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

Finding my road routine

Categories: A mother's work is never done, My boss is an idiot

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Last summer my family didn’t manage to get away at all, so we were hoping to schedule some R&R this summer to make up for it. We’re not a grand-vacation type of family—neither by design nor by wealth, ha—so our approach has always been a brief jaunt here, a day at the museum there, a camping weekend over there, etc. We seem to still be off our routine, though, and it took us until now (mid-July) to schedule a camping trip, and then our go-to campground was booked, so we decided to try someplace new.

Yesterday we pulled up and started setting up camp. We have a travel trailer, so it’s hardly “roughing it” in the conventional sense, but we do have to do some setup when we get here. The kids have their jobs—one of them wrangles the dog, the other one cranks down the stabilizers on the trailer—and my husband does the water and electric hookups while I pop out the tent top over our bed and get things arranged inside. Despite the long break since we last did all of this, it all went pretty quickly and soon camp was set.

I sat down at our little dinette in the trailer and plugged in my wireless modem. While it booted, I popped open my laptop. And then… I discovered that there is absolutely zero cellular signal at this campground. Um. Whoops?

That was… unplanned for.

Of course, this is when it’s good to have teenagers along with you; my daughter had located a functioning, open wifi network faster than I could consider if I’d need to leave the campground to get some work done. Good thing we let her bring her iPod, I guess.

The connection isn’t fantastic. It’s spotty and slow, and I’m trying to do as much work offline as I can, but at least I can get online, some, so that’s good. Ordinarily my vacation plan for when I have work that must be done is to get up before everyone else, but that didn’t happen today. (I was tired, okay? And the dog was sleeping on me. I didn’t want to disturb her. Yeah, that’s it.)

Overall I just feel slow and disorganized; I’ve fallen out of the rhythm of how I balance vacation and work. I keep setting little goals (”I’ll work on this for an hour, then go do something with the kids…”) and getting distracted or hungry or someone needs to climb over me to get something (the trailer isn’t that big, after all) or show me something cool or the dog hears another dog or or or or….

Tomorrow I’ll do better. Once again, I’m pretty sure I’ll have it all figured out just in time to go home.

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