Tag Archives: advice

4 Things I’ve Done To Stay Sane While Working From Home 14 Years

I’ve been a work from home mom for 14 years and the most important thing I have learned is that working from home is not easy as people think. When I meet someone and I tell them that I run my business from home, most of them suggest that suggest that working from home must make life as a parent so much easier. That’s not always the case; it certainly hasn’t been for me.  I feel very lucky that I have been able to run my business from home but it takes a lot of discipline, consistency and structure.

Learn more about me and my life as a work from home mom and read more articles in my Not A Perfect Parent series here

Do you have a tip for work from home parents? Leave your tip in the comments below.

While working from home makes it easier for me to be available for my kids and I don’t have to spend money  on gas, work clothes or child care, I have also learned that it’s easy to be sidetracked by the needs and wants of my kids as well as dishes piling up in the sink, laundry that needs to be done, and the dog needing to go out.

In the beginning when I first started working from home 14 years ago, I worked at the kitchen table and I allowed myself to be interrupted during work hours, and got easily distracted.   I didn’t set ground rules for my husband or son but over time I figured out some things to do that made working from home much easier.

Here are 4 tips that have helped me stay sane while working from home

1. Choose & De-clutter Your Home Office Space

It’s important you have a designated area to call your home office. Choose a room or area in your home where you can be free of distractions. Make sure the room you pick has a door you can shut and isn’t near where the television may be set at top volume in the next room. Clean your chosen room until it is spotless and clutter free. You don’t want to look around your office and see laundry that needs folding or toys that your kids should have put away.

2. Personalize Your Home Office

de-clutter and organize your home office

When you choose to work from home, it’s important that you feel you are actually going to work when you step into your home office. If you don’t provide yourself with a relaxing atmosphere that is conducive to your work, then you may find yourself constantly finding reasons to leave your office instead of getting your work done. Consider giving the room a nice new paint job, adding nice pictures to the wall and finding something that will encourage you to work while masking any noise your family may be making in other areas of the home.  If you enjoy music, consider listening to Internet music such as Pandora’s Spa station on channel 77. You might also enjoy one of those little waterfall machines for some soothing background sounds.  I have a tiny waterfall in my office and love it!

3. Keep Regular Work Hours

You are much more likely to have a successful work day if you keep to a regular schedule. If possible, you should do your work when your children are away at school. Even when your children are home, you shouldn’t feel bad about posting your work hours on your closed door and explaining to your children you are not to be bothered during those hours unless there is an emergency. You can make it easier on them by doing something special for them on occasion. Consider adding a bistro table with chairs near the window in your home office and invite the family in to have lunch with you once a week. Stick to that once a week schedule though and don’t let the kids color or play games on the table… or you’ll have them knocking on your office door with a cup of tea every chance they get. Speaking from experience. 🙂

4. Take Scheduled Breaks

Remember, part of the reason you have decided to work from home is to spend more time with your children. Be sure to take normal breaks during your work day when you can visit with your children. Make breakfast with them before your work day begins, and try to do special outings once a week such as a picnic at the park or roller skating. Enjoy your children as much as you can because they grow up fast.  If your kids are in school, considering scheduling a visit to your child’s lunch one day a week.  That always makes my daughter’s day!

You never know, maybe you’ll be surprised by what your child does for you while you ‘re taking a break such as showing off how her brother taught her to ride a longboard (middle photo)!

Work from home breaks

These are just a few ways you can thrive as a work from home parent.

Everyone is dealing with a different situation, and you will have to work with a little trial and error until you find exactly what works best for you and your family. Don’t give up if it doesn’t work out well at first. Just try to remember that eventually everything will click into a new routine that works out great for everyone.

– Alicia

Do you have a work from home tip?  Please share it below!



Parenting Advice: How Do I Help My Child Who Has Night Terrors?

My daughter has had what her pediatrician calls ‘night terrors’ for years.

Ever since she was about two years old and about 2 hours after she falls asleep, she will start stirring and then begin whimpering, sometimes she’ll cry out, and sometimes she’ll scream.  She usually sits up and rocks back and forth while she’s sitting up during a night terror, which I have to admit, kind of freaks me out. There are usually no tears involved and she doesn’t remember it the next morning.

child bedroomThese are apparently signs of night terrors.  My question for the pediatrician was, what on earth could she be having night terrors about at such a young age?

Her answer.. she could be having night terrors about anything.

Dropping a cup, falling down the stairs, bumping into a wall, shutting her finger in a cabinet door, Tom & Jerry fighting, or Sponge Bob Square Pants.. in general.  I would have night terrors if I watched that show.  Sheesh.

What we tried:

My husband and I used to try to wake her up and comfort her but quickly learned that made it worse.  She would get angry and would shove us and things would escalate.   It was hard to let her go through a night terror alone but her pediatrician told us to not go in her room while she was having a night terror so we backed off.

What we do now:

These are just a few things that we do that we think helps her sleep comfortably at night.  Doing these things does not stop night terrors from happening.

  • We always keep the baby video monitor on at night so we can see her.
  • We do NOT go into her room.
    Her pediatrician told us that it is important to not go into her room while she’s having a night terror unless she is in danger of hurting herself by falling off of her bed or hitting her head on the bookshelf behind her bed.  We keep a close eye on the video baby monitor at night to make sure that during a night terror, she’s not about the fall off the bed or hurt herself.
  • We never try to wake her during a night terror.
  • Sometimes, the next morning, we’ll ask her if she remembers any dreams, to gauge how much of an impact the night terror had on her.   Every once in a while she’ll remember having a dream but has rarely remembered details of a bad dream.
  • We keep a sound machine on in her room to block all outside noises in hopes of keeping her in a deep sleep.
  • Up until very recently we had bed rails on both sides of her bed so she wouldn’t rock herself off the bed during a night terror.  We took the bed rails off about six months ago and she’s keeping herself on her bed just fine, so far.  Fingers crossed.
  • We use a light blocking shade on her window so if she does wake up in the middle of the night, the outside lights won’t disturb her.
According to WebMD, night terrors usually peak at around 3 1/2 years old. She’s 6-years-old and they are definitely slowing down but I feel terrible that she still experiences night terrors at all.  They also state that night terrors usually happen about 90 minutes after the child falls asleep.
If your child has night terrors you will find some valuable information on the whats and whys of night terrors here on WebMD.

Do you have any night terror tips you’d like to share with me?

My questions to you is did or does your child have night terrors?
If so, how long did these night terrors go on and did you do anything to try to stop them?

Do you do something that you feel helps keep your child from having night terrors?


I am not affiliated with WedMD.  I found that WebMD provides good information about night terrors but I do not endorse WebMD nor am I compensated by WebMD.

My Road Trip Survival Guide – How I Survived 8 Hour Road Trips Alone with Two Kids

My kids are 12 and 5 years old.  They love each other but aren’t the best of friends. I’m sure you understand if you have kids who are far apart in age.  My 12 year old hardly acknowledges that my 5 year old exists and when he does it’s often to correct her, poke at her, or ask her to do something for him.

Therefor, I was pretty nervous about driving the kids to Florida (from our home in Atlanta) alone as I’ve never driven the kids to Florida by myself before and I never know when they are going to be at each other’s throats. Well not really but you know what I mean.   My husband and parents didn’t want me to drive the kids by myself in case something happened with the car or the kids during the drive.  And me being the paranoid girl that I am, I think about the kids getting car sick (it’s happened before!), getting a flat tire, accidents, traffic, the rushed need for a restroom when there’s none around, etc and those thoughts usually consume me.  However, I didn’t let those thoughts consume me this time.  Mostly because I was consumed with the fact that my 5 year old and I had just gone to urgent care the day before our trip and I found out that I had a sinus infection requiring anti-biotics and steroids and she had something that required anti-biotics.  I was just hoping to get there and to feel better the next day.  Little did I know that 7 days later, I’d be fighting a different infection and working from bed.

Welcome to Florida

Here are a few things that I did to ensure that I and the kids had a fun, safe, happy, and successful 8 hour road trip to Florida and back last week:

Keep them Fed!

  • Packed lots of cups of water
  • Brought pre-portioned Snacks
  • Included fruits & veggies in their snack bags
  • Plastic plates and utensils

Keep things Fun!

  • Activity Tray for each child
  • DVD’s that they agreed on before hand
  • iPad – full charged with a few new apps installed
  • Blank paper to color and write on
  • Pencil box with crayons and colored pencils
  • Sticker books (for my 5 year old)
  • Nook Color (for my 12 year old)
  • Wireless headphones for kids

Keep the kids and car Clean!

  • Trash bag for each child to use
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Baby wipes
  • Hand towel for each child
  • Full size towel for each child (cover with while eating)
  • Toilet seat covers (a MUST for rest area and restaurant restrooms!)

Keep the kids Comfortable!

  • Pillow Pets
  • Sun Shades
  • Blankets
  • Dramamine (my daughter gets car sick)


Preparing for the trip:

A week before departure:

  • Had oil changed and tires rotated
  • I signed up for AAA
  • Made sure I had all necessary safety equipment and manuals in the car
  • Talked to my son about being responsible for his sister while I was driving and what that meant.  My son is a Boy Scout and prides himself on being able to handle many emergency situations (which he’s had to do in the past) so my family and I felt comfortable that he could help in the case of a flat tire or other minor vehicular emergency but I needed to make sure that he understood that I wouldn’t be able to stop when my daughter needed a drink, snack, or a toy and that he needed to help out with her while I was driving.
  • Bought sun shades for the kids windows
  • Bought activity trays for the kids to use during the trip

Two days before departure:

  • Pack clothes
  • Pack each child a bag with activities to do in the car
  • Washed and set out two cups for each of us to use during the trip
  • I chose and packed DVD’s for the kids to watch in the car
  • I downloaded podcasts (love Leo Laporte’s tech podcasts!) for me to listen to while the kids watched a movie (via their wireless headphones)
  • Pack medications
  • I packed a ‘throw up kit’ containing a tupperware bowl, extra clothes, and wipes.  My daughter gets car sick.

The night before departure:

  • Pack toiletries
  • Pack kid’s bedtime books
  • Put everything in the car
  • Programed our destination in my iPhone GPS app
  • Pack important daily medications
Morning of departure:
  • Put kid’s blankets and pillow pets in the car
  • I put a DVD in the player so I wouldn’t have to pull over to put one in
  • Filled one cup with ice and water for each of us
  • Filled the cooler with fruits, veggies, cheese strings, ice, and drinks
  • Packed chargers for phones, camera, and iPad

Off we went!

The trip started with a few games of I Spy and then we listened to some Kidz Bop.  The kids didn’t ask to watch a movie or play on the iPad for the first hour and half.. almost two hours.  Impressive for a road trip if you ask me.  To be hontest, I was just waiting for them to We stopped three times.  Twice at rest stops and once at a McDonalds.  I was bummed that I couldn’t find a Chick-Fil-A around lunchtime so next time I will plan our lunch stop before leaving the house.  My son slept on and off during the trip but my daughter who is not a fan of sleeping during road trips finally fell asleep about an hour from Orlando.  She played with her sticker books and watched quite a bit of Curious George but she was happy and I was able to drive safely and distraction free, getting us to our destination safely.

I hope my road trip survival guide helps you on your next road trip adventure whether you’re travelling alone or with a spouse with your kids.

Do you have any road trip tips to share with our readers?  Tell us in the comments below.

Alicia Hagan, Editor

Working From Home, Talking on the Phone, All While My 5 Year Old is With Me

Work from home and talk on the phoneMy Mom brought my five year old two activity toys this morning.  My mom felt bad because she had planned on taking my daughter hiking this morning at 9:30 but while she (my mom) was on the treadmill this morning, she remembered that she has class and can’t take my daughter hiking after all.  She was going to take my daughter hiking because I have an 11am conference call and she knows that it’s difficult for me to talk on the phone when my daughter is with me.

Despite the fact that she’s five years old she doesn’t seem to understand the concept of not interrupting.  I’ve been telling her for years to not interrupt me while I’m on the phone, she thinks that tapping on my leg repeatedly or asking me a ‘very important’ question isn’t interrupting.

How I’m going to try to get my five year old to not interrupt me while I’m on my conference call today:

  • I will set up a play space for her with the new activities that my mom brought over for her this morning.  The activities involve coloring and easy things that she should be able to do by herself.
  • I am going to make a “No Talking!” sign which I will hold up whenever my daughter looks like she’s going to interrupt me while I’m on the phone.
  • I will talk to her before the phone call and explain to her that she is not to interrupt me and that there will be consequences if she does.  What those consequences are yet, I don’t know.
  • I will probably also reward her if she doesn’t interrupt me at all during the phone call.
Conference and business calls are an almost daily occurrence for me but, either my husband or son are usually here to watch or entertain my daughter while I’m on the phone so that helps and is what makes today’s call a little different.  Neither of them are here so I don’t have anyone to watch her.  I told my mom this morning that she is like a little suction cup.. she’s stuck to me all of the time, so trying to get her to spend 30 minutes doing something by herself will be quite a feat but I know she can do it and I hope to report back to you with good news!

Add Your Tips!

If you work from home and have to talk on the phone for business, how do you keep your child from interrupting your phone conversations?
Alicia Hagan, Editor

Daughter has Pnuemonia, I have Bronchitis. I Need Advice!

Daughter on breathing treatment

I am exhausted.  I want to go to bed but I can’t.  I have two kids to take care of, a house to keep, and work to do.  On top of all of that, one of my kids, my 4 year old, has Pneumonia and I have Bronchitis.  WHYYYY?  I don’t have time for this and I feel terrible for my daughter.

The poor thing is coughing, stuffy, runny, hot, cold, tired, hyper.  She doesn’t know which way to turn, what to eat, or drink, or when to open and close her eyes.

This is one of those days when I’m so grateful that I work from home.  At least I’m able to take care of my kids when they’re sick but it can be very difficult to take care of myself.  The kids just don’t understand that Mom needs some down time when she’s not feeling well and so it doesn’t happen, then I get all cranky by about 2pm.

What do you do when both you and your child are home sick? Do you plant yourselves on the couch and watch TV all day?  Do you try to find things to do like coloring books, stickers, etc?
I’m curious!  Please tell me in the comments below.  Thanks!

Alicia Hagan, Mom Blog editor