The Internet Home Business Magazine for Moms & Dads

Overheard While Working at Home


Guest Author Joe Staples

This guest post was submitted by the most excellent and patient eMoms reader, Joe Staples.

It’s true: working at home has a number of benefits. I telecommute 2 days per week, saving about $30 weekly on gas, or $7.50 on bus and train fare, depending on my mode of transportation that week. I don’t have to fight with traffic, which does wonders for my mood, and there’s a well-stocked refrigerator just steps away (one of those double-edged benefits).

There are also challenges, as anyone who’s tried it can tell you, and as Wendy has documented so well here. Distractions are a constant threat, and only very proactive distraction blockers will save you. In fact, sometimes I think it would be cool to be able to turn off my hearing altogether. Then these things that float from the household into my home workspace wouldn’t be such a problem.

My main challenges come from the TV and in packages of varying size, from 15 yrs to 18 months, and there are five of them. Count them! Five. My gorgeous wife is with them all day now that it’s summer. I don’t know how she does it. Maybe she’s read Wendy’s 94 sanity-retaining tips, or maybe stay-at-home moms simply have superpowers that I’ll never understand. All I know is that if I were working at home 5 days a week like many of you, I’d have a much longer list than the one below and I’d buy my meds in bulk. Not all the challenges are kid-related, so the “overheard” principle applies even if you don’t share your home or workspace with cubs.  ”Come on down!” There’s nothing worse than being fully focused on a post or on servicing a client and getting distrac.. Did you hear Drew Carey is replacing Bob Barker as the new host of The Price is Right? I find that Drew is a much better choice than Rosie O’Donnell. He’s a lot more charismatic and I feel he has the necessary experience. Wait, hold on. What was the question again?

“Dad! The lawn mower’s on fire!” Jackson (12) was mowing the lawn and had stopped to put gas in the tank. He left the cap off, and when he restarted it, gasoline splashed all over the hot motor and ignited. By the time I left my desk and dashed outside, he had already put it out (with the garden hose!). The plastic housing over the motor was a bit melted, but otherwise no damage done. It still runs today.

“We don’t smear peanut butter on our sister.” Kim calmly explained to Luke (3) as she wiped peanut butter off of Maya’s head (18 months) that peanut butter is for bread, and sisters are for loving, not finger painting. I could tell what Luke was thinking: “If you say so, Mom. But the peanut butter went on pretty smooth. I think I’ll try ketchup next time.” My solution would have been faster, louder, and probably less effective.

“It won’t hurt, I promise.” Jackson regularly makes such promises to Eric (7), and Eric regularly falls for them. The only thing that gets me out of my seat faster than that line is this one, which I’ve also heard: “Just put it in and see if it flushes.” It was a Shrek gingerbread man toy from a McDonald’s happy meal (”Not the gumdrop buttons!”), and we never got to see if it would go down. I move pretty fast when highly motivated.

And then there are things I haven’t yet heard, but for which I am fully braced and expect at any moment: -”I don’t know how the cat got shaved.” -”How much do new windshields cost?” -”Paris Hilton pledges voluntary community service teaching kindergarten”

Sometimes I look back on the day and think it’s a wonder I got anything done at all. But I wouldn’t trade my at-home days for anything, not even the most sterile, distraction-free office anywhere. What fun would that be?

Joe Staples is a technical and marketing writer from Utah, and is a father of five and a husband of one with varying rates of success. He blogs at I’ve Tried That and Fathered Five.


Share the Love... and the Traffic ;) These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Netscape
  • StumbleUpon
  • Ma.gnolia
  • Reddit
  • Technorati
  • Bumpzee
  • co.mments
add to sk*rt

If you liked this article, please...

Subscribe Via Email Subscribe Via RSS Add to Technorati

Or read these related articles...

  • Following my Own Advice on Working from Home
  • Weekend Conversation :: What’s the Best Part About Working at Home
  • Work Life Balance for the Work at Home Mom
  • Articles from eMoms at Home

  • Discussion

    What do you think? Leave a comment. Alternatively, write a post on your own weblog; this blog accepts trackbacks [trackback url].
    This blog has removed the "nofollow" tags, so each comment counts as an inbound link to your site. Comment Policy


    On August 28th, 2007 at 7:44 am, Char said:

    Joe - great post and thanks for the morning laughs! Working from home definitely has its perks and I wouldn’t trade it for the world either. Personally I get most concerned when it gets very quiet… it usually means that two little girls (8 and 5) are scheming!

    On August 28th, 2007 at 11:43 am, Rhea said:

    Very funny post! =)

    I have three younger siblings and if I had to work from home would probably hear those or worse. I second Char’s comments about worry over silence though.

    On August 28th, 2007 at 12:33 pm, Joe said:

    Oh, absolutely. Silence is the worst of all (assuming they’re home, of course). And it’s worse because it only dawns upon you slowly, unlike noise, which crashes into your awareness abruptly.

    “Wait a minute-why is it so quiet? What are they DOING?” Then, as you rise from your chair and your heart accelerates, “How long has it been this quiet??”

    On August 28th, 2007 at 1:26 pm, MichelleVan said:

    Joe: I was laughing so hard at this:
    ”Paris Hilton pledges voluntary community service teaching kindergarten”
    and then I got to your byline and noticed - It’s YOU! No wonder I was laughing!

    On August 28th, 2007 at 2:20 pm, Sue Olson said:

    Joe you were my distraction this afternoon, but the belly laugh made it SO worth the while! Thanks!

    On August 28th, 2007 at 3:43 pm, derek said:

    Remembering my days as a kid and having two boys of my own really made me laugh at the quote: “It won’t hurt, I promise!”

    Thanks for the great article Joe!

    On August 28th, 2007 at 6:25 pm, Hot Librarian said:

    Hee! This is hilarious!

    And I agree about Drew Carey ;)

    On August 28th, 2007 at 7:11 pm, Joe said:

    Thanks, y’all! I can see I don’t need to ’splain anything to this audience. You know all about those crazy things you hear when stuck-er, working at home.

    On August 28th, 2007 at 7:14 pm, Mother Earth said:

    the “we don’t wipe peanut butter on our sister” line is positively classic

    On August 29th, 2007 at 9:12 pm, Laura said:

    I have six kids from 18 to 10 years old. Here are a few key words that my kids say to each other that means trouble: “I’ll trade you for it”, “Your turn is over”, and “What happened to my [sugar loaded sweet] that I was saving for later?”.

    I don’t have much help with them so the start of school is looking pretty good right now. (Eight more days!!!)

    Mentions on other sites...

    1. The Greatest Hits at I've Tried That | I've Tried That on August 28th, 2007 at 8:31 am
    2. Week in Reveiw and Around the Web 8/26-9/1 | I've Tried That on September 2nd, 2007 at 8:07 am

    Leave a Reply

    If you liked this article, take more To Go...


    Subscribe to Daily Posts Via Email
    Sign Up for the Weekly Email Newsletter
    I'll never sell or rent your info. Period.
    Subscribe Via an RSS Reader