Chairman of the Basement

Those who know me are fully aware of my subterranean life. I work in a home office in the basement. I click the mouse, pick the colors and bang the keyboard for way too many hours a day.

It has its advantages. Let’s see, I am not distracted by windows or changes in weather. I can stay focused. There is no real time, I can simulate night or day at my own whim.

There are times when I think, ‘please G-d get me out of here’. But mostly I am happy with the set-up. Sometimes towards the end of a weekend I get a little heady from being above ground too long. Too much daylight and fresh air maybe. I do occasionally worry that this controlled environment makes me, what I like to refer to as a ‘social recluse’. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, I just prefer extended periods of time with my dog during the week.

This could be why I love this blogging thing. I guess you could say that the social recluse branches out without upsetting the agoraphobic apple cart. (there could also be a good chance that I am certifiably insane, but we will talk about my mental health at a later date).

During a conversation with the First Thursdays (you will hear about them soon) about working women, we got on the topic of breaking the glass ceiling. There is no glass ceiling in the basement (rather dangerous, no?) The conversation went around the table about achievements of women, famous and those we know personally. At times like those I sometimes feel a slight regret about where my career could have gone if I did not have a family.

But then I realize that I may not have climbed the ladder and broken that ceiling (which sounds quite painful, actually), but I have created a balance that enabled me to do what I do (whatever that is), make a good living, feel a sense of professional fulfillment and still be, not only the Chairman of the Basement, but also the kind of mom I needed to be to my kids. (And of course if I carry dog biscuits at board meetings I can get the dog to vote my way).

Net of it all for me? I can always turn up the steam and work my butt off, but I can’t get back my little kids. Or my tweens. Or my teenagers (yes, I happen to love having teenagers. perhaps because they get my sophomoric humor best). 

Don’t get me wrong, I do not preach that women cannot have it all. They can. AND SHOULD. It just needs to be the all that THEY choose. Hey, some of best friends carry the windex up there! (a glass ceiling should always be clean).

I will end this ramble with a plea to all women (and men for that matter). Can we stop being our own worst enemies. Working moms criticizing stay-at-homes for giving up their lives; stay-at-homes criticizing working for not being there enough.

Everyone has their own ride. Let’s support each other for our choices and be cool about it. 

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Filed under humor, parenting, women, work, work habits

23 responses to “Chairman of the Basement

  1. Pingback: Chairman of the Basement

  2. Riki

    Wow…I made time to cry on this one and I think the most important thing you said was it has to be our own ride and we need to embrace and support the choices we made and those paths that others have taken. Being a chairman of my own basement, I so related to all of those things, careers that could have gone in a different direction but way more importantly having kids that I am so freaking proud of and I guess proud of the role I played in helping them develop. There you go again…had to make more time to cry.

  3. go rik!! yes, folks, riki is my basement compadre (and she has 2 dogs to influence). oh, and of course i am crying (but it is a rather slow morning and i had the time)

  4. Here, Here! Often, men are considered heros for taking part in both a career and the home, but women are expected to do both, regardless of whether it suits their personality or not. I needed to be at work full time when my son was younger (and was lucky enough to have wonderful child care) but changed to a less demanding career as he got older and needed more from me. (I know, most women wait for their kids to get older and then go to work. I did it the other way around.) Now I have a flexible, less-stress job that allows me to be what I want and what my family needs.

  5. as my friend cathy once said, “when a dad leaves the office for the class play he is a great parent. when a mom does, she needs to get her priorities straight”. hopefully that is changing. post 9/11, gas prices, family leave and cyber-connections are making flex schedules more viable.

  6. jflorin

    Ooh, one of my favorite topics. Chairman of the basement, chairman of the board, or possibly, chairman of the tennis team? Personally, I prefer chairman of the tennis team. Choosing your own ride is a beautiful thing. I think we need to be who we are, and do what we want to do or need to do, and anyone that chooses to judge us can go f___k them selves. (And there you have it!)

  7. Linda Levinger

    Being a neighborhood mom who hears both sides, Thank you Amy. You hit it right on the head. We all need to do what makes us happy. We cannot judge, because, if we honestly do, I really believe, that at different moments of each of our lives, no matter who we are, we all envy the person who does the opposite of what we do.
    When I did not work I wanted to so I could carry on an interesting conversation. Now that I never stop working, I think about just not having anything on my mind.
    No ones life is perfect, but we all must do what we need to try and make our life the most perfect for ourselves.
    We also must stick together and respect each persons decision, as long as they are enjoying their life
    Be happy, and lets respect each other. Love you Amy

  8. Katie

    Hi honey! So this is what it has come to?….one blogalicous to another. Okay…if I need to catch up with you this way than so be it. There is no better friend than the one who NEVER makes you feel guilty for not calling and checking in (hi to you too Joanne!). We’ve become so wrapped up in our worlds (what else is new).
    And there is no better friend than you who has lived a different life than I, filled with the added stresses of a career and home (and parent caretakers) and me who thought I was lucky enough to quit that corporate life to raise my kids 17 years ago?!!! I always wonder how life would have been had I continued to work. One thing I know, the mutual respect we have for each other is a gift considering we live in a world where people judge others only to justify their own self deception. Hmmm….I’m reading a book called Leadership and Self Deception..getting out of the box. That’s my latest goal….to get out of the box!
    So…I miss you and hope that you will come visit us in fire this summer. Thanks for sharing your gift with words with all of us! I look forward to future blogoskies!
    Love you….Katie

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