The Desk Dilemma

by Tammy Harrison

For him? For her? For them?

I have outgrown my present desk. Well, I personally haven't outgrown it, but my "stuff" has....too many files from three home-based businesses, prizes for the HBWM Prize Giveaway, a huge monitor made for my near-blind eyes and, of course, Blue's Clues, Whimzy and all of the other educational software that must be within a three footer's field of vision.

So, the dad person and I have been discussing how to improve upon our current office design while still maintaining functionality, separation between the office and the living room and (of course) play room for the little ones.

We are not in agreement. In fact, we are far from it! He wants to buy three or four two-drawer filing cabinets and put a prefabricated kitchen countertop on top of them and call it a desk. Do you think this is because of his chauvinistic desires to keep me in the kitchen all of the time?

I want something that matches our decor--we live in a log house so something made out of wood would be nice! I want a corner desk, not a desk turned cattywhompus into the corner. I want shelves and cabinets and file drawers in the shape of a "U" so that I can use the computer to my left and have the kids situated to my right on the other side of the counter while they do "homework". Do you know how much time this would save me from getting up and down and moving across the room and back to show them how to form the letters in the alphabet? Again, I'm thinking he is subconsciously trying to tell me to get off of my behind.

Our office really is in an alcove of our living room. I do not adhere to the expert's opinions that if you want to work from home you should have a separate area that can be closed off from the family. I choose to keep my kids close to me, enjoying every little bit of their day while working around their antics, arguments and activities. I keep one ear on the television when it is on so that I may answer questions about the programs, filter the shows and learn all of those repetitive songs so that we may sing them during my shower when an audience shows up (if you don't sing songs, you have to discuss body parts). And, right now, the office ain't a pretty sight! My filing cabinet, his filing cabinet, the file drawers for the kids--a sight to behold.

And bookshelves...I need bookshelves. His answer? Get some two-by-sixes and brackets and line the walls above the window trim. Can you imagine the time I would waste every day trying to reach a book that would require a step ladder to safely retrieve? Knowing me, I would just hop on my office chair and end up with a broken tail bone because it's really fun to twirl the chair when mom is in it!

Home-based working moms know what it takes to make an office work; because in reality, it is a place to congregate during frenzied deadlines and a place to scream really loud when the phone rings. It is a place to play games on the computer and a place to sneak candy from mom's stash. It is also the place that I can look at the reflection on my monitor to see which little girl is jumping off of the arm of the couch to the pillow rock in the middle of the floor and up onto safety on the deserted Lazy Boy island! By the time I realize that my chair is anchored in shark infested waters and my only hope for freedom is the hi-ya karate kid, it is too late to render punishment--I have become enthralled with the imaginations and play of my youngsters and cannot be an effective disciplinarian while snickering through clenched teeth.

I think I just realized why we cannot come to an agreement. He thinks that the office is a place to WORK! HA! Whatever in the world gave him that idea?

About the Author:
Tammy Harrison is the epitome of a home-based working mom with three kids ages four and under. You can find her at Home Based Working Moms ( as their Independent Creative Representative and at  Subscribe for free to HBWM eNews at 
Copyright ©2000, Tammy Harrison, Reprinted with permission.