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My Husband's Quick Commute

Original post made by Jennifer Fogliani, Whisman Station, on Aug 21, 2011

"5 more minutes and it's dinner time," I called to Josie and Owen as they ran around the grassy lawn in front of our townhome.

"But daddy's not home yet," Josie said stopping dead in her crocs.

"Daddy's not going to be home until after dinner," I said.

"He can't do that AGAIN!" Josie yelled as she stomped her left croc into the grass and crossed her arms in front of her pink polka dot hoodie.

Normally, I would have chastised her for acting her bratty antics. But I let it slide. My husband was in a training class and was working past 7:00 pm every night this week. Her annoyed reaction actually made me smile because it meant she had completely forgotten about the days when we lived in Morgan Hill and daddy getting home by 7:00 pm was considered early.

There are a lot of things I love about living in Mountain View. But even if Mountain View didn't have so much to offer my family, I would still happily call it home – because anywhere that is 6 miles from my husband's work is a great place to call home.

For 5 years, my husband commuted from Morgan Hill to the Silicon Valley. For the last 3, I was at home with two toddlers. And as much as I complained about wanting him home earlier so I could get some help with dinner and bath, my husband was the one who suffered the most. He left early and came home late - to a wife who was ready to pull her hair out and two children who were ready for bed.

I am not sure if every parent who lives in Mountain View and commutes to near-by offices appreciates just how lucky they are. We struggle at times with the cost of living, the congestion on El Camino, and the back-up on 101 when there is a concert at Shoreline. But when bad traffic adds another 10 or 15 minutes to your commute – for most people - that's considered a good day.

My daughter's reaction to her dad missing dinner for the second night in a row reminded me of another reason why I love this city and the opportunities it offers my family – most of all the opportunity to spend more time together.

"Daddy's home!" Josie and Owen screamed as they scrambled down the stairs and straight into their father's arms. I followed closely behind,looking exhausted and drenched from giving the kids their bath.

"You already got your bath," my husband asked with a frown on his face. He looked up at me like I had just cancelled Christmas. He looked forward to bath time - that was his thing. 'You can have it,' I thought pushing up my soaked sleeves.

I can't wait until our routine returns to normal next week, so I can enjoy some quiet time while my husband gives the kids their bath. I guess maybe we are all a little spoiled and thoroughly enjoying the benefits of my husband's quick commute.

Comments (16)

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Posted by Deborah
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Wow, I don't know anyone in Silicon Valley who can afford to live in Mountain View who gets home by either 5, 7 or even 9 most evenings, particularly not in this economy. Must be nice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Fogliani
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm

@ Deborah

The point of my story was less about whether my husband works long enough hours but rather that whenever he is done working, he doesn't have to spend hours in the car driving home.

He goes into work very early - his company is based in Europe - and makes it a priority to get work done in time to be home for dinner - even if it means powering up his laptop after the kids are in bed and jumping on conference calls to Europe or Asia at 11 pm.

We also make sacrifices to live in this area - like living in a townhome, never going on vacations and driving the same cars for 10 years - we do it because being close to his work and living in an area we love is a priority for us.

That's how we make it work for our family - and yes, it is very nice.


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Posted by Ernie
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm

WOW! I live in a townhome, never go on vacations and have been driving the same car for 10 years! I didn't realize I was making a sacrifice!


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Posted by Jennifer Fogliani
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm

@ Ernie

The sacrifice was in reference to living in Morgan Hill where we could have had more disposable income but been further from my husband's work.

I am happy to hear that everything you have is exactly how you want it and that you are able to appreciate it all.


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Posted by Elaine
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

"And as much as I complained about wanting him home earlier so I could get some help with dinner and bath."

I'm of the mindset that stay-at-home moms shouldn't expect their working husbands to contribute to anything during the work week. I'm also floored when my friends suggest that my husband should help out more with shopping, cooking and cleaning as if he doesn't already have enough to do with a stressful full-time job.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martha
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm

@Jennifer: I enjoyed your article, I always do. Well-written, and I understood the point you were trying to make.
Just thought that might be nice to hear ;)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jennifer Fogliani
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

@Martha

Thank you so much for sharing that you enjoyed the article and understood my point. It definitely is nice to hear and much appreciated :).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacy Sinclair
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 23, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Jennifer,

Completely understand where you're coming from. We just moved to Mountain View (like you, whisman station) from Canada for my husband's work. We had our heart set on somewhere in East Bay, but I have a one year old and a two year old, so the idea of my husband commuting an hour each way and arriving after the kids bedtime was too much. Yes, the cost of living is pretty high here, but I'm finding a lot to love. Just out of curiosity, are you a stay-at-home mom, or do you work?


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Posted by Jennifer Fogliani
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

@Stacy

I am glad you can relate. I am a stay at home mom - I have an almost 3 and 4 year old so I know what you are going through! It gets easier each day and having your husband close by is a huge plus, especially if the rest of your family is far (like mine). Good luck settling in!


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Posted by DCS
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 24, 2011 at 8:40 am

It's a hard life for sure here in the Bay Area. Our condo is too small and too expensive, we can barely afford to replace our 11 year old car that won't fit two car seats, and both my husband and myself have to work to make ends meet. We are both engineers with about 10 years of experience and advanced degrees. I thought if you worked hard, made smart decisions, and took care of yourself you would be able to buy and live in a house. Not here in the Bay Area! I remind my husband every now and then that we should move out of here as soon as the opportunity presents iteself.


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Posted by MVMom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Deborah, Ernie, and Elaine,

Although you have a right to comment on anything written in the Voice, I fail to see how your indignant attitudes add anything to this discussion. Sometimes it is better to simply keep your opinions to yourself, especially if they don't add to the topic at hand.

Jennifer, your article provides a great example of why our children deserve to have their parents focus on their work/life balance. No parent ever looks back and says I wish I had spent more time commuting when you were younger. Bravo for making the move!


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Posted by Janet
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I agree with MVMom. I'm sorry that your first three comments were from people with bad attitudes. You wrote a great piece about work/life balance.

Like your family, I have chosen to live in a smaller, older home in Mountain View that is centrally located to major employers. I've worked at six different companies in 25 years and I've never been further than 12 miles from work, a distance I can do on my bike in less than an hour.

-Janet


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Posted by Jennifer Fogliani
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Thanks MVMom. Its nice to hear a different, and more positive, reaction to my article. The first three did sting a little, but its still good to know people are reading and reacting to my writing.

@Janet Thanks for kind words about the article and for sharing your experience. I hope in 25 years I can say the same thing - especially about riding the bike to work - amazing!


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Posted by Ernie
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

MV Mom and Janet:

Have I seen you all at J. Crew and Pottery Barn, because you comment like you just stepped out of one of their catalogs. Why not just let everyone say their piece, you say yours and move on?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eliza
a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Always love reading your work--we are in the same boat--deciding to forgo ANYTHING extra so that we could live close to work. Thank you for your voice! I'm a fan!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Love being a MV Mom
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 26, 2011 at 10:29 am

It's fluff pieces like this which make me incredibly happy that I'm not paying for this "newspaper."

As a Mom of 2 under 2, I am a very blessed woman. I don't complain about my husband's work hours because he's working. I used to work 50-60 hour weeks before I was a Mom and think that all women can agree that being a stay at home Mom is the hardest thing you'll ever do. But I know the importance of letting my husband do his thing and work. The less I can put on his plate - bothering him that he's missed dinner - the better.

It's great that your husband has a short commute, but your article comes across as whiny which is why people are commenting. Instead of looking around at the things you don't have, why don't you take a few moments to realize the things you do have.

And what is with your need to reply to every comment made here? You tell people who don't agree with you to NOT comment if they don't add anything to the discussion, yet if you get a positive one, you thank them. Why don't you sit back and let commenters comment. This is not a forum for you to sit back and build yourself up.

And yes, people are reacting to your writing. Here's my reaction: I will never ever read my hometown's local paper as it has nothing for me to offer. No wonder advertisers are dropping out and editors are begging for money.


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