Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The misconceptions about working from home

In addition to being a mom of three boys, I am a writer who works from home. When I tell most people that I work from home, they imagine me working and parenting at the same time. I often get comments along the lines of, "It must be so nice to have your kids with you while you work."

I feel like it's time for someone from the work-at-home crowd to explain how it works. I WORK from home which means I have to do my job, uninterrupted. I have phone calls and meetings. I have deadlines and expectations. As a writer, I have to write...which means it has to be quiet...really quiet.

I like to tell people to take a few moments and think about their typical day in the office. Now think about that day if you had your kids with you. It's not a pretty picture and as you can imagine, you would get very little work done--if any. And for the record, because my home is my office, there are times when the home versus work boundaries are blurred and I have to work when the kids are around. You can take my word for it when I tell you that kids become the same noisy, attention-seeking monkeys when you work while they are home that they become when you decide to make a phone call when they are around.

Working from home is no different than working in an office--except for the fact that I wear my pajamas most of the day and never have to worry about someone stealing my lunch out of the fridge. Yes, I save on gas. No, I don't do laundry. Yes, I can watch stuff on my DVR while taking my lunch break. No, I don't wash the floor or make the kids beds while I'm on phone calls, because let's face it, I'll use pretty much any excuse (including working), to get out of those chores anyway.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Words To Live By: Everything to Everyone

You can't be everything to everyone.

In the blogging world, it's easy to get caught up on the frenzy of brand contact and PR agencies. There's a lot of cattiness about who gets invited to which events. For me, I blog about what I love and what I'm passionate about. It's not about the perks. Don't get me wrong...the perks can be great, but if I were to blogging for perks, I would be fashion blogger with fabulous clothes.

When I start to feel little crazy from the competition of it all, I repeat, with great zeal I might add, "You can't be everything to everyone" and I have to tell you it has pulled me out of more than a slump or two because I really believe it.

At the ripe old age of 21 (as if I would reveal my real age), I know that I cannot be a shining star for everyone who knows me. I also know that in whatever I do in life, I always strive to be a perfectionist, but realize that I'm going to fall short from time to time. It's ok to not be the best of the best or perfect 100% of the time.

All I can be is the best for me...and for my family...and my readers. That's it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

On Facebook and Legacy

Earlier this week, I found out that a man I went to school with passed away in his sleep. I have known him since we were in first grade and I hadn't seen him since high school. We passively kept in touch via Facebook--liking one another's photos and commenting on posts every once in a while. About a year ago I posted that we were in the midst of a plumbing nightmare and he dropped everything and graciously walked me through the problem via direct messages.

I always really liked this man--even when we were kids. He had a kind heart and fun spirit. I recall him driving our teachers crazy but he was always so likable I often wondered if the teachers were really that mad at the boy with the toothy smile. 

We didn't have classes together in middle school or high school, and didn't run with the same crowd. The last time I remember talking to him, he came in to the high school yearbook classroom and asked us for a favor. We had almost wrapped up the yearbook, and he really wanted a photo of he and his girlfriend published in the yearbook. He loved her so much but since she didn't go to our school, so she wasn't in the book. He had a picture of him hugging her that he was hoping we could slip in somewhere in the book. Normally, we would have said no to such a request, but his words were so heartfelt and sincere, we did it. 

That's the last time I remember talking to him in person but it was an instance that impacted me. His heart was so big and so full that he wanted to embrace his love for this woman in our yearbook. He didn't want the pictures in there to be "noticed"; he just wanted to have a way to memorialize his relationship and feelings at the time.  His request was so sweet, sincere and special--a true reflection of his character.

I found out this man died about a week after the fact, and I've had a few days to digest the information. This is the first person I know of from my graduating class to pass away and it's been kind of hard for me to process. Tonight I went back and read through his Facebook page. I was re-reading his posts, his conversations with others and looking at the photos of his beautiful daughters who will now grow up with out a dad. I wonder how many other people have been reading over his page too--looking for clues that he knew life wasn't forever, affirming the love for his family and showing that warm heart that struck me in the yearbook classroom almost 20 years ago. It's almost surreal to read his words and conversations because they are living on like he is still here.

As I read through his page, I began to reflect on my social media legacy. What would people read on my page if something happened to me? I clicked over to my page to see what was on it and quite frankly, I wasn't impressed. While I don't think I need to necessarily put my entire life into my social media networks, perhaps I should do a little more to show who I am and what makes me tick instead of just publishing pictures and self-depricating anecdotes. Maybe a public medium isn't such a bad place to express my gratitude for others and to note the blessings in my life. An authentic me may just be a little more interesting and a lot more meaningful to the people in my life.

And then I think back to the day in the yearbook room 20 years ago. The man who is no longer with us...all he wanted was his authentic self in the yearbook with a photo showing how in love he was with the girl in the photo. Apparently he knew the importance of being authentic all along.