Wailings Of A Work At Home Mom

The Wild and Wacky World of WAHMs!


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Bringing up Baby While Working

Imagine my baby sleeping like that on my lap while I'm working on my laptop. That was my work at home life 2 years ago.

Imagine my baby sleeping like that on my lap while I’m working on my laptop. That was my work at home life 2 years ago.

It feels like yesterday when my daughter was still a baby and she used to sleep on my lap as I worked in front of the computer.

Those were the good old days.

Any sleep deprived mom would tell you that a sleeping baby is the best present you can give to any mom. And as difficult as it was to balance a baby on my lap while trying to  write three 500 word articles on car insurance, I still went for it and persevered. To this day my daughter still likes to sleep on my lap and she can be lulled to sleep my sound of me typing away on a keyboard.

Working with a new baby was tough. Even though I had pockets of time that allowed me to have a part-time writing job, it was hard because we didn’t have any help. My husband helped out a lot with the chores but most of the child-rearing was still my responsibility.

Another thing that always kept me on my toes is my baby’s ever changing schedule. It’s not that she didn’t have a regular routine. It’s just that her routine  changed as she continued to grow. I had to adjust when her nap times became shorter. I had to adjust when she started learning how to sit up, crawl, call for attention, walk, etc.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. You’ll need that village, especially if you’re a working mom. I’m not saying it’s impossible to do it on your own. It is possible because I’ve done it and I know a lot of moms who have done and are doing the same thing. All I’m saying is that working with a baby isn’t going to be easy. You have to be healthy and in the right frame of mind. You have to be strict in keeping routines but be flexible enough to adapt to changes. You have to learn how to ask for help, be open to accepting any help available, and let other people contribute to parenting.

As difficult as it was, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Working from home, even  with the baby gave me a lot of flexibility and control over my schedule. I was able to give my child as much time and attention as she needed. I never had to worry about separation anxiety, feedings, and her schedule because I’m always there making sure that she’s getting everything she needs.

So to anyone who wants to start working from home immediately after having the baby, my best advice would be to make sure you have a supportive spouse/partner/family behind you. Support from people who understand is what will help you get started and keep on going day after day.


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5 Healthier Ways To Stay Awake

Drinking coffee, tea, soda are really effective ways to stay awake but drinking too much caffeine can be bad for you. In fact, one of the things my doctor told me that I needed to do was to cut back on all three. Another thing that works for me is to eat while working. But I also need to lose 10 more pounds

So I started researching and asking my friends on the things they do to stay awake without resorting to caffeine or binge eating. Here are the 5 healthier alternatives that have been proven to work.

1. Drinking lots, and I mean LOTS of water. This technique has worked really well for me ever since I started doing this in college. Whenever I had to study through the night for an exam the following morning, what I do is I try drink a glass of water every hour. Not too much to the point that I get sick from it, just a sip every time I see my glass or whenever I start to feel sleepy.

Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is very effective not because the water keeps me awake but because the urge to pee keeps me awake. I have a tiny bladder so when I do this, I feel the urge to go to the restroom every 30 minutes or so. And when I do feel the urge to sleep or take a nap, I can’t completely relax because I know I’ll wake up in 15 minutes to urinate.

In addition to the benefits from drinking more water, this technique has the added benefit of allowing to sleep well after an all-nighter. The only catch is I have to wait and not drink for an hour to make sure I flush most of the water out of my system so I can sleep peacefully.

2. Eating healthy snacks. The thing I liked most about snacking while working is the crunch. I love eating chips and crackers while working but they’re often too salty or too sweet. So what I do now instead is snack on crunchy, crispy yet healthier alternatives like fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My sister favors apples. I prefer singakamas, a root crop that can be eaten raw and dipped in vinegar, salt or sugar. Other good alternatives are raw mangoes and kamias (bilimbi fruit), especially the ones that are sour enough to bring tears to your eyes.

3. Exercise.This is something I know that works and I know I should be doing more often but I don’t do enough. In addition to helping you lose weight, studies have also shown that exercise can help increase work productivity. Something as short as a 5 minute, high intensity sprint up the stairs, jump rope or push ups can easily keep you awake for an hour or more.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Hmmm, maybe I should dust off my running shoes and start taking exercise more seriously.

4. Aromatherapy. We usually associate aromatherapy with relaxation but do you know that you can also use aromatherapy to keep you awake and help you focus? Citrus oils, menthol and spicy scents like cinnamon, basil, jasmine, black pepper and ginger have all been proven to stimulate alertness and wakefulness naturally. It’s all a matter of finding which scent (or combination of scents, you can combine menthol with almost any other essential oil) works best for you.

Image courtesy of dusky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dusky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

5. Taking a nap. It seems counter intuitive to take a nap in order to stay awake but power naps can help “recharge” you mind and body in a way nothing else can. Most doctors recommend napping for no more than 20 minutes; just enough to refresh your mind and body and helps keep the urge of sleeping longer at bay.

Work hard, rest easy.

Work hard, rest easy.


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4 Best Places At Home For Work (And How To Make Them Even Better)

When you work at home ideally you should have a home office. But that’s not always possible especially when you don’t have the space or the resources to build a home office.

Even without a home office, there are plenty of rooms within your own home that would make great work spaces. Finding the best one for you would depend on your situation at home, you schedule, and the type of work that you do.

1. Living Room

For the most part, living rooms are great because it allows you to work comfortably without falling asleep. But if you’re the type of person who is easily distracted, this would not be a good place for you. That because the entire family and guests often hang out in the living room. More often than not, that’s also where the TV is, which can distract you even when you’re alone.

Image courtesy of hit-decor.net

To make the living room work for you, try to carve out some  space away from the couch and the TV. Having a pair of noise cancelling headphones can also help keep out the TV noise so you can focus on work and won’t be tempted to watch TV with your family. And with a bit of creativity, you can blend or camouflage your work space and make it fit with your living room decor.

2. Bedroom

Image courtesy of HGTV.com

I usually retreat to my bedroom when I’m working on a major project and I need to focus. It gives me the privacy I need and it’s a space I know my child respects. But the problem I have with the bedroom is it’s too comfortable. The bed is right there. just a few steps away, calling me to rest my head and take a nap. I can’t count the number of times I’ve fallen asleep simply because I was working in bed.

In order to work in my bedroom without falling asleep, I had to get a table and chair that looked away from the bed. My set up was a lot like the photo you see above. I had a tiny table facing the wall and a chair that’s comfortable enough so I can sit for hours on end without falling asleep. I even resorted to putting curtains between my bed and my work space so I wouldn’t be tempted. That space worked well while it lasted but eventually I had to give it up because of home renovations.

3. Kitchen

The kitchen is now where I have set up shop and it’s been good so far. It’s not as distracting as the living room and it’s not as comfortable as the bedroom which is a good thing. My only complaint with this space is I had to pack up my things every time we had to eat. It’s a good thing I only need my laptop to work so it’s not really a big problem. But my sister and I are thinking of having something like this:

http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/trunk-station-office-workspace-in-use.jpg

That way we can easily hide our office stuff when we have guests over.

4. Outdoors

I know it’s not the best place to work when you’re at home. There’s virtually no privacy, it’s not very comfortable, and the electrical outlets are inaccessible. But it’s actually refreshing to work outdoors, especially when the weather is nice and I don’t have that much to do anyway. All I need is a folding  table, a chair, and a fully charged laptop.

Image courtesy of HermanMiller.com