It never fails. You’re out to dinner with friends, and someone leans over the table and whispers, “Wish I could work at home too! I could use some peace and quiet.” Or they say they’d work on their tan. Or their shopping techniques. You probably fall into one of two camps. You either white-knuckle the tablecloth, grin, and say, “Yes, it certainly is the life.” Or you have a prepared rant that takes up the rest of dinner, silencing your friends, and putting a kibosh on anyone ordering dessert. Could there be a middle ground to these responses? After all, you know you work harder than you ever have in your life. You should receive a standing ovation when you walk into a room. People should offer to give you their seat, insisting you must be exhausted and “would you like a second glass of Chablis?”But the reality is, few are sympathetic to our plight. So how do we make the world realize how heroic we are? Should we just go ahead and toot our own horns? This is not an easy question to answer. I’ve struggled with it since the day I announced I’d be working from home. When someone makes a remark that implies your situation is easy, it’s not worth it to your blood pressure to say absolutely nothing. For those who have simply thrown out an innocent comment, just smile and say you’ve never worked harder in your life, but the rewards are great. There’s nothing wrong in letting someone know you’re a hard worker, a real tough cookie. But then leave it at that. If they’re interested, they’ll ask more and you can give them more insight. After all, you never know when you might be talking to a future work-at-home parent.When it hits closer to home, it’s a more sensitive situation. If a family member thinks you’re loaded with free time now that you’re home, you might be tempted to lay into them, or at least get a good amount of complaining in. Who wouldn’t? It’s hard when a parent or possibly your spouse doesn’t understand you actually have less free time than when you worked on location. Still, complaining only has a way of shutting the ears of the ones who probably need to hear it most of all. The best solution here would be honest communication. Try having a heart-to-heart without it coming across as a venting of your grievances. You may be surprised to find they really do know you’re working hard, but they just haven’t expressed it to you. (Feel free here to ask them for extra compliments. A once-a-day plan is always nice.)In the end, the only opinion that matters is your own. You know you work hard, so pat yourself on the back, raise that glass of Chablis, and know that someday those kids will thank you. And most importantly, you’ll have all the memories of being there for their first words, first steps, and first day of school. Now, who would give that up? Certainly not you!For more telecommuting tips, read Parts I, II, and III.