By Nicole Blasenak Shapiro
For some people, working from home is a dream come true. But when her husband got the opportunity to do just that, Martha Sanderson, of Palo Alto, California, had a different reaction.
“No f*cking way,” says the stay-at-home mom of three. “Our youngest just started kindergarten, so I’m finally starting to get some of my sanity back. I’ve been at home with my kids for more than 12 years. I love them to pieces, but I’ve had people following me around this house, pawing at me, whining at me, arguing with me, every second for over a decade!
“I finally have some time to myself. I can finally use the bathroom in peace. I mean, I can actually hear myself think, you know? I can’t have my husband hanging around the house all day now. I just can’t,” she shakes her head. “I am not about to trade three little pains in the neck for a big one in his late 40s.”
While she admits the arrangement might have some perks, Martha doesn’t seem to think it’s a good tradeoff.
“I can see how it might be helpful in some ways. Having him here would mean I could get the shopping and errands done without having to rush home to meet the kids off the bus. And we could have lunch together once in a while, sure. But I just don’t think it’s worth it.”
“I thought it would be great,” says Martha’s husband, Tom. “The kids are all in school now, so I figure she must be pretty lonely and bored all day. I thought she’d love to have me at home to keep her company and help out around the house. You know, spend more time together.”
Martha sets her jaw and clenches both fists tightly. “I just know how it will go,” she says. “He’ll putter around the house, commenting on everything I do, pointing out this or that thing that needs doing, offering suggestions on how to do things he knows absolutely nothing about, and then he’ll ‘help’ with a chore and act like he’s just found the goddamn cure for cancer.
“I’ll have to follow behind him and redo everything the right way. It’ll be like having a freaking toddler again. And he’ll be bugging me for sex every damn day,” she sighs.
“This is not how I saw things going once I finally got all the kids in school.” She shakes her head. “No. It’s not happening.”
Recently, Tom’s job search has yielded another opportunity clear across the country. “It’s not really what I want,” Tom shrugs. “But what can you do?”
Martha agrees it’s a big move. “We’ve both lived here our whole lives. All our friends and family are here in Palo Alto. I mean, we’ve built our entire lives here. We really planned to grow old here,” she says.
Instead, the family of five will relocate to a small town more than 3,000 miles away in rural Vermont for Tom’s new job.
“We’ll be leaving everything and everyone we’ve ever known, for a much lower-paying job that Tom doesn’t want, in the middle of nowhere. The schools are terrible, and it’s over an hour to the nearest Costco, but it will be worth it, just to not have him around the house all day,” says Martha.
About the Author
Nicole Shapiro is a freelance writer, wife, and mom to two energetic boys. She worked in publishing for many years, and loves to write, edit, and mentally correct other people’s grammar.