Essential Ingredients of a Work-at-Home Parent

I ran out of patience the other day and I should have run across to the neighbor to borrow some more. After all, this working mom doesn't rise to perfection without a liberal dash of patience. I must treat my children with patience. I must wait days or weeks patiently  for a free hour to watch my favorite show. I must patiently wait on clients to send me money. Running out of patience was devastating - like cinnamon rolls without the butter. (I shudder to think of it.)

Fortunately I found a bit more patience in the back of the pantry next to the Claritin for my seasonal allergies and the family survived. (The cinnamon rolls did not.)

Patience is critical, but it's not the only ingredient necessary for a healthy working parent. Here are some others to keep stocked at all times:

Humility - While a bit of swagger is necessary in our profession to sell our expertise, anyone who sells thousands of dollars worth of services before lunch needs to be able to switch gears a few hours later when they wake covered in their child's vomit. (True story)

Humor – While there are days when I’m more ready to pull my hair out than laugh at the absurdity of it all, so long as there are more times that I laugh than those when I want to throw in the towel, I figure we’re doing all right.

Cleverness – I was going to put intelligence on my list, but then I realized being book smart isn’t always the most important thing when it comes to this particular job. Often it’s simply being clever enough to figure out how to balance a tremendous workload on a day to day basis. No doctorate degree can prepare you for two careers, two children and ten loads of laundry.

Dashing Good Looks – Finally, it’s important to look great doing this job. Not all of us can pull off wearing the same sweats for three days in a row and still look good sitting with a laptop next to mountains of unfolded (but clean!) laundry. But those of us who can know that parenting and working go hand in hand and we look good doing it. (At least in our over-tired imaginations.)



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Rebecca is a full-time everything. She teaches English and reading to her much loved, if challenging, high school students during the day and is a freelance education writer in the evenings. With almost ten years in the classroom and advanced degrees in business and information science, Rebecca specializes in materials that inform, educate and entertain. Rebecca indulges herself by pretending to have spare time and writing about the ups and downs of being a freelancing mama whenever she gets a chance.

6 thoughts on “Essential Ingredients of a Work-at-Home Parent”

  1. I have ‘fur kids’ and sometimes lose my patience with my cats. Add to that two barking dogs and writing becomes impossible. I’m seriously considering getting an office away from my ‘home’ office.

  2. lol, can never go wrong with humor. I think I read somewhere that all comedy is born from tragedy, maybe shakespeare but I forget. So, all these fun experiences are really just preparation for new laughs, :), maybe.

  3. Another great post, Rebecca.

    I’d add tenacity. It takes plenty of get up and go to do what we do how we do (sorry, couldn’t resist the silliness of it). Seriously, there’s definitely a need for a tenacious spirit and perseverance or you’ll just be a mom/dad that spends too much time on their laptop with just angry kids and eye strain to show for it!

  4. Oh my, I love this post!! You literally had me laughing out loud which rarely happens when I’m online 😉

    So glad to know that I’m not the only mom who struggles to be everything to everybody! Humility, patience and yes, tenacity (thanks Jessie) are definitely critical for doing our best work without killing ourselves…

  5. Yes, and TENACITY would make my list.

    Man have I got barf stories for you.

    I always tell other freelancers that it gets easier as your kids get older. Especially if you elect to educate them OUT of the house. 6 hours of bliss.


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