Tag Archive | Work from home Mom

On Staying Connected As a Working Mom By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

A few years ago I was taking my kids to the park on my day off.  I glanced over enviously at the group just ahead of us.  Three mothers pushing their prams, older children swirling around them so that you could not tell which child belonged to which mother.

When I was on maternity leave, I made sure to get myself out to at least one social activity every day.  Little by little, I picked up people who I enjoyed talking to.  In an emergency, I had some phone numbers of people who I’d trust to babysit. When we went out to the adirondackschirsgroups, my kids and I had a bit of a change of scene: there were other adults who could field her ‘Whyyyyy?’ questions. There were spare hands about to pick up her baby brother if my younger son was really wanting some uninterrupted time with me. When the baby didn’t sleep, my other son’s toilet training regressed and I was losing a grip on things,  I could spin it into a funny anecdote for the other mums. We’d all end up laughing together. I didn’t feel so alone any more.

When the time came to go back to work, I took great care to balance time spent with my children, time spent at work, time spent on domestic chores.  Stay-and-play and baby music was left behind as the time-fillers of my old life. I was no longer available during the week, and I presumed that I would have plenty of adult conversation at work.  I figured that home time was for gazing into my children’s eyes and doing wholesome activities together – not drinking coffee with other Mums.

It only took a few months to see that it wasn’t working. The challenges of my life had changed – but  it still felt like trying to hug an eel.  My mom patiently listened to the fourth retelling of the issue of the day.  It might be ‘do you think nursery appreciates the kids creative personality’. On another day we’d have ‘when my co-worker said motherhood suited me – was there an unwarranted subtext that he thinks I belong in the kitchen?’

 My mom and dad tried to meet the challenge – so did my sisters and brothers – all listening to all the circumstances and trying to put themself in my shoes, however, their views often seemed to boil down to ‘You work so hard. I wasn’t there, but I’m sure you handled it just right. The kids seem happy and well’.

It’s odd how, from another mother ‘your child seems happy and well’ feels like a qualified assessment, rather than sentimentalism.  ‘You work so hard’ sounds like empathy not exasperation. ‘I’m sure you handled it just right’ neatly morphs into ‘and you’d never guess what that so-and-so girl did when that happened to her’. Reassurance, sympathy and entertainment – never let your mum-friends and family go.





Mommy-Flu by Sandra Beck, Motherhood, Incorporated


By Sandra Beck


“Have you been feeling tired and run down” asked the doctor, palpating my neck glands.

I looked back at her blankly. “No, I don’t think so,” I finally answered “not when you take into account that my toddler is still waking three times a night, and I’m on my feet from dawn ‘til dusk.”

In December we got hit by a winter virus. My brother who was staying with me hollylay in bed shivering, unable to do more than weakly lift his hand to browse the internet.  It was ‘Man-flu’, no mistake.

He faintly acknowledged the breakfast I’d brought up to him, and watched me plump up the pillows. “I blame you, you know” he said thoughtfully “You’re never quite ill, you’re never quite well. I think you incubate mega-strength angry germs”. “Ill-schmill!” I muttered back under my breath. “I don’t have time to be ill”. Then I paused for a coughing fit that brought up a lump of phlegm the size of a golf ball.

The one time I’ve been incapacitated with illness was truly frightening. I was in charge of the kids, and I was afraid I’d drop the toddler and fall down the stairs myself.

I find I take very little time off work ‘sick’. Since I work at home 6 days a week – and have a work laptop – I find I always plump for eyestrain, carpel tunnel and a bad back from typing in bed while my kids sleep beside me. Perhaps I’m saving my Karma, anticipating needing time off with kiddy bugs and illnesses.

It worked against me when I was pregnant. I went through a patch mid-pregnancy where I was on bedrest. My view was ‘my pregnancy – my problem”.  I soldiered on as best as I could, not wanting to burden the company I worked for at the time with feeling guilty or worried about me. All I earned for my stoicism was a comment on my appraisal “I felt you took your foot off the gas a bit at that point” . Harumph. Heroism doesn’t pay.




My Working Mommy Morning

by Shannon Penrod

As a working mom I always find myself twisting a famous saying into, “I make plans and God laughs!”

Just when I think I have a schedule worked out that feeds, nurtures and satisfies all of my family’s needs, something throws the whole thing off. 

What I forget is that sometimes the thrown off schedule is much better than anything I could possibly put pen to.

Last week I took my son to day camp for the first time.  A new camp, a new behavioral therapist – my son is recovering from autism, new gymnastics facility, new everything.  I found myself feeling a little resentful as I took my son to camp. Because everything was so new I felt obligated to stay instead of returning home to work.  I decided to suck it up and hope for the best by bringing my yellow pad with me.

The truth is that it was a fabulous morning.  I sat on the bleachers and worked while my son had a blast.  I took breaks on a regular basis and managed to take a ton of pictures of my kid enjoying himself.  By the end of the morning I had accomplished more than I can typically get done in two mornings, and I had a ton of pictures for my son’s scrapbook.

Since then I have been taking my son and dropping him off.  I haven’t gotten as much done and I haven’t enjoyed my mornings as much as I did that day. So my new plan is to take a lap top with me  get a lot done and have fun while I’m doing it.  Did I say I have a plan?  I can hear God chuckling. 

Out Sourcing My Life by Shannon Penrod

by Shannon Penrod 

I’m a control freak, I admit it.  But I am trying to let go of some of the things that a) don’t matter and b) that I don’t do well to begin with.  Let’s just get it out there on the table.  I’m a terrible housekeeper and I suck at doing laundry.  I can do laundry. I’m capable of doing laundry.  But there is an element of time and attention that always seems to set me up for failure.  I seperate like a champ.  I load the washer as well as the next work from home mom – but then you have that long pause from when you turn on the washer until it’s time to throw it in the dryer.  This is the period of time when I go do something else and get so involved in whatever that is that – you guessed it – I forget about the laundry.  Sue me. I plead guilty. 

I don’t have the attention span to move mountains of laundry.  So I’m considering hiring someone to do it for me.  I know, I can almost hear all of you shouting, “Do it!”  I’ve done the math and I readily acknowledge that in the amount of time that I screw up my laundry so that my entire family walks around wrinkled, I could make 2 to 3 times what I would have to pay someone to do it correctly.  So I’m considering it.  Thing strong thoughts for me, so I can release the control!

A Thoroughly Modern Mom

When I was 6 all I wanted to be was a Mom.  It looked like a great gig.  It is a great gig!  Moms are the keepers of the fun.  I don’t know about your house but if I didn’t drag out the rubbermaid tub labeled Easter, fill all of the individual eggs, shop for basket fillers, buy extra eggs for dipping and plan a special dinner – well – it would just be another Sunday.  My husband and my son love all of the holiday things that I plan for them just like I loved all of the things my mother planned for me. 

I remember the first year after I had my son – I had gone back to work – much to my chagrin.  And every time a holiday came I felt rushed and resentful.  I didn’t have time to do all of the preparations, and if I made time to do them I was too tired to enjoy them.  It wasn’t at all what I thought being a mom was like.

It wasn’t until after I started working out of my home that I realized that being a mom has changed since my mother’s day.  And it had changed for the better.  Now I understand that I can work fewer hours and work from home, so that I have time to do all of the prep that I want to do.  OR I can have someone else do the prep if I don’t want to do it.  I can even have groceries delivered to my door if I don’t want to do the shopping.  I get to pick and choose what I want to do and what I want done but don’t particularly want to do myself. My mom never had it so good!

So What Do You Do?

Other Moms always want to know what I do.  I understand.  My son is in preschool and I am there so much of the time that I am now known as the class photographer.  So at first glance it looks like I am a lady of leisure, except on closer inspection the other moms can clearly see that I don’t fit that mold.  I don’t have the super leisure mom wardrobe – I’m in sweats – but it doesn’t say Juicy of anything else on my rear.  And whenever there is down time outside the classroom, I’m always making notes on a yellow legal pad.  So I get questions.  What do you do?  I’m a Virtual.  A what?  I’m a Virtual Assistant. I do virtually any office work that can be done using technology.  I write, edit, upload, download, market, blog, drip, webcast, podcast, research and update. I even make an occasional phone call.  And I do it all from home.

I have one of those jobs that is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle choice.  I don’t walk into an office at 9am with a Starbucks coffee and a danish, nor do I walk out at 5pm and let the cleaning crew take over.  I walk into my office at 7:30 to turn on my computer and then I walk right back out and start a load of laundry.  Before I get back to my computer I feed and clothe my 4 year old and whisk his little fanny over to preschool.  And I put the laundry in the washer into the dryer and start another load. 

When I do get back to my computer I sit down and ghost write blogs for some of the most successful business people in the world. Then its time for a……were you going to guess coffee break? Sorry, not in my lifestyle – no it’s time to fold the first load of laundry.  While the second load starts its tumble in the dryer I’m off to edit an article for another client. 

One of the many things I love about my job is the diverse array of jobs that come to me.  One day I might be researching the care and feeding of orchids and the next week I might be proofreading a book about the power of positive thinking.  I love the variety, but I also love having a steady income. 

I have a core group of clients that I have a weekly contract with.  So at the end of the month I have a certain amount of guaranteed income, and then I have the added income of the other jobs that I accept through out the month.

The best part about my job is that I get to be flexible with my time.  If I need to take off a morning to be at my son’s preschool – some one has to take the pictures of the Valentine’s Day Decorations- I can take that time without having to call anyone or plead with anybody.  Yes, it’s true I usually make up the time that night at around 8:20 when my son is sound asleep.  But I’m at home (and I can watch American Idol while I’m working!)  This is my life and this is what works for me. 

What do I do?  I’m a Virtual!  What do you do?