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Multi-tasking – is it really that great a skill?

multi-tasking

Apparently as a woman I’m very good at multi-tasking. Why is then that I’m not that proud of my ability?

Multi-tasking, an ability or a necessity?

I just ask because I’ve noticed that if I’m sitting at the kitchen table trying to write a blog post surrounded by 4 children all demanding food, drink or answers to really important questions like ‘why do you have to whack fish when you catch them?’ simultaneouly that I am expected to just juggle it all. At the very worst I’m supposed to drop the blog post and deal with the rest. Only once everything else is satisfied do I feel allowed to return to the blog. And of course everything else is never satisfied.

So much research tells us that multi-tasking isn’t actually a good thing. It is far more productive to focus on one task at a time. Multi tasking slows down our overall output. Yet women seem to have no choice but to get on with it. We’re told women can multi-task, men can’t but I think the truth might be that women don’t have the luxury of not multi-tasking.

Why are there different rules for him and her?

However, when he is writing a blog post, or typing a comment in to Facebook and someone else dares to talk to him, usually me, they get at best a grit of the teeth and at worst told to leave him alone he’s trying to work.

If we are both in the kitchen and a child wants something they will immediately ask ‘mum’. A friend of mine told me recently about when she was out at work all day and her husband had the children. She returned home to find him playing computer games while the two young children sat playing quietly…until they saw her. Then it was ‘mummy, I need a drink’, ‘mummy, what’s for tea?’. How do men get away with it?

Do women expect to multi-task while men have a right to focus?

Are we women at fault for just coping with it all so well? Should we shout ‘leave me alone’ more often? Or does that go against our instincts especially when it’s children that are demanding our attention?

Even as I write this I can hear huffing an puffing from him further along the kitchen table as he juggles holding a sleeping (not demanding!) baby while trying to edit an email. The only reason I’ve surrendered the body is that my back is too sore to hold the bundle any longer. Normally that would be me typing away one-handed with a softly snoring darling snuggled into my shoulder. You should see how good I’ve got at typing with me left-hand only.

Perhaps women are their own worst enemy. Or perhaps our children in particular are just too precious to us to demand the extravagance of single-tasking as it would inevitably mean turning their demands and needs away.

What does this mean for women, especially mothers, who work from home?

I don’t have the answers to this question? I want the answers! My own experience is that I constantly feel like I’m juggling everything and everyone. The task is never finished. Consequently I’m often tired, irritable and downright miserable. Of course I love my children etc etc and sure I wouldn’t have it any other way. No wait – actually I might. If I could just tweak things a little to allow time to breathe for myself now and then, perhaps I wouldn’t feel quite so washed out.

How do women, mothers in particular, cope with working from home? According to a previous blog post I wrote apparently I do, and of course yes I still agree with everything I wrote but sometimes it just feels too hard. If you are one who manages it, please let me know how you do it as I don’t think I do and I could do with some advice.

Of course since starting this post the adorable sleeping bundle woke up, demanded mummy and has returned to me. Oh well, back to the one handed, cack handed typing it is…

 

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Are you busy?

are you busy

The most common question I get asked about my self employed, work from home, stay at home mum job is ‘Are you busy?’ I’m never quite sure what answer to give.

What I normally reply when asked ‘Are you busy?’

Instinctively I say, ‘yes’.

Then I feel the need to clarify what I mean.

I’m a full time mother of 4 children aged between 1 and 11. Of course I’m busy! Permanently busy. But what people are really asking is if I’m busy with work, or more accurately they want to know if I’m making lots of money from it.

Well, no, I’m not making LOADS of money from it because as I mentioned I have 4 children, aged between 1 and 11 and most of my day (and night) is spent with them so it would be some job that would enable me to do that and make loads of money at the same time.

But I often follow up my ‘yes’ with ‘I’m as busy as I want to be’. Because for me that’s why I do the job I do. It has the flexibility to allow me to be with my children and work in the gaps, but as I said I’m a mother of 4 children so there aren’t that many gaps!

What I want to say when asked ‘Are you busy?’

Honestly, I want to reply with some of the following,

‘Of course I’m ****** busy, I’ve got 4 kids’

‘Well, I might be busier if you supported my business.’

‘You nosy *** you just want to know how much money I’m making, none of your business!’

Naturally I never say any of those things. They usually know I’ve got 4 children. Why should they support my business if they actually believe they can get better quality elsewhere (I haven’t seen where yet) and probably shouting abuse at them would put them off even thinking about buying a card from me.

So I just say ‘yes’ and smile and maybe ‘would you like the latest catalogue?’ Then I dive into my brochure sized handbag and swiftly fish out a brochure from beneath the spare nappy, game of Uno and chequebook. The three things I seem to need most in life when I least expect to.

Phoenix Trading Review – Is it worth it?

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Why committing a crime is appealing

Motherhood like prison

Do you find motherhood like prison but fear it would be wrong to admit it? Well you’re not alone – me too! In fact I’ve recently discovered that I would have significantly more liberties if I committed a crime.

5 ways I find motherhood like prison. Or put another way – 5 things I could do if I was locked up.

1 Bed

I’m guessing that when it’s lights out in prison then that’s it lights out. It’s not ‘please can I have another story, even though you’ve just read me the same story every night for two weeks and you don’t even need to look at the words any more’. Or ‘I need a drink of water, mummy.’ It’s not ‘I need the toilet, mummy.’ It’s not ‘I can’t find my stuffed toy that I haven’t looked at for months but I really need right now or I’ll never be able to get to sleep.’

It’s just ‘lights out’, sleep. Bliss.

2 Newspaper

From the little research I’ve done in to prison life (oh yes, you thought I was kidding, no I’ve looked this up just to see how well off I’d be), all inmates can have a newspaper in their cell. A newspaper? Can you even remember the last time you read a newspaper? Sometimes I grab the local free newspaper, just to see what child friendly screenings might be coming up at the local cinema, or what ‘family’ events might be on. ‘Family’ of course meaning ‘for children’ with nothing particularly that adults want to do. Well there is – there’s a bouncy castle but when do they allow the parents on these days?

Every day I could read a newspaper, uninterrupted!

3 Sweets

Apparently all inmates are allowed spending money, it varies on the crime committed but as I’m not planning anything too major I reckon I’d have quite a big allowance. I could spend all that on sweets. There would be no need to hide them, or share them. I wouldn’t have to eat them on the sly while only eating fruit in front of anyone else.

Pure sugar, all for me.

4 Music

Prisoners are allowed a device to listen to music on and presumably this means their own choice of music too. I wouldn’t have to listen to the Singing Kettle’s version of 1 potato, 2 potato on endless repeat. I wouldn’t even have to make up a zillion verses to it in the car because I wouldn’t be in the car, I’d be in prison, in my own room, listening to my music.

Just T-Rex and me.

5 Toilet

Now here’s the biggy. I would actually get to go to the toilet ALONE!

So is motherhood like prison? Nah, not really. Prison has many more liberties.

Have I forgotten anything?

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Is it possible to earn money as a full time mother without the kids suffering?

mums working from home

Mums working from home have a difficult task on their hands. Juggling work and looking after the children is a tough job. Is it possible to do both? I believe so. In fact I believe if you choose the right business it can enhance the whole experience.

How mums working from home can make it work for everyone

Allow me a brief introduction of myself. IMG_9962
I’m a full time mother of three, the oldest is now 9, the youngest 3. I’ve been a full time mother for 9 yrs. For the past 8 years I’ve also run a part time business.

I admit that we were lucky, at first it wasn’t about the money. My husband had a good enough job and we adjusted our lifestyle to suit one income. I did struggle in early motherhood with my ‘loss’ of purpose. It took me over 4 years to appreciate the value of what I was giving my children as a full time mother. The ‘business’ was a hobby and I didn’t even keep my commission but donated it to charity.

Then my husband’s job went downhill, wasn’t quite what he had hoped for, a little stress and disappointment and we began to wonder if this is what life was all about. Call it mid-life crisis if you wish.

So what, you might think?

Plenty folk hate their job, that’s life…but if you could change it wouldn’t you? If it was possible to do what you really wanted, what your deepest desire was, wouldn’t you at least give it a go?

My husband wanted to write. He wanted out of his job and via a bizarre set of circumstances I realised I quite enjoyed selling things and supporting others to fulfil their potential. Running a direct sales, network marketing business started to look less like a hobby. It looked more like a fulfilling way to earn an income.

WS364_storkWhat’s more, running a network marketing business like mine (I’m an Independent Phoenix Trader and I sell gorgeous cards and stationery alongside my growing team of Traders) not only seemed possible with a baby and toddler in tow, it actually seemed a positive part of full time motherhood. Perhaps mums working from home who have been doing these kind of businesses for years are actually on to something.

Here’s a few reasons why it’s working for me:

No childcare costs – maybe obvious but being able to take my children with me in my business means I don’t have to pay childcare or leave my children with strangers.

Flexibilty – because I can take my children with me I can work on my business when it suits me, not just after bedtime. And to be honest I’m not fit for much in the evening, I’m probably a morning person.

L278_Fairy_CelebrationStickers – my kids love stickers so they often volunteer to help with sticking labels on brochures or other ‘mundane’ tasks like putting cards in cellos or stuffing envelopes. They love helping me stocktake or set up my stall. This isn’t slave labour, they don’t have to do it, I don’t make them do it, but they want to. It’s fun to them.

Cute sales aids – I don’t really consider myself a people person. My social skills aren’t great and certainly don’t come naturally. So when it comes to fairs, events or even putting a basket in a workplace it’s so much easier with a toddler in tow. The children are the conversation starters just by being there, making it much easier for me.

Entrepreneurs – my kids are more entrepreneurial than me. Perhaps they don’t have my fear of failure, they’ll have great ideas and just go for it. My oldest who often lacks confidence has now raised a few hundred pounds for charity making and selling sweetie cones. But what astounds me is how she will confidently ask complete strangers passing by her stall if they’d like to buy a cone. My children are learning business skills way before they realise it and way better than me!

It is possible

So when people ask is it possible for mums working from home to be a full time mum and run a business, the answer for me is not only is it possible it’s a really positive thing and actually an enhancement of the parenting role. There are lots of different things you can do too.

If you’d like to find out more about what I do and how it works for me, just ask.

A072_Birds