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Getting Through the Holidays, by Sandra Beck

by Sandra Beck

Many moms have written me this week wondering how they are going to get through the holidays working and trying to have a wonderful holiday season for their families.  My advice to them is simple. Do what you can, don’t do what you can’t. Enlist the aid of others.

It may sound trite, but it is very true. Between the kids, the dogs, the visitors, the parties, the playdates, the presents, the wrapping, the cooking, the cleaning, the decorating I am somehow supposed to get my work done? Here are some of the stratgies I use to get through the holiday season without losing my cool.

1. Hire a babysitter so you can shop, decorate or do what you need to do because you will get it done faster.

2. Hire your babysitter to wrap present or look for charity organizations who will wrap your presents for a small fee. I paid $20 to have almost 40 gifts wrapped with my own paper.

3. Have your kids help. My kids helped me decorate the house. It may not look perfect, but its done.

4. Schedule a playdate agreement. Yesterday, my sons went to my friends house while I did what I needed to do. Then today I have her sons for 4 hours so she can get what she needs done.

5. Call your church or local charity.  My organization that I belong to offers teens to help you for no fee. It is part of their voluneteer work and they helped me bake and we had a whole lot of fun.

6. Delegate. Everyone in my house – including guests must help for the three holiday parties we have each season. Guests in my experience want to bring something, so why stress out. Let them bring brownies, cakes, salad whatever…they feel good and so do you!

7. Take a moment each day to sit by your Tree or Menorah. Remember that the holidays are about much more than presents, parties and people. Get yourself spiritually grounded.

8. Don’t color or perm your hair the day of a party. 

9. Chase your kids around the house once a day. Everyone needs to blow off steam – the stress of the holidays gets to us all…scream, dance, throw snowballs, tickle…whatever it is – get everyone involved in the stress relief!

10. Be thankful.  In a time where it is very difficult for many – personally, financially, physically – be thankful for all that you have and all that you can do.  Being grateful can take the sting out of unraveling the tangled mess of your holiday lights – you have a tree, you have electricity, you have someone to share this time with.

Happy Holidays to all!

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What You Need to Know about Outsourcing By Sandra Beck

Outsource- a popular word in today’s business culture. The Harvard Law School Web Library defines outsourcing as: the practice of contracting with an outside company in order to provide a service or product that otherwise might be too expensive, complicated, or time-consuming for the institution to do internally. A common example of outsourcing is that of copy machines, which are usually rented and/or maintained by an outside agency.

We all outsource work on a regular basis and we have for years. When you take all of your tax papers over to your accountant so she can prepare your taxes, you are outsourcing. You could have done it yourself, but at what cost? You made a decision to pay a professional to do it properly. It was a smart choice. Outsourcing is such a smart choice that millions of companies around the world have decided to outsource huge chunks of their companies to the far corners of the earth. Some of these companies have outsourced smart, some not so smart.

The first rule of outsourcing is that is has to be cost effective, which is not the same thing as cheap. I could take all of my tax papers to the 14 year old girl who lives across the street; because she is smart she could probably figure out how to submit my taxes. I am quite sure she wouldn’t charge what my CPA charges – but would she be cost effective? NO! Clearly the money I saved in paying her reduced wage would be lost in paying fines or just not receiving the maximum deduction because as 14 year old she isn’t an expert. Some companies have confused cost effective for cheap.

I spent 4 hours on the phone with GMAC the other day because I couldn’t find a single person who understood what I was saying. Please don’t misunderstand me – everyone on the phone spoke better English than I can speak any other language, and I respect all of them for their ability to learn a second and a third language, but the fact is their command of the language was not good enough to conduct business in English. It was a tremendous waste of my time; but a great example of bad outsourcing! I know GMAC thinks it is saving money but what could have been handled in 2 minutes took 4 hours! Too bad GMAC doesn’t outsource to American Moms who have made the decision to be home with their little ones. Imagine what great publicity that would be for them. Not to mention how cost effective it would be.

This among other reasons was why I started Motherhood Incorporated (www.motherhoodincorporated.com.) The business culture demands in many instances someone in command of the english language and someone who understand the culture. Recently a client came to my company because he hired a person on http://www.elance.com to write 100 blogs about speakers for his public speaking website. The person wrote 100 blogs including items about stereos, cd players and other items that used “speakers.”

Was the virtual who did the work wrong or was the person who hired him not clear in his request for articles about speakers. Electronic components vs. public speaking 100 posted blogs later, the man had to create a new blog because he was so firmly entrenched in the electronics market. Sometimes it doesn’t matter the English or the cultural component. Sometimes it means the life or death of your online business venture.

Outsourcing is a great business tool when done correctly. Just make sure you think about these things and the difference between cheap and cost effective!

Don’t We All Work? by sandra beck

by Sandra Beck

Recently I was at a school event when one of the mom’s asked me how my company was going ( I own www.motherhoodincorporated.com) when a mother I did not know asked me what I did.

When I told her I employ moms who want to work from home doing all sorts of administrative and management jobs, she asked if I had an office.  I said that I worked out of my home.

Oh, so you don’t really work, she said – like I was somehow not “working” as much as she did at a nationally based company.

I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to say I probably make more than you and have more time for my kids, but I put that cat down.

Don’t we all work? Some of my moms work only 2-3 hours a week for my company. Some moms work 20 hours a week. Some of my moms have a full time job in an office and moonlight for me? Some of my moms work for me only in the summer when they are not teaching.

I work full time in an office in my home where I pay half the mortgage on the house.  I know this mom was just being $^&#@,  but it made me think about the phrases we use today:
 
stay at home mom
working mom
work at home mom

We all work too many hours for too little pay. Period.

I think that the next time someone askes me if I work, I am going to answer her with, “yes, I do — too much