. he sighs SO LOUDLY so many times a day, 6. he makes this weird disconcerting noise when he catches something wrong on his spreadsheet (it’s like a muffled “oop!”), and 7. he will burst into the office at my peak busy time and tell me about some random article, some covid fact or something one of our neighbors is doing outside (or he will just ask for sex).
I simply cannot take it. I overheard my husband telling a friend how he is helping out with our 7 year old. I almost swallowed my tongue—sure if helping out means walking through the dining room once a day and observing me me on a conference call on mute, typing on my computer and trying to help said 7 year old with math. And where is his destination……usually a nap!
Omg! This is the best post ever!!!!!!!!
This is awesome! Best purchase I made on day 1 of quarantine was an extra Eero device to ensure that the WiFi in our carriage house was robust enough that hubby could do his work out there. Saving grace! Funny how I don’t mind having my teens home all day but husband is another matter…
The GREY headphones are $150 off today = $199.
I can not stop laughing about this:
he spends 90% of his 8 hours day on conference calls, talking loudly and making horrible jokes (and then laughing at them and giving me the thumbs up). He also likes to pace the room during these calls.
This is a sneak peak at what retirement is. God Bless.
I never thought about this as a Retirement Test Run :|
Oh my gawd, this has me rolling…Thank you for the humor! The hubs has been discharged to the basement for the foreseeable future.
First: “stabby” made me laugh and snort a little
Second: Has your husband been tested for ADHD?
ADHDer who’s a touch stir crazy
HA! He IS 100% diagnosed with AHDH and is on meds for it…. which ran out 6 days ago and YIKES.
Thank you so much for this post! Really made my day I couldn’t stop laughing when I read this!
Absolutely hysterical!! Stay safe, and keep loving and laughing!
This really made my day! Thank you for sharing!!!!
OMG thanks for the laughs. ” He also refers to Coronavirus as “a case of the ‘rona”.’ Had me doubled over. Sorry Andrew!
I am so with you, sister. I’ve been married 35 years to a great guy but the whole what’s for dinner bit is being a little tense lately.
Love this post! And definitely second the notion of a follow up from Andrew.
The pacing drives me nuts! Also, my husband says “10-4” like he is a truck driver… but he’s not, he is an industrial engineer 🤷♀️
Best blog post I’ve ever read. Really made me laugh! THANK YOU!
Not to bring you down I totally get it and I’m sure it’s no fun but some of us are widows and I wish I had my husband to be quarantined with. Just some perspective.
Hi Bill – First off, so very sorry for your loss. I hope it is obvious that Erin, me and all that have commented are not serious. And actually it is a sign of affection. And saying it in this way can be therapeutic. This time in the world must be extra hard for those who have lost loved ones. Speaking for Erin and everyone on here, we wish you and anyone else who has lost someone close to them, the best.
My husband and I have been retired for almost six years……so being quarantined is retired times 10. Almost everyday starts off with “so what are we thinking of having for dinner?” Oh and when he says we, that always means me. He is obsessed with meals…….I personally could wing it most of the time. I have never been directed, advised, instructed, etc. as much as I have been in the past six years……it’s a wonder. But you gotta love em.
Oh my gosh! Yes!!!! What are we having for dinner? Both my kids and husband ask this all the time. I always respond “I don’t know…what are YOU making?” That quiets them down real quick!
This is hilarious Erin!!! Even my husband was laughing at your comments.
My husband always asks what we are having for dinner so he can decide whether to have beer or wine, but sometimes I find the question a little irritating. His dad owned a restaurant and yet my husband never cooks!! When my daughter was in her teen years she would also ask me what was for dinner…my answer would give her an idea of how many dishes there would be to dry!
Erin, perhaps the title of your post should be “how to hide the body”…I’m old, been married 56 years…sent my husband to the barn! Long story, but not necessarily wfh related…just recuperating for 8 months at home on the sofa from hip replacement! If you can find it, there is a hilarious post on FB from Chris Enss. I’m laughing just thinking about it. If you can’t find it easily, you may friend me and check it out…I don’t mind. Thinking about you, your family, and that sweet new addition. Peace and blessings.
An hour long bitch session with a paid professional listener, a she shed, and a busy hobby while wearing headphones.
“Case of the Rona” !!!!! I’m laughing out loud. Of course it would turn to eye rolling after the 5th time hearing it! Thanks for your humorous yet real post.
I take a 30 minute nap after work to rejuvenate – we have 3 people working from home right now 😐
People keep saying “there are going to be a lot of babies or divorces coming out of quarantine.” I personally can not imagine either… although i did tell my husband to F-off today for the first time in 12 years!
OMG Lawton and I read this crying with laughter. Case of the ‘rona. Hilarious. Have you seen that hilarious tweet from that guy who said “My wife and I have a new game we play. It’s called: Why are you doing it like that? And there are no winners.” That’s our quarantine in a nutshell. Miss you and sending big love.
This is so great and crying out for a sequel from Andrew’s POV. Stay safe and healthy.
YES!! An Andrew POV post would be excellent!! We are going crazy here too! My husband watches the news and press briefing EVERY. DAY!! Enough already, I need time to decompress. Also trying to work from home and home school a 2nd and 5th grader who have a lot of schoolwork is really like a lose lose situation. I’m doing a crap job at both now! Have to look on the bright side though, at least we are safe at home.
This is sooo funny! Thanks!! I’ve known my husband for 40 years/married 35. He has always traveled for work. I’ve never seen him and or have heard his voice this much, ever!! OMG, he wears his PLAID pajama bottom pants with a different flannel PLAID shirt on…all day long…EVERY SINGLE DAY!! He is a circle/pacing test pattern!!! I’m dizzy!! Day? in lockdown…San Francisco Bay Area.
I am peeing my pants laughing!
You’re all incredibly lucky to have someone in your lives who loves you. I’d give my left arm to have someone in my life.
This quarantine is especially hard on people who are alone. I am so sorry you are in that situation.
These are hilarious. My husband is in the service industry, and has been furloughed for weeks… across town in his own apartment, because he is abusive, and I left last winter. Every day since has been like glorious self-care land. Quarantine is still 1000 times better than being together (I’m very mindful of my many privileges). I’m thankful to be busier than ever during the lock down (architecture), and I’m thankful I got safe before the lock down. Many others in abusive situations are in a lot of danger right now.
Ok, funny story. I have two kids, girl 3 and boy 5. One day last week they would NOT stop fighting. I was trying to mediate, and they wouldn’t even acknowledge that I was speaking. I finally got sick of it, went in my room, locked the door, and laid down to read for 3 minutes. I have never done this before, so it immediately got their attention. They rigged up a contraption to spy on me. They stuck a dress-up mirror halfway under the door, and then used a toddler camera as a viewer from their side. I heard 5 say “I see her! She’s laying on the bed.” I was convulsing with laughter. So yeah, those are my quarantine coworkers.
THIS is exactly the kind of EOS post I misssssssssss, please God more of this.
Home with 4 kids and my husband. He takes 15 breaks a day to “snack” and totally disrupts whatever attempt at routine or home schooling we have going on by riling them up. If I legit have any moment of solo time (post-lunch quiet time is enforced daily for mom sanity), he invariably finds me “to chat.” NO. I was sick for 5 days and quarantined in my room in case I was contagious and it was the most glorious vacation of my life thus far. #extremeintrovert
Best post plus your commentary on this topic is amazing. Horrified/totally complimented I made your “quotes” 😂 but my husband not traveling and ALWAYS in my office is intense.
I thought we were in the clear but then he referenced “no one can hear since the building is now empty” today.
Loved this so much! Thanks for the comic relief and great ideas
I’m so glad I have my own office downstairs and my husband can work downstairs. During the day we pretty much only see each other when I come downstairs to heat up my lunch.
And I mean my office is upstairs. I can’t concentrate today.
Hahaha! So funny!
Now we need to hear your husband’s side ;)
That would be hysterical.
Add 3 kids to the mix and $#!+ gets extra real nevermind HOMESCHOOLING. Restraining my tongue is the hardest. Part.
This post is everything!
My husband and I work for the same company, not together. We both travel a lot for work. I adore and value alone time.
Yesterday, a coworker asked if I killed the husband yet. I told him it’s been close. Check in weekly.
Love, Love,Love this post. Made me laugh and think I was not so crazy/alone. I’m wondering what our spouses are saying about us!
My husband and I both work remotely for our (separate) employers for the last 5 years. Here are my two tips. If you can, work on different levels. My office is on the main level of our home, his is in the basement. Don’t ever talk about work to each other. I don’t care what your co-worker did or said, how crappy the software is, etc.
The week before this pandemic went down my boyfriend and I both got a pair of noise cancelling air pod pros and thank god because he can do his meetings while I literally do a yoga video four feet away from him in our tiny apartment. It’s like he’s not there :) truly don’t know what I would do without those in these times
This post made my day- and it’s only morning. Here’s my vent about things I learned , and we’re married close to 30 years. My husband types VERY LOUDLY- literally pounds his keyboard ALL DAY. He also loves to watch every new report at a high volume too, so we can all hear about the misery. And don’t get me started about deliveries. His idea of helping put stuff away is to take the groceries etc. out of bags and put it on the kitchen island and then go back to his loud typing. Our empty nest is now all back, so for my sanity….my peloton (bought one when they first came out), my dog (never does anything wrong:, ,my long daily walks, and Schitt’s Creek for laughs.
This is me, minus the Pelaton, but with the dog with seasonal allergies and occasional regurgitation. Except last night, when Schitt’s Creek was all tears (series finale :-(). Going to miss it so much!
LOL on the dog & occasional regurgitation for eating too much grass. Somehow this doesn’t bother me….
OMG…Erin…I love your design posts, but this may be your best post ever…I work with a guy at the office exactly how you described…EVERY DAY…I am not missing him now that I am working from home ALONE…best wishes to you and your sanity…
Is it my husband??? LOL
And now I know why my mom almost killed my dad when he retired….it’s twice the husband, half the income…just sayin…
That’s an amazing line! Also, terrifying
omg, this! Mentally bookmarking that phrase
Ha!!! So true!!!
Hi Erin! I just came across and listened to a podcast you did a few years ago with Ballard designs. It was so good and informative! have you been on any other podcasts? I would love if you would share so I have something to listen to :)
That wad a great post 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
OMG! YESSSSS Best thing I have seen and heard in 3 weeks. My husband reintroduces himself on 4 person conference calls every time he speaks!?@# HEAD EXPLODING. As if they don’t know??? Also, the pistachios here??? Who knew how dusty they were? And he leaves them in a mug. Lots of expressions like: I’ll circle back with you? Give me a shout and ROGER that! Hit me up! LOVES his own voice and SOOOOO loud. I legit ordered the apple air pods. SO ugly but the noice canceling may just save our relationship! Except that he is snacking every 3 minutes.
I CAN’T DO THIS!!
Are we married to the same person?!!!
Hysterical! I am laughing out-loud — probably annoying my working-from-home husband!!!
Erin, that was a VERY funny post. And i don’t think anything is funny right about now! Thanks for the laugh. Ellen
I laughed out loud. And my kids nodded In agreement with every annoying husband habit you mentioned.
I laughed out loud throughout. Here I thought you had the perfect life. Well… maybe you do! So funny.
This is funny because it is so true! We are both working from home sitting about 4 feet apart. Doing EVERYTHING together!!!! So we have made up an imaginary coworker to passive aggressively blame things on….meet Mackenzie! Him: Did you see Mackenzie today? I think she had too much wine last night and is in a bad mood today! Me: No I didnt seem her but I did see her lunch dishes on the counter and not in the dishwasher! Again. Another example: Do you think her headphones are broken or are conference calls on speak a choice? Feel free to use this. It cracks us up every time and help diffuse a lot. Godspeed.
Lol–Mackenzie is the WORST
She IS! She woke up in a super bad mood today and has decided to learn how to do the laundry! I am assuming not to be helpful but to put me over the edge! Please no! I hide in laundry room acting busy just to be alone….. Ping me later and we can circle back to the laundry lesson! :)
You two are so cute! Keep the humor going.
How is your day going? You seem a little stressed. Have you thought about meditation?
My husband is considered an essential worker. I don’t wish my daily stress levels on anyone.
Bwah ha ha. Thank you BOTH for this dose of humor today!
I HATE YOU
Dis is THE BEST!
OMG, I cannot stop laughing. 😂