a (new) room with a view

Today is my first day working in my new office.

One of the features of our new house that delighted me was a bright, spacious room for an office on the main floor. I’ve been working from home for years, but tucked away in a corner of the basement guest room. Or squeezed onto a sofa amidst piles of laundry. So the idea of a Real Live Office – with the big writing desk and all my books gathered together and windows that gaze out on green trees and blue sky – is a dream come true.

Of course, the books are still in boxes on the floor, and the writing desk is currently piled with photo albums, and the view out the windows is shrinking daily due to spindly weeds winding their way skyward. But the hope of a room with a view – a room of my own, a room for my work – still quickens my heart.

In the years that I’ve been working from home, juggling parenting and paid work, I’ve learned the importance of claiming a space for myself. No matter how cramped it was, that corner of the guest room was mine. Aside from the occasional spin in the office chair, no kids were allowed. I needed space to read and write and think, separate from my world of mothering.

Looking back now, I understand why my own mother needed her den downstairs, her space apart. As a family grows and spreads to every corner of the house, it’s important for a parent whose days are spent primarily at home to carve out a sanctuary. Whether a corner for crafting, a nook for reading, a desk for the computer or a basement for the treadmill, spaces all our own are essential. I find that my breath slows, my shoulders sink and my whole body relaxes into a room free from toys and chores and to-do lists.

Many wise women have written about the need of a room of one’s own. But for me it has been one of those truths I had to learn by living – that inner life needs outer space to flourish. The deepest work of my heart desires a physical place to call home. It doesn’t need to be grand or glamorous; it simply needs to be set apart.

Ironically, the one feature my office currently lacks is a door. (I’m hoping my handy husband will remedy that by year’s end.) So whenever our sitter is here, I’m still tucked away working in the corner of a bedroom. But even on afternoons like this one, when I only got to steal a few minutes while the babies were napping, time and space away recenters my soul.

A bit of good work gets done here; nothing life-changing, nothing flashy. But bit by bit, I find myself through this work and these words. Mothering’s daily dervish – whirling, twirling, swirling – leaves me exhausted if I don’t pause to ponder. Spending time away from my wee ones, even when it’s under the same roof, is a spiritual practice of parenting I’ve come to cherish.

And this room with a view gives me a fresh perspective – a longer, wider, sometimes sunnier view – on life outside its walls.

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  1. Lauren on 14 June 2012 at 11:21 am

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I don’t have wee ones running around underfoot, but I completely understand the need for space apart, for sacred space in one’s home. My home office (complete with stunning desk, inspiring books, and a cozy chair) had become a catch-all over the years I’ve lived in my apartment. I keep the door closed generally to keep the cat off the desk, and it got really easy to open the door to put bills on the desk, walk back out, and close the door again. And because it was a place where bills collected, discernment materials were left, and books were unorganized, it became a space I didn’t want to be in.

    Until a couple of weeks ago when I decided that my bills don’t belong in that room at all, discernment materials can be filed away, and books can be reorganized. Shelves were dusted. Furniture was moved. Floors were vacuumed. Books were reshelved. Pictures were hung. Knick-knacks were placed.

    It is now my favorite room in my apartment again…a sacred space that has room for the holy. I walk into it and feel calm. It is a place with potential. As I ponder the words I want to start putting to paper, I recognize the blessedness that the space holds. It delights me.

    May your office hold similar delights.

    • mothering spirit on 15 June 2012 at 8:26 am

      “A sacred space that has room for the holy…a place with potential.” YES. I love your story of decluttering. Our minds need that as much as the physical spaces around us, I think. And for me, when clutter piles up, I can’t think clearly around it either. (Which is why living among boxes is currently driving me wonky.) I hope you fill your renewed space with lots of good thoughts and words.

  2. Nell on 13 June 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Go mama! Blessings and great rumination.

  3. Ginny at Random Acts of Momness on 13 June 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Yay for your new room! It’s wonderful that you have a little “retreat house” in your own home. I’m also a believer in a mom’s need to have a physical space that is hers and hers alone (in my case, a desk in my bedroom). Blessings on your new space and all that you think/discover/write in there!

    • mothering spirit on 15 June 2012 at 8:24 am

      What a lovely image of a retreat house inside a house! I remember seeing pictures of your desk on your blog – just beautiful. It’s important to bless the spaces that bless us (and others) in turn, isn’t it?

  4. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn on 13 June 2012 at 4:46 pm

    May every blessing fill your space, as your work blesses all that it will touch!

  5. Cozziscorner on 13 June 2012 at 3:19 pm

    My only current space is my computer in the corner…(cozziscorner) lol….but a space with a view in a quiet room sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

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