Working Mom’s Survival Kit

Woman at computerToday is my first “normal” day back at work (from my home office) since Chris came home. Now, under ideal circumstances (everyone but me — including the dog — out of the house for an eight-hour stretch, the house clean and crock pot simmering), I enjoy working from home. However, since “ideal circumstances” seldom present themselves more than once a decade, I tend to do best in an actual office.

For the next six months or so, however, DH and I will be working from home. Together. In theory, that’s great — lunch together every day, able to greet both kids when they come home from school, etc. In reality, DH is very chatty in the morning, and our nanny hasn’t yet figured out how to hog-tie and duct-tape her charges so they don’t phone-bomb every conference call.

And so, my “Mommy’s Working” survival kit includes:

 Preemptive morning routine. When I need a few moments of peace and quiet first thing in the morning, I put little notes next to each breakfast plate and set up coffee maker. While I don’t actually drink the stuff, it draws DH downstairs and away from my home office, which is just steps away from our bedroom door. (DH tends to be chatty in the morning.) If I really need to work, I add bacon.

*  “Quiet Zone” visuals with candy jar. If they ignore the fact that my supersized headphones are ON, I point to the little “stop sign” posted just above my head.  If they tiptoe past, they can take a little treat from the corner of my desk. If not, I pelt them with marshmallows.

*  Walk Around the Block at Noon. Because all work and no play is … well, what’s the point? So after a quick bite, Craig and I usually take the dog out to the park. Gives us a bit of exercise, and ensures that Maddie doesn’t spend the afternoon underfoot.

*  Three o’clock break time. Because, let’s face it, work goes much smoother if a mom knows when to close the computer for a few minutes. Greet children coming home from school, go through homework assignments, do a little dinner prep (or laundry shuffling) as they eat their snack, and head back upstairs confident that they are in good hands until suppertime. Honestly, it’s the best-spent fifteen minutes of the day!

What’s in your kit?

Heidi Hess Saxton, new Editorial Director at Ascension Press,  is the author of Raising Up Mommy and My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories. Heidi blogs at A Rosary for my GPS, an online resource for mothers of adopted, fostered, and special needs children. She and her husband foster-adopted their two children in 2002.

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