A Survival Guide for Work-From-Home Parents

As Seen in The Huffington Post!

 

monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images

People are always asking me how I manage to consistently work as much as I do with a toddler in the house. It makes me feel great that I have somehow made this near-impossible feat look easy, but I can assure you that it’s anything but.

 

I’d liken it to nailing jello to the wall.

 

I made the choice to work from home when my daughter was a few months shy of her first birthday. I didn’t have the help of a full-time nanny, and my day to day life became, well, a circus. The juggling act between meeting client deadlines, developing creative content, answering a daily onslaught of emails, taking care of my home, and most importantly, taking care of my family, has been a learning process like no other.

 

As with anything, this routine took a little time to ease in to. There are days that go off without a hitch, and days where I’d like to hide in my closet with my laptop and a giant vat of espresso. There are days I feel more capable than superwoman, and then days where I repeatedly ask myself if I’m crazy to have launched my own writing business with a now super-active toddler running circles around me all day, every day.

I hate to sound cliche, but the truth is, if I can do it, so can the rest of you amazing mamas (and daddies) of the world. Here are a few tips for working from home while parenting:

 

Get ahead of the game.
Preparation is key. No one knows the needs of your child or children better than you. Create a schedule that allows for a comfortable balance without overwhelming you. Wake up before the kids, allow yourself to organize and map out your day, and answer some pressing emails. Know exactly which parts of your day will demand the most of your attention instead of winging it and hoping things fall in line. They won’t. Learning to work on a schedule and create routines that work for all of the people in your home will be a game changer that will not only increase productivity, it will keep you in control of your day.

 

Ask for help.
Any mom, business owner, or mamapreneur worth her salt knows that it truly does take a village to get ahead. For me personally, I am not in a position to hire a full time sitter or nanny, nor do I want to rely on the help of someone else. I enjoy being with my daughter as much as I can between client calls and projects, however, I know my limits. Luckily, I have family close by who are willing to help a few days a week, as well as a neighbor who is happy to watch my daughter for a few hours on some of my busiest days. The trick is to take full advantage of this time. This is when I schedule any calls (because no one enjoys hearing a screaming child who just spilled her goldfish all over the floor), engage in creating new business plans, and taking a few moments of quiet time to reinvigorate my brain and thought process. Ask for help. Don’t be shy. Help is good.

 

Know your limits.
This is the most important piece of information I can give to anyone looking to maintain a successful career with small children at home. If the first two options do not work out for you, this one will be your secret weapon. Sure, we all want to do as much as humanly possible to keep everyone, clients, children, spouses, friends, and family happy day in and day out – but let’s be real here. If you’re consistently overextending yourself, something will suffer and it will most likely be you, and the quality of your work. This happened to me quite a bit in the beginning, until I became more familiar with and accepting of my limits. Learning to say no, whether to yourself or others is an invaluable tool for success.

 

Have a sense of humor.
And be realistic. Do not expect perfection of yourself or anyone else involved in your work-from-home life. Allow a little room for error, a lot of patience, and time to learn. When in doubt – laugh (even if it’s at yourself).

The truth is, anything that results in success takes a lot of hard work, trial and error, and patience. You’ll get there, trust me.

 

Recovering from Recovery

One of the things that has inspired and continues to inspire Michelle Dempsey of The Trusted Mama are the women she meets on her journey. The readers who reach out to share their love for this blog, the women who send their posts for me to read, and the women with stories far more inspiring raw and real than I could ever imagine. These are the women from which I draw my strength, motivation, and whom I live to empower and work with. For more information on working with me, visit my business site and learn how we can collaborate to help empower YOU, today.Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 8.15.07 AM

A guest post by good friend and writer Ali King

Three years ago I found freedom. I never thought it would happen, but it did. And I found my freedom sitting amongst people just like me. In plastic folding chairs, listening to people’s stories of demise and stories of hope, strength, and recovery.

I found my freedom in Narcotics Anonymous.

I had been battling an ongoing opiate addiction off and on for 6 years. What started off as an addiction to Roxies (30 mg opiates), progressively became a full-blown heroin addiction. Once succumbing to what I thought was “my disease” I followed all of the suggestions given to me from my fellow NA members. I found a sponsor, I attended meetings regularly, I went to conventions, I worked the steps, I truly thought that I had found the answer to my prayers. I whole heartedly believed that I was going to be in recovery for the rest of my life and that building clean time would be an ongoing goal for the rest of my life. I was happy, content, and loved being clean. I followed the suggestions of NA so much that without a doubt I believed there was no other way to live life. The frightening thought that I could never have a drink again was quickly dismissed from my mind because I was told to take it one day at a time.

Throughout the first 15 months in my recovery process, I had, in a way, distanced myself from drug use and places where alcohol was being served. My mom had stopped drinking to “respect” my recovery, I distanced myself from friends who drank and smoked occasionally. My social life became completely recovery related. Throughout this time, I had two relationships, one with another recovering addict and another with a man who seldom drank around me. I really had distanced myself so much from all “temptations” to the point that when I would be around people who were drinking, I would silently judge them and claim they were addicts in denial. At times, I would grow jealous that people were able to drink while I stood on the sidelines and watched.

In month 16 I met someone new. He was everything that I wanted in someone, the only problem was that he was not in recovery and I knew that he enjoyed having a drink. I told him not to change for me.

I told him the only way we will know if this would work is if he continued doing what made him happy and comfortable and I continued doing the same.

We went to dinners and movies together, scarfed down frozen yogurt weekly, cuddled on the couch and occasionally, we went to bars. He would drink and I would be sober and it was fun and it was fine. There was no pressure, there was no threat of the relationship possibly ending because of our different lifestyles. However, one day the thought popped into my mind that maybe just maybe I could live just like he was living. I thought about the possibility of being able to go out, have a few drinks, have fun, and be fine the next day. I empowered myself with the thought that I could do this and not end up doing heroin again within 24 hours.

But I was scared, I was brainwashed to believe that I had a disease – a disease that was relentless.

I could never have a drink again or put any mind-altering substance into my body again. I began mentioning the idea to some of my fellow NA friends and shared about it in meetings. I would always get the same response of, “Keep coming back.” That same generic answer to all of life’s problems that were brought up in NA or the other famous response, “this is your disease talking.” No! This wasn’t my disease talking, this was the mature woman who had grown over the last year and a half. Someone who knew better than to just run back to her heroin dealer. I was now a woman with a purpose in life. I was and still am a teacher with responsibilities and commitments. I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone else around me that I could have a drink socially and not succumb to my “disease.”

So on August 8, 2015, after weeks and weeks of contemplation and advising friends and family of my decision, I had my first drink in nearly two years. I didn’t regret it, in fact, I enjoyed it. I woke up the next morning expecting to feel remorse, yet I still felt liberated. As free as I felt in those NA meetings. Fast forward 11 months, I am now engaged to the man who accepted me as I was. I still have a relationship with my NA sponsor. I am still teaching and highly respected among my peers. I am also nearing three years of being opiate free.

I am not saying that this can be everyone’s story, but it is mine. I am now recovering from recovery. I have learned so much about my own personal strength and confidence in the past 11 months. It hasn’t been easy but it most certainly hasn’t been hard. Believe in yourself, the way I believed in myself, set your mind to something despite all the odds against you and be the woman who you wish to be, ‘one day at a time.’

 *Addiction, rehab, and recovery, are NOT to be taken lightly. If you are in the process of recovering, please keep a good relationship with your sponsor, and think before you act.

Working from Home with Child: Smart or Just Plain Insane?

People are always asking me how I manage to consistently work as much as I do with a toddler in the house. It makes me feel great that I have somehow made this near-impossible feat look easy, but I can assure you that it’s anything but.

I’d liken it to nailing jello to the wall.

I made the choice to work from home when my daughter was a few months shy of her first birthday. I didn’t have the help of a full-time nanny, and my day to day life became, well, a circus. The juggling act between meeting client deadlines, developing creative content, answering a daily onslaught of emails, taking care of my home, and most importantly, taking care of my family has been a learning process like no other.
IMG_5572
As with anything, this routine took a little time to ease in to. There are days that go off without a hitch, and days where I’d like to hide in my closet with my laptop and a giant vat of espresso. There are days I feel more capable than superwoman, and then days where I repeatedly ask myself if I’m crazy to have launched my own writing business with a now super-active toddler running circles around me all day, every day.
I hate to sound cliche, but the truth is, if I can do it, so can the rest of you amazing women of the world. Here are a few tips for working from home while parenting.

Becoming My Mother

Becoming My Mother
As Mother’s Day approaches, I only have one person on my brain: my mother. Even though I too, am a mother now – I know full well that I would not be half of the mother I am today if it were not for my mama – the strong, fearless, and giving woman that she is.

As women, it is often said that eventually, you’ll become your mother. It’s almost laughable that I used to consider this a bad thing. In fact, as a teenager, I couldn’t bear the thought of this. My mother kept me on a tight leash. She was strict, she didn’t let me wear eyeliner and wouldn’t let me smoke cigarettes or hang out with boys that were in college. Ridiculous, mom, thanks a lot (teenage angst voice). 

But, seriously mom, thanks. In hindsight, I’d rather my child NOT become the teenager I was. 

As a girl in my 20’s, trying to find a place in the world for myself, it’s like I was destined to make every mistake possible, just because. My mother tried her hardest to steer me in the right direction so I clearly chose to go the opposite way, each and every time. You don’t know me, mom, you don’t know what I need! Bad career choices? Check. Know-it-all attitude? Absolutely. Relationships that left me heartbroken? Yes please, the more the merrier! 

But, seriously mom, thanks for knowing what I needed, and being there to pick up the pieces after each mistake. In hindsight, I’d prefer it if my daughter doesn’t insist on defying me when I’ll only be trying to help. 

At the end of my 20’s, after a horrific car accident broke me from the neck down, my life came crashing down around me, and all of it was broken too. My first phone call was to my mother. I don’t remember making the call, and I certainly don’t remember how, but my first phone call was to my mother, who was far away in Florida, while I was laying in an ambulance somewhere on Long Island. She was on the next flight, that mother of mine – coming to pick up the pieces for what felt like the hundredth time. But seriously mom, how were you not sick of me by then? Thanks for being there.

In hindsight, it was the best call I’ve ever made.

It was like I was a baby again, and I needed my mom for everything. From bathing, to brushing my teeth, to being fed, I had to rely on my mother for my basic survival, since I didn’t have a leg to stand on (no pun intended). It was in this time that hindsight set in. Like life flashing before my eyes, every bad decision my mother had warned me about and begged me not to make replayed over and over in my mind, taunting me with that same angst-filled tone I was so good at, shouting “I told you so,” at the top of its lungs.

But if I had listened, I never would have hit bottom, and I never would have learned to appreciate the power of my mother actually knowing best. I never would have opened my eyes and figured out the changes I needed to make in my life. I never would have ended up here, now, with the life I had always dreamed of. 

Jeez, I’m a mom now, with a daughter who will likely make a whole bunch of mistakes that will transform her into a stronger and better person – and I know I’ll be there for her, every step of the way.

So, on this Mother’s Day, my second as a mom, I’ve decided I’m becoming my mother. In every sense of the word. In every loving, generous, empowering way I can be – just so I can be like her and ensure my daughter is just as lucky as I continue to be. 

There’s just no other way I can do this motherhood thing without relying on all of the forgiveness and strength my mother always seemed to be full of, even in my worst moments.
I’m becoming my mother so that my daughter will always feel supported.

I’m becoming my mother so my daughter will always have a port in the storm.

I’m becoming my mother so no matter what mess my daughter finds herself in, I can help her, show her rather, how to clean it up.

I’m becoming my mother so that ultimately, I know I’m doing something right on this adventure of raising my daughter.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

 

Ellen Degeneres, I Owe You One

As Seen in The Huffington Post:

“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come”Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 9.19.18 PM.png

 

This has taken me over four years to write. But for four years, this Ellen Degeneres quote, from a 2010 Katie Couric Interview in Glamour Magazine, has meant so much to my life and where I am in it today.

 

So, let’s go back to four years ago. January 6th, 2012, to be exact: Following many years of a very unstable life filled with pain, tragedy, and a terrible lack of self-confidence, I came very close to losing it all. That cold, New York morning, I was involved in a head-on collision that left me broken from the neck down physically, and broken all the way through, mentally.

 

I was 28 years old at the time. I had tried and tried, but life had not yet “happened” for me at that point. Having recently lost my teaching career, a mentally-abusive relationship, and a whole lot of money in that process – I thought that this accident was the worst thing that could have happened to me – the proverbial icing on a very rotten cake. I realized quickly though, that it was a blessing in disguise, the cliché, “second chance at life,” and the healing process, though grueling and painful, became the best 5 months of my life. Hell, all I had to do was lay in bed.

 

With all of this laying in bed, came a lot of looking forward to 4pm every afternoon. Literally, my existence revolved around watching the Ellen show and letting her positivity and humor lift my day. I wouldn’t take any visitors at this time, I’d set aside my kindle, my laptop, and shut down my phone – all in anticipation of the show. My beautiful mother, who had flown up from her new snowbird life in Miami just to take care of me (I was unable to walk or care for myself due to multiple casts and surgeries), would snuggle into bed with me and we’d laugh (and sometimes cry) for a full hour while Ellen filled our hearts with joy and light. This was the year that Sophia Grace and her little sidekick were a hit, and her dedication to loving children and showcasing their talents struck such a chord with my teacher-heart. I honestly mean it when I say that my life revolved around 4pm. I will never forget that and all that it did for my psyche – so for that alone, I was grateful.

But then, a February 2010 Issue of Glamour in which Ellen was interviewed by Katie Couric, somehow ended up in my lap. In that interview, she gave an answer in regard to being a role model and staying true to herself, that was the basis for how I decided to live my “second chance at life”. This quote, “Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come,”became my mantra – my daily affirmation – and the reason for my now-happiness, newly-found self-confidence, and career success. And I began a whole new life that I can honestly say is the one I was destined to always live – making me so grateful for the power of positive role models in our entertainment industry – one’s who have overcome major obstacles to find acceptance, love, and success in this world.

 

How did this happen? Well, I manifested it with my newfound dedication to finding out who I am and living that truth. I knew who I was: I was someone who was deeply scarred by the pain of her childhood, desperate to find a calm, comfortable, life and use my story to inspire others. I knew I was someone who was strong enough to overcome my fears and self-doubt, take a deep look into myself and begin auditing and cleaning house. I knew I was someone with so much to say, and a passion for women’s rights, female empowerment, and equality for all. Following recovery – I made a conscious effort to live a more mindful life. I knew that in order to do that, I had to release all that had held me down and kept me stagnant in my little Long Island town for so long, and boarded a flight to Miami, Florida, one-way ticket in hand, with no desire to look back.

 

I won’t go in to all of the details that transpired once my plane touched down in sunny South Florida – but I’ll fill you in on where I am today: very happily living my life. I am married to a man who has become my partner-in-crime in this game called life. We have a beautiful little 15-month-old girl who is my muse and motivation for all that I do – and my reason for upholding a commitment to this quote: living my truth. Being who I am – and letting it nourish my soul.

 

Somehow, entering motherhood helped me tap in to my innermost female superpowers. I felt empowered, strong, beautiful – and I felt the need to write about it. In writing about it, the universe responded to my energy, honesty, and passion. I finally found out who I was – someone that can use her nurturing and committed personality in a way to connect with others and help them on their quest for happiness and success as a writer.

 

To this I say – when you find someone who makes you feel empowered, honor the fact that your intuition is telling you to act on that empowerment. And when something as simple as a quote resonates deeply enough with your soul to make you feel urge to change – thank your lucky stars.