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5 real-life tips from a real-life Momma who works from home

How (not) to get stuff done when your kids are underfoot

by Adrienne Ehlert Bashista  |  1153 views  |  1 comment  |      Rate this now! 

If you’ve come here for real advice, like the kind you’d get in Working Mother magazine, you won’t get it. But maybe the advice in those kind of magazines or working mommy websites should be more like the advice I'm about to give you. Down and dirty. Realistic. On the verge of hysteria.

1.) Work in a designated space. Preferably an office, or at least a room that has a door. And don’t use the kitchen. Do not do something incredibly important involving thousands of dollars worth of electronics at the table during lunch. You guessed it -- this happened to my husband yesterday. The scream when a gallon of milk got spilled on a laptop, a fancy construction calculator, and deck plans for a new client was heard ’round the world -- or at least heard in the shower, where I was enjoying some “me” time (I'd like a word with the joker who decided basic hygeine should count as time to oneself... but I digress). One leg is shaved, the other is not. At least it’s winter and I own lots of pants!

2.) Multitask efficiently. Don’t expect to be able to write a coherent sentence when the 6-year old is talking in one of your ears about what he did and didn’t like about every single dinner you made over the past month and the 9-year-old is recounting the plot of "Mall Cop" in the other.

3.) Dress comfortably, but professionally. You can wear your pajamas all day, but should you? Umm… yes. Of course you should. But in some cases that means wear layers. If you’re trying to keep your heating bills down by setting the thermostat in your 100-year-old house at 63 degrees, you will have to wear pajama pants under your nightgown and a fleece jacket on top of it. And never forget your ski cap.

4.) Minimize distractions. Put the kids in front of the TV, one, send your husband somewhere else -- preferably out to his own job -- and quit looking at Facebook and Salon.com and GoFugYourself, whatever you do! As Steve Pavlove, a work/life guru suggests, the best work is done when you’re "in the zone" -- this can only be acheived through uninterrupted time. So go for it -- you have at least eight minutes before the kids want something to eat!

5.) When you’re done working for the day, shut the door to your home office. Maintain clear boundaries between work and home. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I thought that was the point of working from home actually -- flexibility and the pleasure of doing laundry while at work. It’s not like anyone else in my house recognizes that I’m “at work” when I’m in “my office.” So why should I recognize that? Besides, if I shut the door to the office I wouldn’t be able to see what my son was doing on Poptropica or Club Penguin or whatever social-networking-for-9-year-olds website he’s currently into.

About the Author

Adrienne Bashista is a mother, a wife, works full-time, and runs a d.i.y. small press in her "free" time. Read her blog on work/life balance, small presses, and other stuff at http://www.idea-girl.com

Read more by Adrienne Ehlert Bashista

1 comment so far...

  • I've been breaking rule #1 like mad lately. And my office consists of a laundry basket full of my things that I call "my desk" and either the kitchen table or the bed (it used to be the livingroom table but someone has learned to stand lately). This advice is great - I just hope I can take it to heart one of these days.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by meli-mello on 26th January 2009

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