mom cave pic 3Turn Your Home Office Into a Mom Cave. Virginia Woolf wrote that in order to write fiction, a woman needed “ a room of one’s own.”  But isn’t this true of any creative endeavor?  Perhaps you are indeed a writer or an artist.  But you also need a little place to create if you are starting your own business, developing a recipe for a cooking contest, or studying for a degree.  And yes, if you are working on a project that you learned about at See Jane Drill, for instance, let’s say you want to build a floating shelf or put in a new bathroom faucet, chances are you need a little space to be able to focus on what you are learning and doing with no interruptions. 

You also may need a place to relax, to meditate and spend time just with yourself, but for today’s busy woman, that often feels more like a fantasy than something that is within reach.  I saw an article published a few years ago which featured a new idea, the “mom cave”.  It was all about how mom caves were coming into vogue now, and the article included spotlights on various cool mom caves that actual women had been able to create for themselves in their homes.  It was a very exciting idea!  I promptly presented it to my spouse and children as something that I needed.  At the time, we didn’t have room in the home we were living in for a mom cave, or any kind of cave, really. So it truly was wishful thinking on my part.  But what I remember most was the extremely negative response that my proclamation elicited from my family.  NO ONE thought that I should have a mom cave, because that would mean, heaven forbid, that I might be inaccessible for periods of time.  I might miss calls for more juice from my son, for help doing hair from my daughter, to my spouse wanting whatever, and that was just NOT cool to them!  Hmmm.    

On the other hand, the concept of a “man cave” has been generally accepted for years, and continues to be popular.  Just think of all the old sitcoms, such as Roseanne and Married With Children, where Dan Connor and Al Bundy’s only private space was their garage.  There is even a whole TV series now dedicated to man caves!  Generally speaking, this room includes a large-screen TV, comfy couches, and something to keep beer nice and cold while everyone is watching the game.  Usually the room is a converted garage or basement, but sometimes the guy even gets a “real” room in the house for his man-cave.  The concept is so popular that there is even a company out there that sells man cave “kits” for guys to be able to construct a man cave structure in their backyard!      

For us moms, however, and partners and spouses, the only spot currently accepted as “ours” continues to be the kitchen.  And even that is increasingly NOT the case, as almost everyone does cooking duty at least part of the time in the family life of today.  So what is a woman to do to get that “room of her own?”  Well, I will tell you what I did.  I repackaged the idea, so that it represented work, and you can do it too.  Create an office for yourself.  The word “office” signifies “work”, but the work can be flexible. Maybe it is creative work, left-brain work, academic work, hands-on work, or spiritual/emotional work (aka, relaxing)!  The point is, it is unlikely that anyone in the family will really wonder or care whether or not you have an “office”. Because when you are in your office, you are still “working”, rather than “having fun without them.”

For me, my office is the spare bedroom on the lower level of our house, where I work on See Jane Drill.  Because I have installed a very comfortable office chair in the room, it is the place where I also make personal phone calls, read, play games on my computer, and stare out the window from time to time.  It is, in function, my “mom cave.”  But… ssssh….I never call it that, and no one has to know!

Is it foolproof?  Well, no.  I occasionally have to let Zak, my golden retriever, hang out in there with me because he is a people dog and he gets lonely.  And yes, my kids knock on the door a lot with very important questions such as “Do we have more popsicles”?  and “Have you seen my Pokemon card”?  But usually, they eventually wander off and leave me alone when I say that I’m working.  Again, it’s a relative concept!  So, following are a few tips for how to create a home office for yourself in your own home.  Never do without a “room of one’s own”, a.k.a, “mom cave”, again!

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3 Very Loose Rules for Creating a Room of One’s Own

  1.  Make sure you have a very good chair that you are equally comfortable working in and relaxing in.  Buying Tip:  Comfy office chairs can be purchased rather inexpensively from office supply stores online, and many even offer free delivery!  Also,  I don’t advise installing additional seats for others to sit in, because it encourages too much “visiting”, but, that’s up to you!
  2. It doesn’t have to be fussy, and you can do it on a shoestring. And don’t forget the personal touches!  My office includes a small desk, a good light, filing cabinet that does double-duty as a stand for my printer, and a white board on the wall for jotting down ideas.  I also have a small bookshelf which houses my favorite books and my treasured cookbook collection, and I make sure my electronic devices are always at hand to watch TV shows, play games and text my friends.  For small desk ideas, you might want to check out the “Incredible Almost Free Laptop Desk”  video that we created at See Jane Drill.  This project re-purposes an old table into two laptop desks, hence the name “Almost Free”.  If you need shelving, consider installing a floating shelf.  This is another project video from See Jane Drill, called “Build a Floating Shelf” that is easy and goes together in a snap.
  3. Carefully consider the location of your space.  It goes almost without saying that it doesn’t need to be a dedicated whole room.  But if possible, you should select a space that is not in a “high-traffic” area of your home.  I would try to carve out a corner of my bedroom before I would use a corner of the kitchen, for instance.  Get creative!  While I’m not necessarily recommending that you select a bathroom, remember that prolific mystery writer Agatha Christie not only dreamed up many of her plots while lying in the bathtub, but she sometimes even wrote in there!

by Karen DeVenaro, See Jane Drill