Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mom Incorporated

I'm now listed (at least temporarily) by a wonderful site called Circle of Moms on their Top 25 Creative Mom blogs. (See your opportunity to vote for me once a day on the circle at right.)

I started looking at some of the other creative blogs and began to wonder about what other mom-business owners find most challenging about working from home.
For me it's a no-brainer: shifting from Mom to Teacher and back again in my family's eyes. 

I teach a thriving little art program from home.
You can see all the students' work on my other posts and on our Artsonia Gallery.
But when the students arrive and I head to the art room I boldly face (insert dramatic music)


1. My 13 Year Old Secretary 
I've arranged to have my older son to answer the phones while I'm teaching. He tends to forget this when he is deep in the midst of some fantasy-oriented-computer-based-role-playing-game.

My secretary
It goes like this:

  • I hear the phone ringing ringing ringing. 
  • I begin to call my teenager's name over and over. 
  • The dog wakes up and begins to bark.
  • Paintbrushes fly. 
  • Chaos ensues.

SOLUTION: A reminder EACH and EVERY time before class starts. Apparently teens can only retain their instructions for a 1 hour period. Who knew? Now I remind my secretary regularly.
Problem solved.

2. My Tiny Juvenile Delinquent
My 8 year old is a joy to have in class, says his Second Grade teacher. 
In her class he's always studiously working, says his Second Grade teacher.
But at home the lines are blurred. Very very blurred.
Pint Sized Delinquent
It might look somewhat classroom-like but he knows better
  • He knows it's really Home. 
  • He knows where all the places are to get into trouble. 
  • He knows if he reads my ART ROOM RULES list and adds the word "NOT" in front of each rule to the amusement of the other students he will not be sent to the Principal's office. 
  • He knows where all the hidden items are that his Mom/Instructor says are not to be shared just yet. 
  • Chaos ensues. 
SOLUTION: The CRACK DOWN. After months of struggle I've discovered that 8 year olds are much like teens. They need reminding. And so each class I remind said 8 year old of how privileged he is to have a class in his house. How fabulous he is at being a role model for the other kids. And how if he doesn't knock it off he's getting booted out of the class. 
Problem solved.

3. My Dog

My dog also clearly sees me in the MOM role and he does NOT like to share MOM. 
  • Students arrive. Doorbell rings. Dog barks.
  • He barks at the beginning of each class until he eventually settles down on the rug and becomes the class mascot. 
  • For the younger groups I crate him in another room. He barks barks barks through class.
  • The phone rings and my Secretary doesn't answer. (See Problem No.1) and the dog barks more.
  • Paintbrushes fly.
  • Chaos ensues.
SOLUTION: TIME. Only time.  I've had him for 3 months. He now barks less and less, he's used to the kids in the basement. He likes curling up near the older kids. Only the crate time during the younger classes remains difficult. All suggestions will be considered seriously! 

So my questions to you Mom/Teachers/Business Owners/Bloggers: 

  • What are your biggest challenges? 
  • What solutions, if any, have you found? 
  • And would you like to walk my dog?


  1. Hey Paula- I don't have any solutions. Just going to say that right off the bat. But I heartily commend you for your work towards solutions so far. Hard situations!

    Could you turn off the ringers on your phones? Is that even possible now? Would that help? I guess if there are some parents needing to get in contact with their kids (your students), that might be problematic, but honestly, can't they wait until the end of class? There are hardly ever any true emergencies. Not really.

    I met a little girl who was (proudly) homeschooled (along with some siblings) and all I could think was, "There but for the grace of God, go I." Now *that's* tough. You should check out some homeschooling blogs! They must have tons of advice. Although, would that sometimes veer into scary territory?

    Love the pictures of your boys and your Joxter. Good luck in the blog voting! I'll vote early and often!

  2. Thanks Penelope. I DO think it might be a great resource to check the homeschooling blogs. I don't think it would be too scary. I've known a number of moms who do a great job homeschooling their kids. Not me, though. Yikes!

    I like having the phone around just in case. All the parents have my cell phone number and I keep my cell phone on hand in case they need to reach me. But I wouldn't want them to call my home number by mistake and not get through so I'd prefer to have it answered. When Secretary is not available I just ignore my landline.

    Thanks for your Vote. If elected I'll do my best to serve the mom/art community.

  3. 1) I never sleep.

    2) None.

    3) When I'm next in NJ, I will.

    I find that the best solution is just to suffer in silence. Although sometimes I'm more silent and sometimes less. But no one listens in either case.

    I think you're doing awesome, even considering the pint-sized juvenile delinquent.

  4. Thank you, Kristen. We're all still alive so I suppose I'm doing my job fairly well!
    I'll take you up on that dog walk!