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stay at home mom

Blog and life updates, Family Finances, Motherhood

Employment Boundaries and Knowing Your Value

September 4, 2015
employment boundaries

Do you believe that money can buy you happiness? To a certain extent I believe that it does. Money certainly makes things easier. I would be more than willing to endure some unpleasant positions to make more money for my family. If someone told me that I could make 3 million dollars by shoveling out manure pits for the next three years, I would definitely do it. Most people probably would.

What if the same person offered you only $30,000 to shovel manure for the next three years? Unless you were homeless, unemployed, and starving the answer would most likely be a resounding NO. That level of physical discomfort just isn’t worth the meager paycheck. Everyone has their employment boundaries. They know when a project is worth the value or not for their time and effort involved.

This past week I learned what limits are and employment boundaries are as a writer. I did something that, three months ago, seemed inconceivable. I turned down a writing client for the first time.

After learning how to get paid to write for blogs, I have been hustling to find new clients, start new projects, and bring in more income for my family so that we can pay off debt. I’m willing to put in the time and the hours writing for free, doing guest posts, or getting paid low compensation to build up my name, my business, and my writing portfolio. Like Mark Twain is remembered for saying, “Write without pay until somebody offers pay.”

Until this week, my motto has been “any money for writing is good money for writing.” After contacting a potential client and writing a sample article, I was seriously low-balled in return for a writing project. I don’t want to get into the details, but let me just say that the time was not going to be worth the effort or the money. Compensation was going to be less than minimum wage. Significantly less. I turned down the client, letting them know that my time is worth more than they were offering, but thanks for the opportunity.

A project like the one in question would have made me crazy, the quality of my work would have been terrible, and my family would have suffered with me working so much…all for pennies. Although I am still a new writer, I know what my value is, and I know what my employment boundaries are.

I am so glad that I was able to say no. I love working from home as a contract writer, because I get to choose which projects I take on, meaning I enjoy my work and I get to be home with my kids.

I enjoy my work as a writer, and I enjoy my work as a mom. Any job that would make me unhappy with both of those positions is a job I have no desire or willingness to take. I know what my goals are as a writer, I know what my employment boundaries are, and I will only take on projects that will help me reach those goals.

What are your employment boundaries? Do you know what your bottom line amount is for the value of your work?

If one advances confidently in the direction

Before you go, here’s a roundup of some of my recent posts around the web:

Careers that Offer Student Loan Forgiveness

3 Fool-Proof Ways to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse While Shopping Online

10 Great Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas

3 Reasons Millennials Should Invest in Dividend Stocks

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Put Off Your Bucket List until Retirement

Why Paying Off Debt is Like Losing Weight

 

Also check out these great posts by other bloggers

Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Spouse’s Career Hold You Back

10 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Funky Mood

How to Check the Real Savings on Amazon Gold Box Deals

Life After Debt…Remembering Your “Why”

5 Simple Ways to Get Your Productivity Back

 

Have a great weekend!

Motherhood

Parent Time Out: How to Escape the Kids

June 22, 2015
Parent Time Out: How to Escape the Kids

 

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend. I had a fantastic weekend visiting with family. Staying in a house with at least three other adults meant that I actually got a break from mommy duties! I had at least 3 cups of coffee without once having to re-heat my cup! I even got to take a shower without little ones banging on the door. It was marvelous.

I love visiting with family, because they take the kids and I get to just be. I don’t have to do anything at all except sit there, drinking my cup of coffee. Unfortunately, our closest family lives 2.5 hours away, so those moments of silent, childless bliss are few and far between.

I love my kids to the moon and back, but sometimes I need to get away for a minute, clear my head, and refill my energy tank. Days when my kids pester with their never-ending demands and Oscar worthy tantrums can leave me wanting to pull my hair out. When family isn’t there to entertain the kids, I look to my husband to watch the kids while I escape for a moment to regroup. The problem is, on the particularly trying days, he may not be willing to take on the angry kid monsters by himself. So…sometimes I may stretch the truth to sneak away. I don’t normally advocate for dishonesty in a relationship, but here are 7 ways to pull one over on your spouse so you can escape your kids for a few blessed moments of silence.

7 (little white) lies to tell your spouse:

1. I’m answering an important email

When the kids are especially rowdy (think pre bed time), leave the kids with daddy to “answer an important email.” Shut yourself in the office and give yourself a 10 minute time-out to watch cat videos on YouTube. Hang on to those feelings of fuzzy contentment when you head out to endure the endlessly painful “I need a story, song, and glass of water” bedtime routine.

2. I need to go look for something in the car

To sneak in 5 precious minutes of time where little children can’t bite, crawl on, hang off of, or generally harass you, use the pretense of going to your car to look for your wallet, phone charger, or important piece of paperwork. With a little bit a forethought, you can actually leave something important in your car, knowing that you’ll need to eventually return with evidence in hand. Utilize this tactic in early spring and autumn, so you don’t roast or freeze to death in the car.

3. I have diarrhea, I’m going to be a while.

For this to work, you actually have to be able to shut the bathroom door and lock it before your kids realize that mommy has to “go”. Distract the kids with dad, and make a break for it. Make sure to stash a book and a candy bar in the bathroom ahead of time.  Flush every few minutes and moan for effect. This tactic can buy you a solid 25-35 minutes of alone time. When you decide to leave your haven, be sure to spray some air freshener, turn on the fan, and say “trust me, you don’t want to go in there for a while.”

4. I’ll be in the basement (or attic) trying to find…

If you are feeling especially evil, set up a messy craft that your kids adore that will keep them occupied for at least 30 minutes (like finger paints, bubbles, or Legos etc.).  As soon as your little Da Vinci’ are occupied, leave your spouse in charge and “go look for…” whatever. It doesn’t really matter. Just mumble under your breath about needing to find something and then don’t return until they are all done with craft time. Make sure not to post or like anything on Facebook during this time, or you’ll be found out. Using your kindle app for some quiet reading time is a safer bet.

5. Dinner isn’t done cooking yet

While your spouse fends off the hangry hostiles, surreptitiously sip some wine while you cook dinner on a lower heat for longer. You’ll give yourself an extra 5 minutes for the wine to take effect before your food flinging chimps kids descend upon the table for dinner.

6. Don’t let them in here, there’s cleaner on the floor

This one takes an ounce of effort, but it’s worth it. Leave your spouse to deal with the kids, and lock yourself into the bathroom with a mop, cleaning spray, and some rubber gloves. You may actually have to clean the bathroom, but once you’re done, enjoy a hot bubble bath in your freshly cleaned tub. If your spouse knocks and asks if you’re done yet, just shout, “Don’t come in here! There’s cleaner everywhere, and I mopped myself into the corner.”

7. I’m not done here, I’ll text you when I’m on my way.

Embrace that elusive chance to get errands done sans children by taking as much time as you please. Push the grocery cart slowly up and down every aisle, let one or two people ahead of you in line at the bank, and stop at a coffee shop on your way home. Circle the neighborhood one or two times to finish your drink while it’s still hot, and crank up the radio with your own music. Relish the fact that you’re in your car without having to endure painful torture listen to the soundtrack of Frozen for the 8 millionth time.

Try one or two of these, and you’ll get at least a 5 minute time out from the kids. Enjoy the silence, relax, and regroup. You’ll be a better parent for it. You deserve a few minutes to yourself. Don’t feel bad for taking advantage of your spouse every now and again. I promise, they do the same thing to you when they can.

Do you ever take advantage of your spouse to get some alone time? Does your spouse use any of these tactics for getting quiet time away from the kids?

Gardening, Motherhood

Peace in the Garden: Recharging When Life Stresses You Out

June 1, 2015
Finding peace in the garden

Life slows down for most people this time of year with the kids getting out of school, getting ready to go on vacations, and enjoying Saturdays by the pool. I wish that was the case for us, but life in the Muse house is full steam ahead.

My husband works three weekends a month, we home school year-long, and our vacation is not until mid-November this year. I have been hired to write for two different websites Shoeaholic No More and Retire by 40, which is amazing and so exciting. Having this opportunity, to write professionally and expand my resume, is a welcome kind of stress, but there has definitely been a bit of a learning curve with finding “my work from home mom” rhythm. Taking care of the kids all day and writing all night means that I am pretty tired most days.

IMG_8406

I have found that I am less likely to unravel if I start my days by doing something I love to do. Most days that means tending to the garden.  In a fast and stressful life, I love that I have a place where I can find peace and quiet. When life becomes crazy or feels just a little bit overwhelming, spending a quiet half hour tending to the garden recharges my emotional batteries and gives me the peace I need to face another day. I love that you can’t hurry a garden. You have to give it light, water, nutrients, and time. It’s a process that can’t be rushed. It makes you slow down.

I love our crazy, chaotic life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I am grateful to have a quiet retreat where I can go to unwind, do something I love, and find some peace at the beginning of the day.

How do you unwind? Do you start your day doing something you find peaceful?