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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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Time for each of them

Kids & Family, Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - November 30, 2010

With a schedule that would make lesser women scream, I am always up to my eyeballs in something or another. So it is getting increasingly hard to set aside that special time with each of my boys for the fun stuff.

I remember when my first son was about three before my second had arrived, we spent hours playing, seeking out parks & play houses. We would find enjoyment in just being with each other. I love it and  never realized that some day those times wouldn’t come easy, I would have to fight tooth & nail to steel away just moments of the  sweet time we once had.

S0 now we have two sons, and we are considering a third child in this crazy mix! So now I am left wondering how I am going to do it? I don’t just mean taking care of them, as far as I am concerned that part is pretty simple. I mean having a real relationship with each of my boys. One that they can value & take with them for life. I realize that they are not going to look back one day & say….”wow mom thanks for cooking & cleaning & working till the death to buy me 1000 Christmas presents”

I realize that it is tough but I also know that it is hard. How do you balance the demands of caring for your children in this economy  if you are a mom that has to work & being with them, I mean really present with them so that you have a foundational relationship?

I am old enough to know when to admit you don’t know and I am kinda at a loss here on this one.  Help, I need a to get this one tackled before we add a third baby into the mix, and I really want at third child.

Yours,

Juggling mama

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How to plan a halloween costume around a snow suite

Kids & Family - Jenna - October 31, 2009

We live in an area that is very unpredictable in terms of weather. Like two feet of snow Wednesday & Thursday school closed ect. Now 50’s & snow should all be gone by trick or treat hour!  You just never know!

As a mom in Colorado you have to be up for anything, and have several back up plans for just about everything:) Since you have to plan Easter & Halloween outfits around parkas & be ready to  break out the flip flops on Christmas to toss the football in the less than white 70 degree yard. You get to learn very early on that flexibility is the key to happiness here.

For me this was much easier said than done. As a child growing up in Wyoming I can remember wanting to (planing on) wearing a dress and sandals & we would get a major September storm! I spent hours toe to toe with my mother over my planned attire vs. the proper .- You see change really isn’t my thing.

t-bday-062 So when my boys made their blessed appearance in my house , and dawned the official trick or treating age you can imagine I had an” IDEA” as to how things were going to go. I had hand made costumes in mind that did not include the reality of Colorado Halloween weather or the shenanigans of candy hungry boys.

My fantasy included a warm but brisk fall night, perfectly lit by moonlight. The sound of crunching leaves & neighborhood kids. My two little hand made princes’s in toe as we collected countless mini chocolate bars in an orderly, polite fashion. Awww yes, a fall picture fit for Hallmark we would be.

Ok, so about half of you just said to yourself “Yeah lady let me know how that worked out for you” and the other half said”aww how perfect that is” I think you can guess which half of you have kids!

So it’s safe to say that my dreams  lasted about as long as the weather in Colorado (for those of you who don’t know that’s five minutes!)

october-036I have been doing the trick or treat thing for 6 years now with my brood & every year on October 31st we have different weather, the boys have different attitudes, temperaments, wellness, & levels of  interest. At first this was very hard for me. I adopted the “we are going to havea perfect Halloween darn it” attitude. -Um yeah it was well -less than fun:)  Now after six years, lots of advise, & personal growth. I just plan for anything.- If we go we go .Whatever you want to be you can be. And my personal favorite..as long as we are having fun we will do it, but the minute we are no longer into it, we are out of there!

 “Those of you that know me realize just how hard that is for me & acknowledge the gold medal I should receive for this feet. “

I am not saying I have thrown out my structure or given up entirely on some form of order. But a few wrecked tear filled Halloween’s have taught me more about being a good mother than I can put into words. For me it was the realization that the happiness and wellbeing of your children can be determined by the smiles on their faces. Not how many hours you spent making the perfect costume that you are now so freaked out they are going to ruin,  that no one is having any fun.  And the sharp reality that kids don’t care what other mothers think of you, just how much attention you give them.

december-143My boys are amazing and they teach me lessons that I never knew I needed to learn. Including how to plan a Halloween costume around a snow suite, only hit five houses, & still have fun.

 

 

So happy Halloween may you have full bags, big hearts, and warm feet!

-Jenna & The Boys

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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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Recalls

Kids & Family - Jenna - August 6, 2009

I know that like me, you may not have time to check all the latest toy & baby gear recalls , but when I got a notice from one of my most trusted sites I thought that maybe I should do a quick check & compile some of the most recent for you to be aware of as well!

header_recalls

After going to a ton of sites & getting way to much info to compile in a timely fashion I went to my old stand by Parenting.com recalls page They have a team of people that check all the latest recalls in all the categorys & keep us busy moms up to date!

This is by far the most organized & helpful page I have seen -and believe me I have check them all! 

So for  the latest recalls for your family  log on to the recall page at www.parenting.com & save yourself a head ache & maybe lead poisoning !recall_simplicityplayyard_200

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Kids & Family - Jenna - May 11, 2009

Recently we have all been hit by the economy in one way or another. Some in a big way, some just cutting back a little, but whatever your situation it seems that we all are a little more careful how we spend our money right now.  This has left lots of us trying to find extra ways to save.

In my quest to pinch pennies I came across this cool site from red box http://www.insideredbox.com
Redbox is one of those movie kiosks that are usually in a walmart, or outside a McDonald’s. They rent movies for $1 a day & you can return them at any other red box, which makes it really sweet for us busy moms!

This site gives you promo codes to get free movies:) which is even better for us busy moms who want to get some entertainment & keep our money in our pockets.

My boys & I rent these all the time on movie night, we get popcorn & candy & snuggle down. Total cost about $2.00 in snacks that are already in our cupboard. Compare that to a movie night out at $35 :)  Not to mention spreading a blnket & pillows on the floor with your kids for a movie is great bonding time & no one is going to scoul at you when the baby starts to cry or the toddler need to take a hotlap mid flick around the room :)

So check it out, gather your brood & stay in for cheap with out skimping on the fun!

happy movie night!

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