A Survival Guide for Work-From-Home Parents

As Seen in The Huffington Post!

 

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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.

 

The Elimination of the Mother-Class

I am playing for the other team, now. I am on the other side of the fence. I’ve jumped ship. Crossed the border. I’ve purchased a one-way ticket and I’m not returning anytime soon.

I RSVP’ed ‘HELL YES’ to this life.

I successfully crossed over into “stay-at-home-mom” territory, although, I technically NEVER stay at home. I work from home, or from Starbucks, or from my best friend’s couch.

Do you see how I had to throw that in there? That I do, indeed, work? This is a problem. It’s a really big problem, actually, that we as Mothers, feel the need to justify ourselves by proving we do anything more than just wear our “Mom” hats all day.

For every “good for you!” voice of encouragement, there’s a “But why? What do you do all day?” asshole waiting to test your patience, and make you feel the need to validate yourself – and it’s usually someone who you owe nothing to.

But that’s just the way it is.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve succeeding in eliminating the mother-class.

WHY, though? What happened to the  beauty in just being a Mom?

We all know that Mom is Superwoman, and Mama knows best.

Home is where your mom is, and, Where there’s a Mom, there’s a way.

We can all admit to needing our moms on our toughest days no matter how old we get, or how much pride we hold on to. Because “Mom” IS the most important role played on this planet.

So why, when I’m out to lunch with a friend and our babies and I’m approached by a random stranger who wants to chat about my baby and how much she doesn’t look like me, do I find myself justifying my role as a mom with “I also work, I’m a writer”.

Or when rude acquaintances probe, “So WHY did you really stop working, aren’t you bored?”.

Bored? Seriously? Aside from the thrill of getting to look at my daughter’s very precious, VERY happy face day in and day out – I am SWAMPED by motherhood. A good kind of swamped. The swamped that comes from learning to balance your daily life with being the best possible mom you can be (and then polishing that day off with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc).

These days, so many of us Mamas are forced back into our working roles before we’re ready. ALL of us, who have had to take that plunge, are forced to fake a grin and exclaim, “I love  balancing the best of both worlds,” even when a large majority of us are just barely holding it together. I vomited – multiple times – on my first day back to work, and remember thinking to myself the ENTIRE day, “What will people think if I decide to call this whole thing off and dedicate my time to my child instead?” It seemed like such a crazy notion at the time – and I’m angry at myself for that. I am so saddened by the fact that I had to question my innate calling to motherhood. The natural, human, womanly role that I was  born to play.

But this, my friends, is proof of the elimination of the mother-class.

No more 1950’s June Cleavers proud to wear the apron all day. Except me. I am definitely relishing in this shit. Dinner served, laundry done, husband happy, baby thrilled – I am FULFILLED. I do, also, consider myself a feminist – go figure.

My day, even with a mile-long “To-Do” list, revolves around my daughter’s nap schedule. It means, I‘m working from the car if that’s where she falls asleep.

My day, seems more beautiful and meaningful with each giggle I hear or look of amazement I see on my daughter’s face.

My day, doesn’t have enough hours. Or minutes. Or seconds. And no, not because of that now half-marathon-long to-do list. It’s because I am loving being “Mom” so damn much that I could cram so much more of it into one day if I had the chance.

I spent my afternoon today with a group of Mommy-friends who all hold the role of being “just mom”. Some of us in that crew do the work-from-home thing. Some don’t. And it’s all good… because we are ALL thrilled to hold the coveted title of “Mom”. And if there were nothing else to be, we’d be delighted all the same.

Our Mother-Class hasn’t been eliminated. No matter how hard other people try to bring it  down.

 

 

 

Mother Hustler Monday: Emily

I met Emily through a mutual friend about two weeks into my new life in Miami, just a little over three years ago.

We were at an event in this mutual friend’s house, and Emily was baking her gluten-free goodies, and it was pretty much friends-at-first sight. We bonded over our love of healthy eating, relocating from New York, and just our general awesomeness.

It was such an instant connection, that just a few weeks later, I was out celebrating my birthday with her.

Fast-forward three years, and our friendship is, in a word, incomparable. We are now both raising our little girls together as best friends, in hopes that they will be, too.  We both share a deep desire for our girls to be strong, confident and capable young women one day, as those are the values we cherish the most within ourselves, and each other.

So why is this lady-friend of mine such a bad-ass Mother Hustler?

I’m so glad you inquired.

Emily has a strong work history for large powerhouse companies such as Lehman Brothers in NYC. She’s got an MS in Educational Psychology , and she is, for lack of a better term, SELF-MADE.

After leaving her career at Lehman Brothers behind, Emily recognized the need for well-written, well-educated Resume Writers in our economy-shattered nation, post-2008.

In just a few short years, Emily went from this idea of writing resumes, to building what is now a leading, TOP 25 IN THE NATION, full-service resume writing and career coaching business. She is a leading career strategist and I can barely schedule friend-time with her because ever since she’s joined the Forbes Coaches Council, she’s on FIRE.

Luckily, she took a chance on this young writer I call MOI, and has employed me at my own free will. I’m not gonna lie, one of the biggest perks is getting to sit, day in and day out, with this hot mama, as we try really hard to avoid our useless banter about anything and everything, and plug away at our Macbooks in cafes all over South Florida.

Not only am I learning from her, which has proved invaluable in my own quest to be a writer, but I’m now a part of this amazing company. And we’ve got plans – big plans.

But anyway, this Mother Hustler is not bad-ass because she is my best friend (although it helps). She’s not bad-ass because she’s employed me.

She’s bad-ass because she had a dream, followed it, and is continuously exceeding even her own expectations with ReFresh Your Step.

And she is doing all of this, as a phenomenal fricken’ mama.IMG_1632

Care to know more about this Mama or interested in some Career Coaching?

Visit Emily @ http://www.refreshyourstep.com to learn more!

Are YOU a Mother Hustler? Care to nominate someone who is? Email us thetrustedmama@gmail.com