The overrated home office

Work from home. Sound like a dream?

Think again.

I have been fortunate to settle in a career that gives me professional fulfillment, makes me feel I am doing something worthwhile, and offers arrangements that could be the envy of many working single mothers out there.

At my newspaper, I am not required to put in eight hours of work every day.  On the average, I work anywhere between one and four hours depending on what day it is.

Those short hours, however, could well be eight hours compressed if we go by the level of concentration required.  I edit columns and three days a week write my newspaper's editorial. I do this seven days a week including holidays (except Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday).

Needless to say, I love my job, and even more so that I have the option to not work in the office -- so long as I put my pages to bed at the time required.

(I don't count here the hours I spend outside talking to people and writing about them in my own column. That's not work -- that'

This arrangement was a big help when I was studying, and also during stormy weather, or when I am needed at home by the kids, when I am sick, or when I just want to chill.

That I save precious, precious time on travel means a lot.  That I can work from home, and multi-task (not uncommon to fine me cooking dinner while working) is also a great privilege, one I hope I will never squander. My kids enjoy the time with me and we are able to enjoy more stories, more laughs.

I have also set up a mini-home office in my room -- a desk with small shelves on either side and a corkboard to remind me of all the things I need to get done. Above the boards are my diplomas -- proof of my hard work and achievement despite setbacks.

It's not always easy, though.

Perhaps because it's summer and I'm feeling cramped. The kids are on vacation and since we are a close knit bunch, we sleep in the same room anyway despite the fact that I'm renting a three-bedroom townhouse.

I have installed an imaginary wall -- a piece of masking tape -- to remind everybody that this was my private work space. Of course, the wall gets demolished every time. Everybody wants a piece of Mommy.

They put stuff on my table, sit on my chair and borrow my phone or computer. As a result, i don't get any decent work done until they're all dozing. This is why I still have zits at the age of 37 and am often dizzy.

Today all that changed.

I found a coffee shop that offers free wifi and has great tables that make you think you're really working in an office. There are plenty of sockets so you don't run out of power. Because you have to shell out extra cash to buy coffee, you make sure you get real work done. A lot of work.

This is good for me because aside from the newspaper, i juggle many other...ugh...commitments.

It's a long ride home, but at least you're in an airconditioned bus, relatively safe, and it's really just a single ride.

All this, so when I get home, then I'm really home. One hundred and ten percent.