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Home Office Storage

Storage is usually a problem for most people working from their home, but it really doesn’t need to be.

First off, are you keeping a lot of unnecessary things? Tax returns from 20 years ago, magazines you know you’ll never read, and so on? If so, it’s time to purge your office area.

Get creative when it comes to storage. Yes, you may want to keep important papers in an actual filing cabinet or box so that they’ll be easy to access, but for other things, use your imagination. Shoeboxes can be used for computer disks, empty jars for office supplies.

Empty wall space is just wasted space. Install shelves or purchase a tall shelving unit. Use attractive boxes or baskets so that they don’t look cluttered.

Making Time for Play as a Working Mother by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

Making Time for Play

Making Time for Play

As a working mother I never feel like I have enough time to just play with my kids.  There always seems to be another deadline to meet, calls to make, and a pile of work on my desk that needs my immediate attention.

 

My two sons, ages 6 and 3, are very active and would love to have my undivided attention.  However, duty calls and work must be done if the mortgage and the bills are to get paid.  Try explaining that to a 3 year old…let me tell you, it’s impossible. 

 

What is possible is to carve out time in your day to play and release your inner child at the same time…how refreshing.

 

Day planners are made for just that.  Plan out a block or blocks of time each week that you can dedicate just to the kids.  If possible, plan these around times in their schedule where other activities don’t interfere—for example, naptime for your 3 yr old or karate class for your 6 yr old. 

 

Playtime can be indoors or outdoors depending on the weather but have a variety of activities for the kids to choose from.  This gives the kids some control and allows them the independence of choosing an activity.  Playtime can be as simple as kicking a soccer ball around or getting down on the floor and playing cars or building blocks or as involved as taking a nature hike outdoors.

 

During play time, put on the answering machine and turn your cell phone off so that the kids know this is their time.  Avoid any unnecessary interruptions.  Get down at your child’s level. Encourage creativity.  You can ask the older children to write down a list of activities that they might enjoy doing with you during “play time,” this engages them and teaches them how to make the best of their time too. 

 

While not easy, scheduling quality play time with your kids while still maintaining your business is not an impossibility.  It just takes planning.

 

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

In Good Company – Finding the Time to Relax with Friends by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 I have a group of girlfriends I’ve known since high school.  We used to go out on the town together, but now that we are all busy working moms, we’ve become lunch buddies.  We gather around a picnic table with sack lunches and kids in tow every Friday afternoon.  Friday is ladies lunch out.  How I look forward to Fridays.Color caps and gerbera

Ladies lunch out has become a lifeline full of laughter and fun for all of us.  We enjoy the food and fresh air.  Our kids run and play together, while the mommy crowd catches up with the ins and outs of  daily life.  I always return home refreshed with my children ready for a long nap.

I’m fortunate to have close friends nearby and available during the week.  If that’s not the case in your situation, there are other opportunities available to help take the edge off of work-at-home isolation. If you have kids in the house, check for a local moms club.  Moms Club International has over 2,000 chapters in the US.  There is a small annual fee to join, but it is well worth the investment.  My local chapter has been a great source of support.  You can find them on the web at www.momsclub.org.

Book clubs are great, if you enjoy reading.  Between the trips to the library or bookstore, and the meetings themselves, you’ll have plenty of excuses to get out of the house.  I recommend finding a casual club, so you won’t feel pressured to finish the book.  The goal here is relaxation, so leave the stress in the office.

If you like to exercise a membership to a local gym is a fantastic way to reduce stress, stay healthy and meet new people.  The club I attend is very flexible.  I enjoy the company of the women in my classes, and there are classes available just about anytime you could imagine.  No matter what you choose to do, get out and socialize on a regular basis.  It is sure to leave you happier and more productive in the long run. 

www.sandrabeck.com
www.motherhoodincorporated.com

5 Tips To Work-Home Transition Success by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 Last weekend I spent some time visiting with family.  My sister’s ten-acre lot has become something of an oasis these days.  The rural atmosphere is a delight for this suburban native, and a much needed source of rest.  As I cuddled with my toddler, tired from our hour-long afternoon hike, I remembered a time when my unwillingness to leave work in the office overshadowed our time together.  When you work at home, like I do, it can be all too easy to slip into an assignment during off hours.flowers1

As I became acclimated to the work-at-home lifestyle, I picked up a few easy techniques to help bring my mind back to the things that matter most at the end of the day.  Here are a few ideas for making the transition from work to home a successful one:

Set a work schedule and stick to it.  When you plan to work a set number of hours, it is easier to prioritize your time.  Once you have a plan in place, be diligent about staying within those boundaries.

Transition by spending time doing something you love.  Set aside some time to journal, blog, read a book, or partake in another hobby after you finish working for the day.  Time spent doing something you enjoy will help get your mind off of the job and ready for a restful evening.

Keep your To Do list accessible.  If a work-related thought begins gnawing at your brain, write it down and leave it for business hours.  You’ll have the reminder you need to get the job done at the appropriate time.

Resolve to power down. Shut down your computer, cell phone and other work-related technology at the end of the day.  Once it’s off, leave it that way!

When all else fails, get out of town.  A weekend getaway or an afternoon with family or friends is a wonderful way to smooth the rough edges left behind by a stressful work week.  You needn’t spend a lot of money to get away, sometimes a family trip to a local park is all that is needed to melt the stress away.

www.sandrabeck.com
www.motherhoodincorporated.com

In Praise of Podcasts, by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck

In Praise of Podcasts by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

In Praise of Podcasts by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

In praise of podcasts  A plethora of cliches often signposts a kernel of truth. Take your pick: women are good at multitasking; there aren’t enough hours in the day; I feel torn in two. Time is tight if you’re juggling motherhood and working. Add in any vague ambitions at maintaining broader interests or world awareness – and you’re stuffed, aren’t you?   I laugh at the idea of old me, feet up, reading the newspaper. I used to enjoy settling down with a good non-ficton book to really get myself informed on an issue. My friends and I debating over black coffee and pastries – we could have been in Paris.  For me, podcasts are an amazing shortcut. Simply browse, pick the ones that interest you, and subscribe to them. That ensures that I always have the latest edition on my iPod.  I always have an ear in when I commute. I’ve been known to stay listening if I’m walking with the buggy. It gives me an hour each day out of nowhere, that very nearly meets the definition of ‘me time’, At least, I feel a little more like ‘me’ if I can make informed contributions to conversations.   Being a London fan. I’m a big fan of BBC output. However, the real joy of the podcast can be in its accessibility to the amateur broadcaster. A high rated contributor on a podcast directory can often combine reasonable ‘listenable’ production values with some sharp commentary that the mainstream networks wouldn’t dare broadcast. I think that this anarchist iconoclast edge takes me back to my student days. We all know how seductive it is to feel young again.  For Christmas, we got a radio which can be connected to an MP3 player. Now the kids are getting into podcasts too. They enjoy all the songs and jokes from their favorite characters, without needing to be glued to the TV.   I thought I was being especially clever when I put a ‘tidy up song mix’ on my iPod. The kids loved it – they twirl and dance while I’m crouched on the floor picking up the toys. Never mind.  Some interesting sites to browse:   http://www.podcastblaster.com/directory/ http://www.podanza.com/podcasts/kids/

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

Victory for the Working Mom By: Julia Rodriguez

I am six months pregnant and counting. I am not only counting the days til I have my baby but also to the days where I no longer have to commute back and forth to my job. I finally decided that I will not go back to my 9-5 after I have my baby. Instead I will stay home and make my part time bookkeeping job into my full time job.

The next step was to tell my boss, which was nerve wrecking. Not only did I need to tell him about my plans but I wanted to ask him if he would like to be one of my clients. He always knew that I wanted to stay home with my children and work. He usually said comments to discourage me from bring up the topic. But I asked any way. I sat down with him and discussed the benefits of him allowing me to work from home. Since his office is small and business has slowed down, I told him that financially it would benefit him to allow me to work from home. Not only will his payroll expenses be reduced but also he would get extra free time from me. I figured if I spend two hours driving back and forth everyday, why not use that time to do some work for him with out him incurring any expenses. 

It took time for him to grow into the idea and really think about it. He did not say anything after our first meeting but then after several follow ups he told me he was ok with me doing some work for him at home. I was so happy to know that he took time to consider my decision and thrilled to know that more people are starting to support the idea of work from home moms.

Daycare Safety Checklist by Sandra Beck

by sandra beck

For many of us, the ability to have daycare in our homes is not possible as working mothers. First there is the expense, along with the location of your office – if its at home great, if not…what do you look for when you visit a prospective day center or family day care center.  Here is what I suggest and what I would look for:

1. Are there window guards and are fire exits well marked or obvious?

2. Are there security gates where needed?

3. Are the toys clean and in good condition with no sharp edges or broken pieces?

4. Is the food properly stored and refrigerated?

5. Are cleaning supplies locked away?

6. Are animals security?

7. Smoke alarms installed and a visible fire extinguisher present?

8. Are outside play areas enclosed and soft surfaced under equipment?

9. Do they have an emergency plan and are emergency numbers posted?

10. Do the other kids seem happy and content?

Of course this list is only a start. I found when looking at care for my children that my gut instinct was best of all. The one I ultimately chose was not the most state of the art – it was even kind of messy with the toys all over – but the kids were having a ball – the other mothers loved the center…the teachers/staff were fun, energetic and loving…and even though it didn’t get the highest marks on all my checklists and notes – my sons were happy, safe and loved going there…