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Me Time—What’s that and where can I get some? by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

As working mothers we work hard every day to maintain our household, care for our children, and maintain our relationships with our husbands and friends. But what do we do for us?  We are so busy caring for others we forget to care for ourselves, to take a little “me” time.

“Me” time, what a concept!  It should be a daily occurrence, a time we set aside for ourselves.  Set out and plan a block of time, even just 15 minutes, for your “me” time each day. Use this time to meditate, take a walk, take a hot bath, or even just a power nap.

Sit down and make a list of some things you’d like to do for yourself and how much time you need to do them.  Make it a point to schedule in at least one of these things into each day. “Me” time can be shared too, get a group a friends together and take a walk or call a friend just to chat.

I have made it a point to do something to improve myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually each day.  I start my day by writing down what I will do for me in each of those categories and at the end of the day I can review this and see just how much I was able to accomplish. This can be a real boost to the ego! 

I think you will find as I have that just taking a little time for yourself each day can work wonders in improving your outlook on life and your attitude.

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them! Should you have any questions about Motherhood Incorporated either as a client or as a mom looking for work, please email me directly at sandra@motherhoodincorporated.com or you can check us out at www.motherhoodincorporated.com and www.sandrabeck.com.

Decorating Your Home for the Holidays on a Budget by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Wow, the holiday season is fast approaching! We’ve barely put away the dishes for Thanksgiving and it’s time to start thinking about Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza.  With these tough economic times anything we can do to save money is a bonus.  It is possible to decorate your home for the holidays on a budget while keeping the kids busy and enjoying a little family togetherness. That’s what the season is all about, celebrating with family and friends.

A pack of construction paper in different colors, some ribbon, scissors, and glue can go a long way in creating decorations for your home.  Old holiday cards can be recycled into decorations by cutting out pictures on the front of the cards and pasting them on a background of colored construction paper.  These can be used as decorations for your Christmas tree or placed on your mantel or walls to create some holiday spirit.

Your children’s wallet size school pictures or even 3 X 5 photos can be mounted on a piece of construction paper or placed in a frame of popsicle sticks with a ribbon attached—you can even add a handwritten message like Christmas 2009 at the bottom.  These are great for your home or even as a gift for family, especially grandparents. 

Snowflakes, draedels, menorahs, or Kwanza candelabras can be cut out of construction paper to decorate your home or windows.

Be creative!  These are simple ways to get the whole family involved, keep your kids busy, and get your house decorated without breaking the bank.

Good luck and Happy Holidays from Motherhood Incorporated!

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them! Should you have any questions about Motherhood Incorporated either as a client or as a mom looking for work, please email me directly at sandra@motherhoodincorporated.com or you can check us out at www.motherhoodincorporated.com and www.sandrabeck.com.

Creating a Memorable Thanksgiving by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Thanksgiving is a holiday with many family traditions ranging from Grandpa at the head of the table carving the turkey to Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie.  It is a time for family and friends to gather and give thanks for the many blessings they have had throughout the year.

You can start your own new traditions as well and involve your children in the preparations.  If you have an older child that is able to write, have them create placecards for everyone at the table.  They can decorate these as well.  Placemats can also be created for everyone as well and younger children can be involved in this craft as well. These can be simply a piece of construction paper with drawings by each of your children.  If you are feeling really creative have your children make a handprint with paint on each placemat to make the feathers of the turkey and then cut out construction paper in the shape of a bowling pin for the body of the turkey.  You can add googly eyes  etc. as you see fit.

You and your family can write down all of the things you are thankful for (little ones can dictate these to you).  Make a paper flower  for each of these things you are thankful for and attach it to wooden kabob sticks or popsicle sticks and place them in a vase for a simple yet meaningful centerpiece for the table.

By involving the whole family in creating these thanksgiving mementoes you are creating your own Thanksgiving memories as well.

We at Motherhood Incorporated wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving !

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them! Should you have any questions about Motherhood Incorporated either as a client or as a mom looking for work, please email me directly at sandra@motherhoodincorporated.com or you can check us out at www.motherhoodincorporated.com and www.sandrabeck.com.

4 Quick Tips to a Company Ready Home Office by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

If your home business requires occasional client visits, the state of your home office can make or break a business deal.  When my husband and I were looking for someone to photograph our wedding we visited a few photographers working out of their homes.  One invited us into a poorly lit kitchen to review his portfolio, while the contract-winning operation invited us into a home office that displayed quality and professionalism from the start.  I’m not saying that the state of your home office alone will win your clients over, but every interaction leaves a lasting impression.  Here are four tips to make sure the impression you leave is a good one:Allium flower head (macro)

 

1.  Clear the clutter.

 

Put away anything that doesn’t need to be out.  A disorganized home office will leave your clients wondering if you will drop the ball when it comes to their projects.  This is especially important when you are working with multiple clients on proprietary information.  Your customers need to know that they can trust you to be discreet.

 

2.  It’s all business.

 

Your office may be located in your home, but it should reflect a business environment.  Though you may enjoy hanging your children’s artwork and other personal effects in your workspace, when clients come around it is time to tuck these items away. 

 

3.  Critical cleaning.

 

Don’t waste time cleaning everything from top to bottom.  Focus from the waist up, on the areas that capture the eyes.  A quick dust over surfaces should suffice.  Do make sure that your guest bath is clean.  Wipe the mirror and sink, and run a brush around the toilet bowl.  Finish off by emptying the trash cans.  We all feel more comfortable in a clean environment.

 

4.  Liven it up.

 

A few strategically placed plants or a vase of fresh flowers can do wonders to brighten a room.  If you are fortunate enough to have a blooming flower garden, cut a few blooms and bring them inside.  Adding natural color to your office space will make it calm and inviting, something you can enjoy even after the close of the business day.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Let Your PDA Work For You by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

This morning I was babysitting a friend’s son.  With three toddlers in the house, you might assume that any chance of productivity was out the window.  I did, until I switched on my PDA to assess my options for nap time.  As I perused my To Do list, I noticed a phone call I needed to make and decided to give it a try.  With the kids happily playing at my feet, I cranked the volume up on my cell and went for it.  Mission complete, check. 

 

Counting my blessings, I wondered if I could pull it off again.  I returned to the To Do list, this time sorting by the phone call category.  Two more phone calls to make.  Dare I push my luck?  I went for the glory and it paid off big, check, check.  My PDA helps me make quick decisions on how I can most productively use my time. Here are a few tips on making your PDA work for you:Buntstifte

 

To Do List

 

Store your To Do list on your PDA, link up any important contact info you may need so everything is at your fingertips when you are ready for it.  Categorize similar action items, so you can easily complete multiple tasks while you have the resources readily available.

 

Date Book

 

Use the date book to schedule appointments and set aside time for routine tasks.  View your date book with the To Do list, and you can quickly plan your day.  No more erasing or scratching out required, reschedule items by dragging and dropping them into a new time slot.

 

Contact Info

 

Keep all your contacts at your fingertips by storing them in your PDA.  Quickly find any address or phone number when you need it.

 

Synchronization

 

Your PDA’s synchronization capability is easily one of its best features.  Back your PDA up onto your computer, and you can rest assured that you won’t lose vital information.

 

Email

 

Many PDAs come equipped with emailing capabilities.  Load email onto your PDA, and you can read and respond to messages while you are out and about.

 

Expense Tracking

 

Keep track of your expenses and budget while you are out.  Easy access to your financial planning info will help you make informed decisions about how much to spend, and prevent you from forgetting to write it down later.

 

Notes

 

Save paper by taking notes in your PDA.  You can store the notes on your computer later, and keep your purse or brief case from becoming cluttered and heavy.

 

Software

 

There is a plethora of software available for PDAs.  Pocketgear.com has a nice selection of business and fun applications, many of which are free to download.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Help, Please! An Interview with Networking Guru Lucy Rosen by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 I caught up with Lucy Rosen, president and founding member of Women on the Fast Track, an international networking organization for business women.  Here’s what Lucy had to say:

 

What are the benefits to networking? How many words do I get? New relationships. Opportunities for new opportunities. Opportunities to connect others. Opportunities for jobs / information / resources, but I think the biggest one is the opportunity to help others.Gardening tools

 

What networking advice has benefited your career?  Everyone has value. It may not be a good fit for you, but that doesn’t mean to write them off.  It means file them away to refer them to someone else!

 

Where can a woman find networking opportunities?  Local clubs, organizations, associations, online, at schools, alumni groups, other mothers, other women, newspapers, radio, and magazines. Virtually every daily paper has a business section and usually it appears on Mondays. In that section would be a list of all the networking “things” happening in and around your community.

 

What advice do you have for women who want to network, but feel shy or uncomfortable?  Most of the time we feel shy or uncomfortable because we think we don’t have anything to give. We are the “givers” not the receivers- so it’s much more comfortable for us to give than to receive. If there is a feeling of not having much of worth to give – start making a list of all the different people you know – from your neighbor, to the woman on the PTA you met, to the different jobs you have had and who you know from there. I reconnected with someone from high school that I hadn’t seen in 30 (gulp) years… She was looking for a job in accounting, and I happened to know an accounting firm that was looking to hire – so there you go! It worked.
How can a business woman start a networking group in her area?  They can call me and I will help them start Women on the Fast Track chapter!

You can find out more about Lucy Rosen and Women on the Fast Track by visiting her website at www.womenonthefasttrack.com.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Expel Sick Day Stress from Your Life by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporate

 When my youngest climbed out of bed Tuesday morning, he was all giggles.  Once I flipped on the light, I was surprised to see that his eyes were red and runny.  I immediately started running over my plans for the day, which I knew were about to be changed.  No childcare or playgroup, and I’d have to squeeze a trip to the doctor in somewhere.

 

Sick days and snow days strike us all.  If you’re one of the lucky ones, they are few and far between.  Still, the stress of a sudden change of plans can be lessened, or even disappear altogether, if we put a plan in place for the unexpected.Dog

 

Plan Ahead

 

As work-at-home moms, we have to consider the possibility that we may be called on to care for our children in a pinch.  Part of the flexibility of working from home means that our spouses may depend on us as an emergency back-up plan.  It is best to come up with a family plan for these situations ahead of time.  Does your spouse expect you to care for the kids every time an unexpected situation arises, or can you share the responsibility?

 

If you know it will be up to you to make alternate arrangements, try to plan for these situations when you are negotiating project deadlines with your boss or client.  Adding a little “fluff” to your timing will allow you to breathe easier if you have to spend an afternoon in the doctor’s office, instead of at your desk.

 

Have a Backup for Your Backup

 

Your mom usually takes the kids when they are sick, but today she has plans.  Turn to plan B.  Investigate some alternate options before hand.  Try forming a group of willing mothers in your neighborhood to share snow day responsibilities, or look for a flexible daycare program in your community.

 

When All Else Fails, Keep the Kids at Home

 

Prepare some activities for your children ahead of time.  We keep a rainy day box with some books, art supplies, and small toys.  The rainy day box becomes an exciting event when the kids only see it occasionally.  Make sure they can safely enjoy the activities on their own, and you will get some work done while they play.

 

If you know there is severe weather on the way, check out a movie and some books for the kids from your local library.  You may not be quite as productive as usual, but you can prevent yourself from falling too far behind.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com