Glass Ceilings (by )

Or why I can no longer work from home now Al is in an office.

Alaric has gone out of his way to help with my course taking Thursdays off work and working through his lunch brake on Fridays so I can attend lectures and has helped with the writing and craft stuff giving up weekend days to take me to events etc... but this morning he subjected me to the glass ceiling and wasn't even really aware he had done it. It happens quiet a lot and normally it doesn't matter that much as I am only trying to get a few of my own blog posts done or making stuff but today was the day I had set aside for my college coursework and business admin - just like Friday was.

It didn't happen on Friday as he ended up going into London so Mary couldn't go to nursery. I can write fiction and draw/knit a bit with the baby about but for anything I need to immerse myself in, it just doesn't work - she needs me too much - so that is course work or articles out of the question. On top of that I have been struggling not to feel like I need to sort the house out before I start work on the Mondays etc... I went back to college and that is a strain on both of us so house work (which we both do) has fallen behind.

His suggestion was to move up to the attic to work so after he left this morning I spent a while sorting things out so I could work upstairs. I've been finding I can work when I am in Bristol as I am away from the home and everything that needs doing - this wasn't an issue when Al was working from home as we were both there and me, him and Jeany would all be sitting there working together and taking breaks etc... Now it's just me.

I sat down and did half an hour of work - after a frantic morning of getting up early (after a night of no sleep due to Al having insomnia and keeping me awake), to get Mary to nursery before the school run instead of after it and taking the kitten for her shots after the school run. I was feeling really positive and happy about it all as I'd spent a while this morning answering Jeany's questions on mammal evolution which included the extinction of the dinosaurs and plate techtonics.

So when I heard Al bring the kitten home from the vets I rushed down stairs to give him a hug, and then I heard... Mary. He'd gotten stuck in traffic so was grumpy his getting up early had been in vein, He'd suggested yesterday that Mary stay at the house until lunch time so he didn't have to get up early and I'd explained I have deadlines and I needed the morning to work - I made sure Jean had clean uniform (which as the washing machine has been broken for the past two weeks involved me handwashing the stuff in the bath). I was sympathetic and assumed he'd be taking her in just a bit late. But no he was leaving her at home. The glass ceiling whacked me in the face, I threw over the bin and threw open a door with enough force to put the door handle through the plaster board. I cried and cried and wouldn't let him come near me.

He'd lowered the glass ceiling, not because he is a sexist pig because he isn't - but because he works in an office and I am working at home. If I had been in Bristol sitting in the library working then he wouldn't have been able to do that - it would not have been a solution to his problem ie he was now running late for work. He'd asked me what else he could of done - he'd tried his best which in truth he had - I know his finding things very stressful at the moment. But if I'd not been at home then bringing the baby back to me would not have been doable - he would have a) not made the vet appointment for one of the two busy weekday mornings in the first place (he had tried to get me to walk the kitten to the vet in the pushchair but I'd pointed out that this was my day for doing college work - I was AT WORK, I get two days - no make that mornings a week to get stuff done), and/or b) he would have taken Mary to nursery anyway and been late.

Al left hurt and angry as I really could not communicate what he had done, I was too hurt and angry myself. And of course I hurt my hand in the door slamming as it rebounded on me :/ This was exactly the sort of issue I hoped to avoid this time - I'm extra peeved as I am paying for nursery time that is now not being used so Mary is loosing out too 🙁 Of course Alaric gave me part of the money being used for that in the first place.

So basically I can't work from home is my conclusion, Friday I will hopefully be going into college to work instead. I say hopefully because of course the thing is that Al getting to work is very important, he earns the money that pays the mortgage and most of the bills, anything I earn is the extra and so sick children who can't go to school or nursery end up at home with me. And do you know the really sad tragic thing about all of this?

Al would love to be at home looking after the kids and tinkering with his projects.


  • By Alaric Snell-Pym, Mon 9th Dec 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    I know I could have "just" been late for work, but I was late for work anyway - I'm three quarters of an hour late every Monday and Friday with the normal nursery run. I'm normally only a quarter of an hour late Tuesday to Thursday, and I leave an hour early on Tuesdays, and I very rarely get a chance to catch up on the time I miss at evenings or weekends, so I already feel guilty about the fact that I work less hours than I'm supposed to, and I live in fear of somebody noticing and objecting to it. 🙁

    The last time I'd tried to fit in a nursery run before school it went wrong due to traffic, too. That time it was only on the way back that I got stuck, so we ended up with kids late to school and me running late. The problem is, my daily routine is already so jam-packed with very little contingency time for anything going wrong, that anything extra (like an appointment) becomes a vortex of horrible stress, and the slightest thing going wrong means it all starts to fall apart!

    I shouldn't have accepted an appointment on a Monday or Friday, of course, to avoid the conflict with the nursery run, but I didn't think of that at the time. That's the real way to fix this particular problem!

  • By sarah, Mon 9th Dec 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    I didn't mean 'just' late for work obviously but if we were both working outside of the house then I wouldn't have been here to drop her of to and that is the problem - I am at home so it is the obvious solution, the quick fix etc... you were tired and ill anyway but if I'm going to do this the college and career thing work days have to be sacred if she'd been ill I wouldn't have been so angry as one of us would have had to look after her and being the lower earner it makes sense for that person to be me (which in a glass ceiling in itself). Working from home worked when you were working from home, now your not - it doesn't - not really.

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