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Entrepreneur Mom

with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website,

Childcare Revisted

Categories: Uncategorized


I’ve blogged before about the babysitter and daycare situation in the rural community in Alaska where I live. There is no organized daycare, trusted babysitters are few and far between, and I’m back to square one, looking for a new sitter as the one who said she could work for us through the winter decided to move out of town.

While we have a pretty good lead from our previous childcare provider who we trusted implicitly (she is also moving out of town), there is a window of at least a week where I’m without any viable options. If you work from home, then you have a sense of what I must be feeling. And frankly, I thought I’d be freaking out more than I am. But somehow, I have found this zen space, and I’m just going with the flow, as challenging as it is.

Yes, she was incredibly good yesterday for the entire time I was listening in on an hour and a half conference call prepping for an important client presentation.

But yes, she also began speaking to me when - and only when - I was asked to give input on the call and began speaking into the phone. It seemed to be the signal to her to start talking to me, nonstop, getting louder and louder as I tried to move into another room and ended up practically squashed behind the refrigerator in the kitchen to muffle her “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”

My business partner said that she heard my daughter in the background. All I could do was apologize, but I couldn’t promise it wouldn’t happen later this week on the actual client call and major presentation. How can I? The only way I could would be locking said talkative daughter in her room, and going to the other side of the house so as not to hear her screams.

Tempting. But that is so un-zen.

So in my total zenness of being, I somehow calmly let my husband know of my predicament. Calmly, so as not to stir up any stress between us. And he called a little while ago to say he thinks he can come home for lunch to help with our daughter while I’m on my call.

That man deserves some sex tonight! He is currently on the top of my Hero list. Of course, if things get crazy at work for him, he might not make it over to the house, but the fact that he offered gives me hope that he is finally understanding how important my company is despite the fact that I run it from home. Score!

If the possible childcare arrangement doesn’t pan out, I am not sure how long my attitude will remain zen-like. We’re waiting to see if she gets into Head Start for the Fall (our community is considered rural and under-resourced so usually all the children in the area can go to Head Start). She’s currently on the waiting list. That will be about 3 hours a day. At least it’s something.

In the meanwhile, I’m getting very creative with art projects and outdoor activities while the weather still permits. Today was paint the toilet paper rolls, glue pasta and leaves on paper, and hopscotch and count up to the number 50. Tomorrow, I’m thinking papier-mache.

What are some of your indoor and outdoor creative activity ideas you use to keep the kids busy while you’re trying to work at home? I’m all ears!

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6 comments so far...

  • Indoor: puzzles, drawing/writing, Kids’ music videos, colorform-type playsets, etc. I keep many such items in my room where they don’t have regular access to it, so it’s a treat and keeps them occupied for a while. However, now that they are 2.5, they are really good at keeping themselves happily busy. I can tell them I have a call and they have to play quietly for xx minutes, and they do pretty well. If its a particularly long call, I will promise them something nice afterward, such as a picnic at the park; that keeps them focused. However, it is true that they always seem to be singing joyously when I need to turn the mute off during a conference call. I figure, if people don’t like it, too bad.

    SKL  |  August 13th, 2009 at 12:53 am

  • Before I got an au pair, I called that the popsicle strategy. I worked from home with part-time help, and if help was not scheduled when I had a conference call, I mapped out my day so that we would hit the park and get the energy out, avoid TV and anything electronic, until 5 minutes before a call would start, and then I would pull out popsicle, because it was safe for my daughter to eat, and could be eaten alongside Elmo or Barney. It usually worked. We have an au pair now, thru Cultural Care Au Pair, which has made my life much easier. I can schedule my calls, and the help I have more easily. I know you have few options in a place as remote as Alaska. I wish you the very best. Kids are 4 and 6 now. It does get easier, working for home, an au pair has made our situation, much, much easier, however.

    tracy cota  |  August 13th, 2009 at 5:22 am

  • I’m in the same predicament - except that the cost here is what’s limiting our options. I’ll have to work from home while caring for our toddler…and unfortunately, M won’t be able to be here (his leaving is what’s put us in this spot) for at least 10 days…maybe longer.

    Good luck.

    Phe  |  August 13th, 2009 at 11:47 am

  • My daughter also has the thought that as soon as I start talking on the phone she gets to start talking too. And no amount of “shushing” works unless I get mad, and then, of course, tears start.

    A second TV was what I finally found useful. I keep it off 90% of the time, but if I have an important call she can have the special treat of a video UPSTAIRS, away from me. Any thumps from her dancing with the characters can be explained away by the townhome next door :)

    Mich  |  August 13th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

  • In this economy, nobody wants or needs a babysitting job?! Of course you don’t want just anyone watching your child but I’m amazed that finding adequate childcare is still the issue it was for me 15 years ago. There are no teenagers to hire during the day, in the summer at least, until you possibly get into Head Start? I had some very good summer babysitters of high school/college age that were great with my kids. It seems like teenagers and college students are always looking to make some extra money - and if you’re going to be in the house as well to supervise - it seems like it might be a safe option to try.

    Pop and Ice  |  August 14th, 2009 at 2:35 am

  • Pop and Ice - you must be from a place where there are actually people! The truth is that all the teens have their summer jobs and no amount of bribing will get them to switch jobs. At this stage, they’ll all be starting school soon anyway.

    Many kids are homeschooled as well so are “off the radar” and you have to know someone who knows someone in order to find them. I just got the number for a new person in town who might be available as well as another homeschooled teen who might also be able.

    Aliza  |  August 17th, 2009 at 4:15 pm