Archive for May, 2013

Cornered Office

with Mir Kamin

I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.

To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/

Writing a resume when you’ve got a “mom gap”

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Like talking but with more typing

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I’ve now been freelancing for so long, for the most part, I don’t even have to produce a resume when applying for a new gig—I can direct potential clients to my LinkedIn account and/or my website to check out my credentials. But it didn’t start that way, of course.

A decade ago, I started looking for work again when I’d been home with my kids for years. To make matters worse, I was looking for writing work when I had an employment history as an engineer. This was before LinkedIn, before I’d started blogging, before Facebook and Twitter and all the ways we make networking connections as a matter of course nowadays.

Every time I had to submit a resume I agonized over how to best “beef up” my actual qualifications, while somehow minimizing the gap in my work experience. Usually I would give up on the resume and try my best to write a cover letter that charmed potential employers into overlooking the fact that I’d spent the last three years at home, changing diapers. And I hadn’t thought about this for years until a friend of mine—a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom—asked me for help in writing a resume. “I don’t have any qualifications,” she fretted. But that’s not true; resumes are one part truth and one part flair, and that’s particularly true for folks in creative fields like writing.
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Planning, shmlanning

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Maybe I can pencil in a nap, Now I'm free(lancing)

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(Pictured here: Not me. You can tell it’s not me because she’s actually asleep.)

For all of my big talk about staying organized and learning to adapt to the ebb and flow of a flexible schedule, reality remains… messy. Sometimes I feel organized and capable and on top of things. Sometimes I feel like I am holding on by my teeth. And this week, I feel like one of those “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” books.

I’m a day late writing this post, even. Because this week somehow started off okay but quickly went off the rails, and I don’t even know how it happened. On Monday, things were under control. I was getting stuff done. Today—Friday—I foolishly tried to take a nap to maybe catch up and it didn’t go well. I would like to blame this on the school year ending, but it seems to me that a week like this one happens every so often no matter what I do. You’d think I could figure it out, by now. You would be wrong, though.
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When homeschooling in the home office hits a deadline

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Maybe I can pencil in a nap, Now I'm free(lancing)

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I love to tell people that we homeschool my son. Love it. Even with homeschooling becoming more commonplace, it always causes folks to do a double-take. I don’t look like a homeschooler. I am neither a religious fundamentalist nor an overly-crunchy earth-mama hippie type. (Neither are a lot of other homeschoolers. But you know, stereotypes abound.) My daughter attends public school. And so folks always seem surprised.

The best part, of course, is that people who would never dream of homeschooling (spoiler: I used to be one of those people who would never in a million years dream of homeschooling) have a lot of questions. And mostly those questions pertain to my son—is he keeping up? Does he ever see other kids? Doesn’t he miss regular school? The answers are yes, yes, and not really. (When someone outright asks me if my kid is socialized—like maybe I keep him in a box under my desk—I cannot be held responsible for any snarky response I might blurt out, though.)

We’ve eased into it; our first year, he went to a homeschooling collab nearly full-time. This year, he’s gone half-time. And the coming year? I think we’re going to do a full curriculum at home, finally. We’ve found our groove. But even when people know I work full-time from my home office, it’s rare that they’ll ask how I manage it.
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