Category: Working Mom

Finding Work From Home Opportunities

I seem to have become the ‘work from home’ go-to person among my friends, probably because I have worked from home for a few years and, despite the pros and cons, I really like it.  So as my friends realize that the 9-5 cubical stay isn’t the best option for their productivity and life, they are reaching out to me to figure out how to work for a company from their couch.

I’ve done some research and here are some resources for finding employers who hire virtual (or semi-virtual) staff. But first, understand these are not direct sale opportunities. While I can appreciate the hustle, a lot of us need stable income and a 401K.  Also, none of these are affiliate links.

{Flexjobs} I grew up hearing you should never have to pay for a job, but times are changing and Flexjobs is worth paying for because the listings have been vetted by real people. The interface is a little clunky, but it curates jobs that have a remote, part-time, freelance, or flexible option. They have plenty of payment options and a really easy cancellation policy for when you find that virtual job! Try using the code saving30 to save 30% off (if that doesn’t work, check RetailMeNot).

{Work From Home Mom Revolution} WFHMR is a blog that has a ton of resources and a free weekly email with a roundup of opportunities.

{FlexProfessional} If you are in the Washington DC or Boston area, you should check out FlexProfessional. They are a VA based placement agency focusing on companies looking for flexible staff. You will find a lot of part time or flexible hour positions and sometimes strictly teleworking. Their service is free and have great resources on re-entering the workforce.

{remoteok.io} Remote Ok is another great job board resource for finding remote work. It tends to be technical work for startups, but sometimes there are customer service and non-technical roles listed.

{Research} This one takes more work, but if you look at your local ‘Best Places to Work’ publications you can often find local companies who hire virtual staff (or at least provide some telework options).

As I mentioned, I am a big fan of alternate work environments, but it’s painfully obvious that companies and organizations are slow to adapt. Despite what research says!

Don’t forget to add me on LinkedIn!

Daily Movement, Minimal Sweating

This might come as a surprise to you, but I am super busy these days. Working full time, chasing a three year old, keeping the house in order and making time for self care even WITH a supportive, helpful husband is exhausting. And when my life gets crazy (so 90% of the time) exercise takes a backseat.

Also? I hate to sweat. So there’s that too.

But guess what! I figured out how to take time out of my work day to just move. Nothing too crazy like PX90 or Crossfit, but something to get me off my swivel chair and get the blood flowing without the sweat flowing. If you can relate, here are some ideas that have worked for me.

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{Walk it out} Taking a walk during your lunch break is probably the easiest and most common option to get moving during the day. Thankfully I work in a nice, safe office park where a lot of people are walking around the parking lots at lunch time. A quick 20 minute walk with a podcast not only gets the endorphins pumping but the fresh air and sunlight helps me come back to my desk focused. On hot days I break it up by walking around the perimeter of our building every time I go to the bathroom (which is often).

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{Online Gym 4 Me} I am a card carrying donor to a popular gym in my area. I went every so often, but I just can’t get comfortable there. I prefer to sweat in private. Which is why Online Gym 4 Me is PERFECT! It is both on demand classes and live classes. Since it is a London based company so the live class times aren’t always conducive to my schedule, I love the on demand options. At work I like the easier, shorter classes like Gentle Flow Yoga and Morning Salutations (the shorter classes are 15 minutes – perfect!). I just keep a yoga mat under my desk, shut the door, take off my shoes and let the instructor tell me what to do.

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{Booty Loops} A common tip I hear is to stand up and move while you are on the phone. WELL – I will do you one better. Booty Loops. I laughed out loud when the company sent me these simple fitness straps to try, but they are no joke. On conference calls, webinars and virtual training I just slide on a Booty Loop and do a few strengthening exercises.

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{Stretching} I mentioned how I keep a yoga mat under my desk, but I also keep a tennis ball in my drawer. Sometimes, when I feel my shoulders touching my ear lobes or my nose touch the desk because I am so hunched over – I stretch it out. I google some sort of variation of ‘office yoga’ and take a few minutes to relax. I use the tennis ball for trigger point massage and it is usually just the pick me up I need.

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There you have it! I am not going to drop dresses sizes in a few months by doing just this, but it makes a world of difference in my mood and productivity.

You guessed it, parts of this post are sponsored. But my use and review are real. Trust me, they can’t afford to buy a positive review from me. 

New Beginnings

Well hello old friend. It’s so nice to see you again! I realize I have been the worst blogger, because well … life. It’s funny – I am so busy living my life to write about it! It’s not a bad thing, but this is such a great outlet for me, I need to keep up with it.

What’s been going on with me? Well I started a new job! I have been here a week and was reflecting on the way in this morning.  I realized I never had the first day of work butterflies, which seems odd for me. I walked in feeling confident that this new job was a good move for me AND my family.

After commuting over an hour one way to the last job, I was convinced I was getting the worst of Mike. I was the one to wake up my non-morning friendly kid and rush out the door, and then the minute I would come home after a frustrating day and long drive it was the dinner, bath and bed rush. I had a solid 2 hours with Mike a day and I freaking hated it.

The past week I have gotten a happier Mike because I am a happier Mom. I still get the morning grumpies, but the evenings are more relaxed. I really enjoy what I am doing now, membership for a small association and have a lot of experience to share.

I feel like things are finally falling into place and I am rejuvenated.

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Well Hello Fresh!

I’ve seen so much hype around subscription boxes lately, I even tried RocksBox a few months ago and loved getting mail. So when my Momma and Sister-in-Law started raving about HelloFresh, I was cautiously interested. Here’s how it works:

Each week I log into my account and chose 3 meals out of the 5 they are offering. All the ingredients are surprisingly fresh as the name would lead you to believe. To be honest, the meals are not what I would normally pick if I was looking through a cookbook, but that’s half the fun. Did you know I like Tilapia? Me neither!  It also guarantees that my family is eating 3 healthy meals a week – which as a family with working parents is a huge win.

On Friday, when I chose my meals to be delivered, I come home to a well packed box with 3 bags. Each bag contains the measured ingredients  for each meal and a recipe card with pictures and detailed instructions. When I am ready to make a meal, I just pull out the recipe and bag and get started!

Each dish can be prepared in about 30 minutes and is more than enough for 2 people, and you can upgrade to 4 people if your family is bigger or you are having guests. Meat-free house? No biggie! They have veggie boxes too. The food is also kid friendly and Mikey is at the perfect age to instill a love of vegetables.

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It’s really nice to know that I have everything I need to make a meal. While I do my best meal planning and shopping, it was inevitable that I would go to make chicken for dinner and be out of chicken. Everything I need is right there from HelloFresh (but stock up on butter, oil and oddball utensils like a garlic press and zester). Here’s some of the meals we’ve had:

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Tangy Balsamic Potato Salad
Pan-Roasted Salmon with Mustard-Butter Bean Salad
Roasted Pork Chops with Onion Gravy & Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

Did I mention that each week is $69 and you are not locked in? Each week I am able to see what the menu is either opt in or opt out. I love not committing based on our tastes, schedule and budget.

The only downside is you still actually have to make the meal. But if you HAVE to make dinner (and Child Protective Services likes to know kids are eating), HelloFresh is the easiest and healthiest option. Want to try HelloFresh? Use this link to get $40 off your first box. I bet you couldn’t buy ingredients for 3 fresh, healthy meals for $29.

I signed up and after my first week, I told HelloFresh I was going to do a review, so they gave me a free week to try. They can’t afford to pay me for a good review, so I gave them an honest one.

#TDCLBlogtober14 – It’s in the Bag

I have so many purses, tote bags, big ones, small ones, new ones, old ones – yet I only use about 4 on a regular basis. I have three in rotation now depending on the situation. A Vera Bradley crossbody for when I am solo, a Thirty One Cindy Tote for when I am out with the kid and a Dakine Anya bag for work. I keep them all stocked with the necessities and just move my wallet. I did a blog post awhile back about what’s in my diaper bag a la US Weekly style, so I was excited when DC Ladies asked bloggers what is in their bag.

 

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1. Dakine Anya Tote: This bag rocks. It is made by an active outdoor company, so it is really durable and the print is ‘calm’ enough for a professional. I also like the multi-strap option – I can do a cross-body messenger style, or use the shoulder straps.

2. Great Bites Mints: These are my mints of choice because of the fun packaging. Plus one will kill bad breath for hours. You’ve been warned!

3. Erin Condren Life Planner: I am in love with this massive life planner. I can’t go to work without it even if I don’t have to check it daily. It’s pricey, but worth it for what I need. Stay tuned for a review in a few weeks!

4. Blissoma Stress Relief Serum: Remember HeadOn? I was obsessed with that stuff as a chronic headache sufferer. When I got pregnant and couldn’t take Advil Migraine we discovered HeadOn was discontinued. S. did some research and ordered me some of this magic. It zaps my headaches, smells amazing and is organic. It goes everywhere with me.

5. Wooden Teether: Last Christmas we got Mike a wooden teething ring with his name on it, because why the heck not. I can honestly say he never used it, but it goes with me in my bags. I am not sure why, but it is comforting to have something of his with me during the day.

6. Emerald Cinnamon Almonds: We are back on the low-carb eating train so almonds are a necessity. I pretty much have them stashed everywhere and LOVE the cinnamon variety. It gives me a sweet taste while keeping me on track.

So, what’s in your bag?

Why is it Not Friday?

Oh friends. Do you ever have one of those mornings where feel like it should be bed time by 9AM? That was my morning. Here’s how it went down in the W home this morning:

1AM – I suddenly find myself wide awake for no good reason. While staring at the ceiling, I realize I am hearing a helicopter.  We are in the flight path for a major airport, so airplanes are so common I don’t even register the noise anymore, but a helicopter is another story. I peek out the window and sure enough – slowly circling our area. I do a little research, since I am wide awake, on Twitter and the local news and I don’t see anything of note. Hey Fairfax County? I just signed up for your new alert system and marked about 45 things I want to be alerted about. Perhaps you should have an option to get a text or email if there is a homicidal manic running around my community.

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5:45AM – I wake up to spend some time chatting with S. before he leaves for work. The minute he leaves, Mike starts to stir. MUCH earlier than usual. I take a quick shower and get dressed.

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6:15AM – I get Mike up and dressed

6:30AM – I make Mike a bottle of milk, put it on the stove and while my back is turned he pulls it down and it is perfectly times to get milk on both of us head to toe. We both strip down and he finishes his milk while I try to find something else to wear. This would be easier if I had done my ‘special wash’ last night like I intended. Oh, and if it wasn’t 97% humidity today.

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7:00AM – We are ready to face the day! Mike and I take Charlie out for a walk, which is usually a fun and relaxing time. Again, the 97% humidity doesn’t make this morning much fun. Half way on our walk, we run into a neighbor and his dog Bacon (uh, huh). Apparently the dogs have met before and are nice to each other, but Bacon is high energy and is clearly in the mood to play. Charlie is friendly until he is ‘over it’ and I was worried about how all this energy would go with Mike standing next to me. Bacon’s Dad is chatting my ear off and then Charlie walks around Mike and knocks him over. Nothing terrible, but enough for him to burst into hysterical tears while the dogs are barking at each other and Bacon’s Dad continues his story about … something. I can’t even focus because I am waiting for my conversational ‘out’ while trying to get the point across that he needs to MOVE ALONG. It is easier to manage his one dog versus me trying to corral my circus. We finally move along. #awkward

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7:20AM – We get Charlie his Kong so we can slip out without the typical beagle drama. We didn’t get far before I was sweating everywhere and Charlie was howling.

7:30AM – Quick stop for gas.

7:35AM – Quick stop at the ATM.

7:45AM – A crow flies into my drivers side window. Yep. A crow. I saw it coming, but I assumed it would swoop up. Apparently not. That’s not like a bad omen or anything right?

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7:47AM – I  drop Mike off at daycare. He seemed in a good mood since we spent the morning talking about his friends and the fun stuff he will do (which seems to help with drop off). He walks up the driveway with purpose, marches down the sidewalk, crawls up the steps like he’s been doing it all his life and then they open the front door. My little guy quickly turns around like, ‘that was fun, let’s go Ma’. I turned him around in time to see the waterworks start. Being a working momma isn’t always fun.

7:55AM – Yay! Momma time. My 40 minute commute means loud music or my Mike O’Meara Show podcast. Then I saw the big board telling me my 8 mile trip down 66E to the Beltway will take me 27 minutes. Insert Napoleon Dynamite ‘uggggh’.

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8:45AM – Arrived safely to work but feel like I’ve been awake for twice as long as I actually have.

It can only go up from here right?

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Oh hey! There is still time to comment on my Bloomers bra fitting review post to win a BraMaid!

Working 9 to 5, What a Way to Make a Living

Well friends, I just finished my first week back to work after 3 months of catching up on bad TV. I have to say – it felt good. And exhausting. But good.

I am now an Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant, Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to the Executive Vice President of an insurance marketing company. This is obviously a pretty new position, so I am still figuring things out and cleaning out my desk from the last person who was part time. This is my first job where I am in the office five days a week and it is a big change. Thankfully the office is casual dress and I am hourly, so I work 40 hours a week and anything more is overtime. The staff is small since we are a remote office, about 10 people and then 150 or so at headquarters in Nebraska.

I know it’s only been a week, but I think S. and I are juggling pretty well. Nothing is really different for Mike, he is going to daycare about the same time and being picked up at the same time, the only change for him is more time with Dad, but that’s never ever a bad thing.  Dad gets him from daycare, gives him dinner and starts a bath, which is usually when I get home. I get a good hour or so with the guys before Mike hits the sack. He’s sleeping so much better these days which is helpful.

I was so worried about this transition. I knew MIke would be fine, but me – I wasn’t so confident. But it’s been pretty nice, at least for a week, to have lunch alone reading my book, interact with my coworkers, commute for 45 minutes listening to my podcasts … I know some days will be hard, but frankly the only time I miss Mike is when I see other kids about his age on the street. I just make up stories in my head that they are with their nannies or on vacation because their momma works 10 hours a day.

I also realized pretty quick that our time together is much more valuable now. When I get home, no cleaning or anything other than Mike until he goes to bed. Everything else can wait. And with his morning schedule I get a lot of snuggle and play time before going to work.

Side note – I thought it would be nice to stick a funny SomeEcard about being a working mom, but wow. There is so much crap about who has it harder – stay at home moms or work outside the home moms. I’m not going to play into the mommy wars, so I am going to leave you with something else 🙂

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“I Am Who I Am” – Gwennie P.

Does anyone feel sorry for Gwyneth Paltrow? I heard she stuck her pedicured-Louboutin-size-9 in her mouth again. This time it was comparing being blasted on the internet much like a solider in war. Well. Sort of. Maybe.

If you Google “Gwyneth Paltrow quotes” there are some great results about her insanely hilarious, out of touch ramblings about preferring death to canned cheese and Cup of Noodles, her looks going downhill when she turned 29 and how un-fun the glamorous Met Gala was. You probably remember the uproar from her quote about working mommas. I am pretty sure you didn’t miss it because the internet exploded, but here it is:

“I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,” said the polarizing Paltrow. “When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

As a working momma, I got prickly with this comment. But I have preached not judging other mommas (or daddies) for their decisions – as long as their kids are safe and relatively happy. Gwennie has proven time and time again with her hilariously embaressing comments that she is out of touch with commoners, such as myself, but I can’t get mad at her for this.

Sure, she has nannies. Sure, she only works long hours for short amounts of times. Sure, she probably has a chef and a maid and … whatever else I wish I had. But isn’t she away from her kids part of the day? Handing them over to someone to make sure they survive? She is putting the same amount of trust in that nanny that I put in our daycare provider. I still miss Mike daily and wonder if he misses me, if his needs are met too. Don’t all working mommas feel this way? Why does it matter if that momma is selling Avon, working part time at McDonalds, working high profile trials, finding a cure for cancer or starring in a summer blockbuster.

I guess what I am saying is a momma is a momma no matter how you look at it. An ‘easy’ lifestyle is relative and the grass is always greener.

But seriously, Gwen. Sweetie. Stop talking. You’ve been through a lot. Just hole up in your penthouse, take a nap and lay low. I’m sure your nanny has things under control.

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An Update

It’s Saturday right? Good grief what a week! Here’s all the details:

So I started my new job at Main Street Genome on Wednesday and it was a great day! I managed the commute in, but on the way home it took FOREVER. I had a bit of a meltdown, probably from being tired, overwhelmed and lost in DC (thank GPS. Thanks.). I pretty much had convinced myself that Mike would never know me because he would be asleep by the time I got home. And I didn’t want to be one of those mommas who work 12 hours a day and are content putting the baby to bed before catch the train back to the office. As always, that is fine for other mommas, but not me. S. talked me off the ledge (of course) and my commute times were much better the rest of the week. Plus, there is the idea that in a few weeks or so it won’t be every day. That, I can handle.

The team is great, and from what I gather no one discussed my wardrobe. Or if they did I didn’t hear about it. It’s very much a start up culture – jump in and get sh*t done. There’s a learning curve, but that’s to be expected. S. and I are figuring out the best organizational skills for us to be on top of things at home and he has been AH-MAZING this week picking up Mike from daycare, managing Charlie and getting as much done before I get home as possible. And doing it with a smile, which I always appreciate. We make a good team.

So … the diaper drive!

Guys, I am so humbled and touched by the outpouring of diapers, cash and notes. This idea sorta came out of nowhere, but the longer I look at the diapers stacked in my living room,the madder I get about the situation and the more fired up I get to do something. Especially every time I change Mike’s diaper. I can’t imagine ‘letting it dry out’ and putting it back on. I digress ….

As of today, I have 1252 diapers – almost half way to my goal! And if you count the $281 in donations I have, it might be safe to say I am more than half way there!! S. has been helping get the word out and Bruce Leshan from WUSA9 tweeted out the blog link and I got a few more hits. There is still more than a month to help me reach my goal of 3100 diapers by the end of March!
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