February 2009

Mommy Martyr Syndrome

WANTED-
 
Hard-working person needed to toss dreams, aspirations, and sense of self out the window in order to provide constant care for needy children.  Duties include wiping up repugnant bodily emissions, fostering self-esteem in others, constant cleaning that will be immediately undone, and problem solving that could include but is not limited to infantile bargaining, blackmail, public tantrums, and high decibel wailing.  Applicant must own large, unsexy vehicle with too many cup holders and ample trunk space. Must be willing to cut close ties with friends and family and suffer severe marital discord.  This position offers no pay, yet candidate is expected to fork out money for countless, overpriced, unnecessary child-related consumer goods.  Experience not necessary, but ability to convey resentment and selflessness simultaneously is a must.

More Memory for Your Smart-Phone

Smart-Phones are great for many reasons. One being the ability to take work with us where ever we go and we can store numerous valuable files. Smart-Phones not only come with a good deal of phone memory but also the ability to use SD Micro Cards increasing capacity without slowing our phones down during normal operations. In the beginning some phones were nice enough to come with a 1GB SD Micro Card to get us started. I have found that most manufacturers are not supplying the cards anymore and leaving it up to the consumer to pay the extra price in addition to the high cost of the device.
 
So what exactly are SD Micro Cards? Secure Digital Micro Cards are the smallest memory card available mainly used for cell phones and GPS devices. These cards are about the size of your fingernail. It works just like any other flash memory cards or sticks that you use on your computers to transfer and store all types of data including movies, music, pictures and documents. When used in your phone you can even install, store and run programs from your SD Micro Card rather than your phone, saving the phone memory for faster functionality.

Getting Rid of the Clutter

Is your work space at home full of clutter? Or are you having a hard time finding what you need when you need it? You know that you need to get organized but where do you start? Having your work space organized is essential for productivity and your sanity. Trying to separate the weeks junk mail from the bills and your work planner from the daily tasks planner that tells you who needs to be where and when is lost in a pile some where in some corner of your desk. You may even be noticing that your wall calendar is getting hard to read because it just doesn't contain enough space for everything that you need on it. 
 
Watching DIY home improvement shows make the task of a well functioning work space look simple and very much desirable. They have tones of great ideas that look great and function well. However if you're like me, when it comes time for you to put it together, your finished product doesn't quite amount to what you saw displayed on your television. This is where stores specializing in organizing your home and office come in handy.

Simple Solutions: Dinner on Hand

Meal preparation centers are popping up everywhere. The goal of these places are to make meals easier and simpler for the family constantly on the go with the added benefit of proper nutrition. Not having the time to run out to the store to pick up the very few things that the desired recipe requires then heading back home to finish the prep, cooking and cleaning has working parents every where jumping on this meal train.
 
Each one of these places has multiple dinner recipes that you can choose from and they change them monthly. Everything that you would need for the meal is already prepped and ready for you to package on your own. Work your way down the line and let the kids join in so you know that you are going to have a meal later that you know they will eat when it comes dinner time. If there is something that you don't particularly like in the recipe, simply don't add it.
 
All the stations have packaging ready for you and the finished product. Included are labels to place on your food to go with instructions on how to cook the meal so it will come out great. You can prepare as many different dishes as you like.

Real Internet on the Go

Clearwire has finally made its way to the Pacific Northwest and with open arms. Having the availability of Hot Spots in specific places restricted our internet access to mostly over populated areas in addition to having to purchase something for using the service available. How does going wherever you want whenever you want and always having a fast wireless connection sound? I'm talking at the park with the kids, out in the backyard, in your car while you're waiting for the kids to get out of school, at the baseball field during your kid's practice and much more.
 
With Clearwire, they are also giving companies like Comcast, Qwest and Verizon home services a run for their money. Not only is this company mobile, it is super affordable and beats the big companies in price even after new customer pricing specials run out.

20 Places Hiring Right Now!

Since January 13th some pretty big companies have been trying to get employees through their doors. Though we have seen many companies shut their doors in a very short period of time, there are still those that are thriving. In the stress and panic of losing a job and wondering if you're going to find another, take a deep breath. Granted, you may not be able to find a job to get you through that's right down the street anymore but there is work to be had. During my search today online I found CNN to be the most resourceful yet again for possible job opportunities.  
 
Companies like Wegmans Foods Market are hiring for nearly all positions needed to run a store.  Even in the down turn, they have 3 new stores being built this year. Business is very well and that's good for you. They plan on hiring nearly 2,000 employees during the expansion. Current locations that are hiring include Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; and Syracuse, NY.

Coupons: Consumers Beware

Online coupon sites are everywhere. Consumers need to be aware that they may not be legitimate coupons. Many stores are opting not to accept many coupons that are printed from these sites since they are so easy to fake. So what are you to do? You want to save money on your grocery bill as many others do but if you don't have a reliable source for all the great discounts that are out there you end up stuck paying full price. Save more of your money and use these tips below. 
 
The number one best place to find great money saving coupons is in your local paper such as the Oregonian. Pick up your local Sunday paper to find the most legitimate coupons for your local grocery stores. Stores like Safeway offer coupons that you can use in addition to your Club Card discount plus coupons that you can use to take $10 to $50 off your overall purchase once your shopping bill has reached a certain amount.

Where to Find a Good Sitter

Working from home means less money out for a sitter. That doesn't mean that you will never need one. As you know well there are days when you just need a break or a few hours to work undisturbed. Fortunately for those who can still afford a sitter every now and then, there are plenty of teenagers out there that are looking for work. The current economy has made jobs scarce for teens too since employers are looking to take on adults with more experience and education right now. If your new in town or have lost your recent babysitter since your job changed to working out of your home, you may have found yourself out of the loop on where to look.
 
There are several resources out there that you can utilize for your search. A lot of people place posts on craigslist looking for babysitting jobs but like most, I never really trust craigslist when it comes to the care of my child. You can opt to place an ad for interviews for a sitter for a safer route if that is a resource that you really want to use.

Another Part Time Job Opportunity

In my search to help others who are struggling for work I have found another great job opportunity that actually pays decent wages. The United States Census Bureau is hiring hundreds for part time temporary work. Don't be turned off by the temporary part. The job is considered temporary because the duration is only for about a year. That should give ample opportunity to make money and get your bills paid until the economy begins to turn around. Almost all the positions available do not require any former experience or education credentials other than having your high school diploma or GED. Jobs start out at around $15.00 an hour or more.
 
Looking at their recruitment site, I didn't find any open positions available in Oregon but there are many for numerous other states. All your training is paid for as well as the time you will spend training. If you are going to work in a position that requires you to use your car you are reimbursed for your mileage and many other items that you might have to spend any money on related to work.

Finding Financial Security

Normally I write a lot about how to keep yourself productive and different places you can find work. Today I want to talk about something that is just important as keeping yourself on track. You work day in and day out to earn your living. Conquering the tough daily struggles of juggling work, the kids and the house, I think it's only fair to chat about how to make your hard earned dollar go even further. The economy around us seems like one mild breeze and what's left is going to go toppling over putting most of us in a financial panic.
 
At this point in our economy you should have a budget set. If you don't, now is the time to get on it. Figure out just how much your household costs are including gas and groceries. Knowing exactly how much you need every month to survive is the first step in planning out how to keep your head above water. If you are in the position to, start creating an emergency fund savings account. Build it as fast as you can. Put away every last extra penny that you can.

Keeping Track of Your Tax Write-Offs

Everyone hates doing taxes. It's time consuming and stressful especially if you work for yourself. As a self employed person you have much more to keep track of to make sure that you are getting everything back in your returns that you deserve. You've been good all year, taking out your percent of earnings to pay your taxes and social security and reporting to the government. However, you may be a little nervous if you are planning to make write-off claims if you haven't kept good track of everything. If this sounds like your situation, you may be stressing about an audit on your claims.
 
This stress can be totally avoided with a little organization and routine. There are so many different things that can be considered a tax write-off when you are working from home since almost everything around you can be used for work. Everything from your cable and internet down to your cell phone bill and car mileage. Anything that you do or use that you can tie to work has the strong possibility of being a tax write-off.

When You Need a Second Job

Constant layoffs in your area as well as all over can be cause for a financial crisis. While you feel you are making good money at what you are doing working from home, if your spouse is no longer able to make their normal contribution, you may be thinking about taking on a second part time job to make up for the difference. This is also easier said than done. With the flood of the unemployed flooding the job market a part time job may not be that easy to come by and you may have to settle for a job that isn't that appealing.
 
Looking through the paper over the last few months, I always check the help wanted ads. The major paper for the area normally has quite the extensive list of possible job opportunities. For the first time in my life, I flipped to it only to find that it didn't even take up an entire page. Instead it was full of work wanted ads. This is a very discouraging sight to see especially since it covers an adjoining state's employment needs.

Taking on the Online Learning Environment

Parents working from home have it tough but so do parents that make the big decision to jump back into school. Trying to juggle home and work many of us turn to the online learning environment to accommodate our crazy schedules. After all, that is one of the big bonuses that online schools promote; working at your own pace and schedule. Even though you can pick and choose when and where to study and submit work, it is still just as much of a difficult task as those that are trying to manage home and work.
 
You have made the decision to go back to school and that online is the direction that you want to take, there are a few things to keep in mind before you sign up with the first school that pops up in the search engine. While all these places to provide you with an education in a field that you are interested in, make sure that you know what you want. Do you want to be able to take your credits to another school later when you graduate their program? Does your state acknowledge their training program for the field you are wanting to go in?

Dinner in a Pinch

Is dinner on your to do list? If your day isn't going as planned, you may be getting down to crunch time and what you thought you were going to make for dinner isn't looking like it's going to happen unless everyone is up for waiting until the later hours of the evening. Normally fast food solutions come to mind. I won't deny that it sometimes ends up that way in my home. It's a quick fix and of course the kids are going to love it so I know I won't have to deal with a fight over finishing dinner. Though it is an easy answer to the dinner problem, it's not the healthiest or cost effective.
 
There are a ton of quick dinner ideas online that you can utilize. When you get a moment take a look at some of these sites and save your favorite recipes. Start making a list of the most common ingredients that are found in each and make sure that you have a good stock of them on hand so you won't have to run out to the store when you want to make them. That wouldn't be very helpful in the time saving department if you have to make a trip. Develop a meal plan for the week before you go grocery shopping.

A Closer Look at Google Docs

Google Documents is such a large web based program that I thought we should take a closer look at it today and explore all that it has to offer. The application really is everything that it's cracked up to be. You can go beyond just using it for work and business and can even incorporate it into your personal needs for everything from your personal planner to keeping track of your banking. You never even have to worry about storage space either. Google supplies all their consumers with plenty of it so you never have to stress about deleting what could be very important files.
 
I use Google Docs everyday and I love it. You have the option to create all types of spreadsheets including invoices. You can search through their hundreds of spreadsheets that are updated on a regular basis to find the perfect one for your needs. All the needed formulas that you would commonly need for the specific document are already set up so those of you out there that aren't Excel savvy, there are no worries.

"Just Do It"

Have you hit a road block in your daily work? Think about what may be causing you to get less done. It may just be that you are spending too much time thinking about all your tasks at hand for the day and then letting that turn into stress resulting in your road block. Like me, you may just be over thinking what your daily goals are and just how you are going to meet them. Over thinking can be your worst enemy.
 
When I find myself just dwelling on what I want to get done and what needs to get done, I can easily find myself being less and less productive throughout the day. Once the day has passed, then I start dwelling on everything that I didn't get done, need to catch up on and how I can get the undone completed with the work that has yet to be due. It turns into a huge mess and circle that can be hard to get yourself out of.
 
This is when you need to sit down and re-evaluate what your daily goals are. Do you maybe have to much on your list to accomplish in the time that you have set aside for work? Sometimes that is the case. The other thing you need to look at is how much time have you set aside for just you?

Q & A

Looking around online for that needed piece of advice or inspiration to keep you going may end up leading you to a ton of wasted time. Now Working and Parenting would like to make that search come to a halt by giving you a way to ask your own questions having to do with working at home and being a full time parent combined.
 
You can email all questions to workingandparenting@gmail.com anytime something pops in your head that you would like a tip or advice on. From one working at home parent to another you question will get answered here in the Q&A section located on the right of the page.If you don't feel like sending an email and want to protect your email, that's fine too. Just leave Working and Parenting a comment.
 
All questions from there will also be answered in the Q&A category with all the rest. Want to hear what other parents are asking? Follow along each day and you'll soon find out that you are not so alone in your quest to make the best out of work and home.

Go Wireless

Today you can find a wireless connection just about anywhere you go. In some cities, there is a blanket wireless signal that is available to everyone and for everyone. Wireless allows us to do so many things and in so many places. We can now check our email while waiting at the bus stop or while we are waiting on our coffee order at the local coffee shop. Maybe we want to take the kids to the park but still need to have the internet available to keep the work flowing for the day; now that is no longer an issue for a lot of people. But those of us that don't live in a major city that has a free blanket WIFI signal, we can opt to have our own system installed giving us the freedom of at least moving around the house and back yard freely.
 
I know that not everyone it tech savvy and that includes me to an extent. Usually I can eventually figure things out but most times the frustration leading up to the final product just isn't worth it. Today, I can tell you that you can install and set up a wireless network your house without knowing a whole lot about it, but honestly, it sucks.

Avoid Getting Sick

Whether it's you or the kids, getting sick can put a major hamper on your work week. While sometimes getting sick was just meant to be, there are some things that you can do to help keep the germs at bay. If you have kids in school it's even more important to make sure that they are doing what they need to do so they aren't bringing the most popular cold virus home to the family.
 
The number one thing that you and your family can do and it can't be stressed enough is to wash your hands. Previously, I worked in health care and I dealt with every sickness in the book and almost never got sick and I can credit most of that to simply washing my hands. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, coughing or sneezing, before preparing any food, wiping noses, changing diapers and after touching anything germy.
 
Did you know that you don't even have to use anti-bacterial soap to properly wash your hands? Nope, all you need is any soap, and some good friction by rubbing your hands together and scrubbing under your nails and 10 seconds of your time to do it.

Working When Your Child Is Sick

As if your day couldn't get less productive, your little one now is running a fever, has a cough that never ceases and you can't keep up with the tissue. Sooner or later you'll have to take care of your child and juggle your work at home especially during the winter months. What are you to do when your little one is extra needy and work is also needing your attention?
 
There is no sugar coating the situation. Your day and or the next few days may end up being a complete failure as far as your work is concerned. Like normal work days, set yourself up with some goals that you know you will be able to meet. Trying to obtain your daily work load may be setting the bar a bit too high right now and that's okay. It happens and it's part of being a parent even if you worked outside of the home.