A Family Life Blog

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Work at home mom solutions

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - December 2, 2011

Lately I have found myself feeling like I live at my office…ok I do live at my office! I mean, I feel like my work is always there, I get no break. Working from home can be a big challenge, particularly with a family. When you are the one taking care of the house, the kids, the bills, the dog, and running a business all out of your house. It can feel like you live in an office with no break room.

Here are some tricks of the trade that I have learned along the way to help keep up, and separate work from play when they share the same address.

Make a work space

Your business needs its one square footage to grow. A place with a door that separates it from the rest of the house is best, but any barrier such as a screen will do. This will ensure you are focused when you work, and create a space that allows you to be at work when you are working, and leave it behind during family time. Not to mention keeping the kids out of that big presentation never hurt anyone. If you are short on space try a cool blind, revamp the garage, or even just a corner away from the rest of the family may work.

Plan out your day

Write it down & stick to it. Make sure you are not scheduling in too much, and only allow yourself to concentrate on the job at hand during any given time period. This practice will create peace and a sense of accomplishment when you have completed your tasks. Careful though, be realistic, and don’t freak out if things come up, and you can’t get it all done. Someone once told me, if you don’t get all the things on your list done, then your list was too long to begin with!

Get organized

This is the single most important thing to the success of a work at home mom, or any professional for that matter. Would you go to the office, and have your coffee pot next to your files, or your laundry on top of your desk? I don’t think so. Keeping things neat and tidy will help you stay on top of things, and create efficiency. You are busy enough why add that extra ten minutes of searching for an invoice, or project info to your load. To help me achieve this I use bins with labels to separate clients, and to prioritize. When it’s out in front of me I have to think less, I just grab the appropriate file and get to work.

Remember cluttered desk, cluttered mind:)

Take a time out

Remember keep your family life, and work life as separate as you can. We work at home moms walk a thin line, and wear a ton of hats. This can take a tole on us, and we can get burnt out really quickly. It is vital to our business, and family that we take care in not overworking just because the office is down the hall. Unlike other work situations our work is never done. There are no coffee breaks, or lunch hours. Our days are full of forgetting to eat, and cramming in as much work as we can before preschool release time, and while the baby naps. Try penciling in a coffee break in your daily to do list, any enjoy it! This five minutes may be the little sanity break you need to keep going. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it gets to be too much call in reinforcements! Try hiring a teen to come play with the kids while you work in the next room, or do the house work! Trust me a burnt out, over stressed mom is no good to anyone so don’t go there.

Hope these tips helped. If you have any ways you stay in the at home game, with out losing your mind let me know, I would love to hear some.

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I MADE IT

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - August 24, 2009

Well the big day has come and gone! The firsts day of Kindergarten that is :) After much anticipation & nerves over Immunizations, & school shoes on my sons part. And an overwhelming amount of dread on my part. My five year old little man and I took the kindergarten bull by the horns & came out unscathed.

Once I realized that all my attempts of stopping the day in it’s tracks were futile, I decided to embrace it with all I had. We started with a special dinner & dessert, picked out our clothes , & snuggled in after bath time with our favorite books. We prayed, talked, & giggled, and settled in for a peaceful night rest.

The morning came I rose early to make a special breakfast for my excited little man. He ate a huge pile of eggs, cinnamon roles, & blueberries. After my mom of  the year award winning breakfast ( may be the last so I had to give it it’s place) We were brushing, spiking , & dressing! cayds7cv

Before I knew it the time had come.  I snapped like a billion pictures and we were off. I walked hand in hand with my big guy, tissue in pocket (just in case) As we walked up to the playground we were met by  a swarm of his preschool friends from last year that made it into our class :) I had to pull my son back just to get a kiss.

BRRRRING there it was the bell. My budding 4.0er ran to the front of the line with a smile a mile wide on his face. Waving at me from the line as if to say ‘I got this Mom” ” I am all grown now” I looked around & no other moms were loosing it so I choked back my tears. There was no way I was going to be the only one bubbling like a baby.

Then like a band aid being ripped off it was over. All the little ones filed in & there us moms were standing around the fence looking at each other like a cow at a new gate. Not sure what to do now. I gathered up my youngest son and headed home.

Safe in the confines of my own living room I allowed myself a few or more tears. After all I had them saved up it would be a waste not to use them. My youngest son was a little confused as to why we had come home with out his brother, and he kept asking about him & pointing in the direction of the school.

Before we knew it time was up & we got to go get our little student. He was so excited & full of things to tell mom. We settled in to lunch and I was sure he had forgotten all about our his fears & graduated from boy to man in just three short hours. It was true my baby was all grown up.

Lost in my observation I felt a tug on my shirt & my little 30 year old was there at  my side climbing into my lap. My heart filled ” He does still need me” and suddenly all was right with the universe again.

It will never be the same now that we have started school, but it is OK. Just different & new & exciting. All I know is this…..You can live through sending your first child to Kindergarten & Yes it really does go that fast.

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managing the family calendar

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - February 10, 2009

My friend, Jenny, has three kids–each with a an overly-full schedule of activities that keep her running in several directions at once. Plus she works part-time and helps manage her husband’s business.

She’s very organized–every morning she writes out and hangs up a sign in the kitchen with each family member’s activities for the day and who has to be where, when, so everyone’s on the same page and no one forgets (which still happens often).

While that’s a great idea, lots of times you’re not at home, and it’s hard for everyone to remember where they need to be next.

Well, I jucalendarst told her about a cool new site for women, shesconnected.com, that lets you create and post shared calendars so everyone in your family always stays updated. You can add events and to-dos for yourself, your husband, kids, friends, or members of any groups you belong to. And you can access it from anywhere you are: your computer, cell phone or other wireless device. And even if some people in your circle aren’t exactly tech savvy, you can print out copies that they can take with them.

This is just the greatest idea. If you have to manage multiple people’s time (like most of us juggling mamas do), I’m sure it will make everyone’s lives easier!

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