Category: Single mother

Back to school

few books 3

Going back to school while working on your freelance business may be a good idea. Your schedule is flexible, especially if you find an online program. And you can borrow money for your living expenses and tuition, so your work schedule can be eased a bit (assuming you were working in the first place).

About a month ago I took the plunge. Having been a substitute teacher for more than 8 years, I figured it was high time I got my teaching certification. I found an online program at a local small college, and things are moving along pretty smoothly. The only thing I didn’t count on was how much work an online program really requires. Because you don’t have to show up for class everyday, there are a lot of assignments to turn in.

But I think it’ll be worth it in the long run. If I need to have a “real job” at some point, teaching is a career that will allow me to mimic my daughter’s potential school schedule (vacations and such). At the same time, I’m more convinced than ever that I want to (somehow) homeschool her.

Time will tell. In the meantime, my days are filled with studying, taking care of my daughter, and servicing my clients.

Have you considered going back to school? Why or why not?


Writing with limited time

Sundial

Being the parent of a small child can mean that time is a rare and valuable commodity. In my case, my daughter is now four years old, but we’ve had challenges finding adequate childcare. Part of the reason is because, in my heart, I’d rather not send her to school. My dream is to be a homeschooler. But I recognize that she loves being with other kids, and I’m pretty boring since I’m on the computer all of the time.

The other reason adequate childcare has been an issue is because I don’t have the most compliant child in the world. She prefers to do things her own way, which can be a challenge in the preschool setting. Her idea of fun is to do the opposite of what she’s told. Not usually in defiance (though sometimes), but usually because it’s just more interesting for her.

I refuse to “break” her and make her comply for the sake of complying. So I’ve changed schools a few times, and I recently changed teachers. I think this new teacher “gets” my daughter’s spirit, and so things are working out beautifully (for now). Unfortunately, this teacher only has an opening two days a week.

How do I find time to write/work/make money then? It’s tough! And with a child who wakes up at the crack of dawn, I am up early. And I’m not a night owl like I used to be in my younger days.

Here’s what I do.

I do what I can. And I try to push myself to do a little more than I think I can. My latest plan involves scheduling certain activities for each day. Not a rigid schedule, but I won’t try to write on my blog, cold call prospects, follow-up with prospects, write articles, edit articles, and go to the zoo all on the same day. Whenever I try to do that I often wind up doing absolutely nothing. It’s too overwhelming.

How’s it working for me? It’s still a bit overwhelming to try to make myself pare down my million-things list into smaller, more manageable chunks, but it’s a learning process and I’m trying. I think that’s what counts.

What about you? What are your strategies for writing with limited time?

Back to work (at home)

Parasail

Sometimes it makes sense to follow your instincts. In my case, working outside of the home while my daughter went to preschool just wasn’t feeling right. Besides, I was only working part-time (not near my house). And my brilliant 4-year-old figured out how to get sent home every other day or so (if she acts up, they send her home…great incentive to misbehave, don’t you think?)

So it’s back to working from home, which is where my heart is anyway.

I’ve got a few plans and ideas to make this work this time.

Blogging is a great way to make a little income, and for some it can be more than just a little. I’m going to get back to blogging basics, which includes article marketing, affiliate programs, and flat out advertising. I have to regain my PageRank so I can be more competitive. I will also take advantage of the various blogging classes offered online, some for free, and some not. I can figure it out all by myself, but it makes sense to also learn from others’ mistakes and successes.

My writing/editing business will be transformed into a marketing consultant business. And of course that means more cold calls, cold emails, and networking.

Speaking of networking, I’ll continue to enhance my brand using Twitter, and I’ll consider using Facebook and LinkedIn as well.

I’m also considering doing some in-home childcare, but that will take careful thought and planning. Babies are pretty easy, but they still require full-time attention. There’s an after-school crowd in my neighborhood, though, so maybe some latch-key babysitting and tutoring will work better.

Lots of work ahead of me, but being home for my daughter is worth it. Homeschooling is my ultimate goal, and with determination I know we can do it. Wish us luck, check back here often, follow us on Twitter, and tell your friends/colleagues to visit too.

What is your heart’s desire? Are you working toward that goal?

Another year for Crayon Writer!

Birthday

Crayon Writer is officially two years old! Happy Anniversary, Crayon Writer!

Though I haven’t been writing as often as I used to, I’m proud to have made it to the 2-year mark. Now it’s time to reexamine my goals, both for this blog and my life and hopefully that will help me keep Crayon Writer going for another year.

When I first started this adventure, I just wanted a place to talk about my life as a work-at-home single mother. But as my daughter grows and changes, I’m finding that I do too. Working from home is still my goal, but it may not be a reality in the near future.

My daughter’s already been going to preschool, and kindergarten is right around the corner. She’s turning into a lovely, independent child, who often prefers to “go somewhere,” preferably without Mommy hanging around. On the other hand, I’m still not keen on sending her to school for 10 hours a day, so I have to have some type of home-based work (along with a part-time job).

So join us in our next adventure(s)! This year, with my daughter as a 4-year-old, things are going to be exciting. There’ll be adventures in babysitting, possibly a move to a new state, interesting jobs, and definitely some freelance copywriting gigs.

Thanks for being part of our lives these past couple of years!

The rules of blogging

Blog

I’m going to break one of the long-standing “rules” of blogging. But it’s no problem, especially since the blogosphere is ever-changing.

One of the first things I learned was to never explain why you were away so long. Well, I’ve had some loyal readers who might actually want an explanation…at least, I’d want to know what happened if I were in your shoes.

When my blog was regularly updated, I had loads of time on my hands. But then I started working an 8-5 job (sometimes I worked 7 days a week), and I had to prioritize. As a single mother, when I got home at 5:30 or 6:00, my only priorty was spending quality time with my daughter. When she went to bed, it became wind down time and/or get all my household chores done before I crashed.

So there you have it! My first blogging rule disobeyed. Hope you didn’t mind too much.

Hopefully, with the help of that huge post-it note, I’ll find a way to get back to blogging. While you’re waiting, feel free to go back and read some earlier posts. I’ll be doing the same, hoping to get inspired once again.


Dreams can come true

Barack Obama

“I’m Barack Obama. I’m the President!” said my three-year-old daughter yesterday. Isn’t it wonderful that we can finally say that one day she actually could be president?

I was born in the early 70′s, and didn’t experience as much of the blatant racism my parents and others have, but I’ve seen my share.

My mother remembers traveling down south from Michigan when she was a teen, and having to eat unrefrigerated food because restaurants didn’t serve Blacks.

My grandmother, who looked white, was able to eat in a restaurant once, while her husband had to wait outside. I’m guessing he felt it more important that his wife be able to eat even if he couldn’t.

My mother also remembers not knowing the rules in the south, and having strangers (Black) pull her off the sidewalk when a white person approached. She and her sisters also had to use disgustingly dirty restrooms because, of course, they couldn’t use the white restrooms on their trip down south.

And for me, I remember being spit on by a white man when my parents pulled up next to his truck at a stoplight. That was in the 80s, in Michigan, when I was just a kid.

Just 2 years ago a stranger, a white man, asked me if my daughter’s father was Black too. When I told him Yes, he was so happy! He said something like, “Good! Too many people try to mix the races.” A complete stranger!

I say all this to say that I’m still in awe that this country will have a Black president in a very short time. It’s finally sinking in that this is real. That people were tortured and killed for this to happen. And amazed and humbled that my daughter will grow up in this (hopefully) new age.

I know that racism isn’t gone. Far from it. I live in a pretty racist town, which is part of the reason I believe I haven’t been able to find a decent job (along with this being a bad economy…it’s not all about race, I know). We still have work to do, and hopefully people won’t think this wipes the slate clean.

But for now I’m just so humbled and almost speechless at what his election has accomplished. I just wish Dr. King and others were here to witness this miracle. What a great time to be an American!

The speed of life

Working toward being a self-sustaining business owner is definitely not for the faint of heart. My journey recently included starting to substitute teach again. The goal? To make some steady money while not forgetting I really want to solely be an entrepreneur.

So far, it’s been pretty rocky. My last part-time gig was as a call center representative, and my poor throat has never been the same. Working with a classroom full of kids has made my throat injuries flare up again, so this gig may be short-lived. High school kids are easier (I just shut up and let them work), but the jobs aren’t steady yet (still early in the Arizona school year, though).

Though my 3-year-old likes her preschool, we miss being together, so we taken a few field trips during the week anyway.

It’s tough. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up, so remember that it’s the journey that counts…not the destination. Life is a highway.

Three is the charm

Running a business is hard work, as we all know.

Coupled with single parenting and attempting to work solely from home, I’ve had to make some tough choices. Now that my daughter’s three years old, we’re giving daycare/preschool a second chance, and it seems to be working. She likes the teachers, she asks to go to school, she hasn’t gotten a cold yet (knock on wood…but she’s been there 7 days), and now I have my time freed up a bit.

The great thing about her new school is they don’t run it like a typical daycare or preschool. The kids have a general structure, but then they’re allowed to decide what they want to do. The teaching style is Reggio Emilia, and is similar to Montessori schools. I think that’s one reason she likes it. Also, her main teacher “got” her immediately.

The next tough choice was whether to pour myself into my businesses, or work on a part-time job. For now, I’m going to work as a substitute teacher to take off some financial pressure. In my free time, or days when I can’t find an assignment, I’ll be blogging, freelancing, and/or working my direct sales business.

My goal? Besides raising a happy and healthy girl, I still plan to be an entrepreneur only. I’m just taking a detour for now.

Have you taken a part-time job while still pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams? Share with us!

Blogging faux pas

If you’ve been around the blogging block, you’ve probably seen those lists of things blogger should never do. For instance:

1. Don’t fail to respond to your comments

2. Don’t fail to write regularly

3. Don’t stray off topic

4. Never apologize for, or explain, an absence.

Well I’m not one for following rules if they don’t fit my situation (unless they’re rules or laws handed down by the powers-that-be).

I do respond to many comments, but I don’t have time to answer every single one (thanks for being a talkative bunch!) But I definitely appreciate them all, and I look forward to them a lot. So keep commenting so I know you’re out there, and feel free to talk amongst yourselves sometimes. Conversations are a good thing.

Writing regularly is also something I aim for, but life gets in the way a lot. Luckily I have some faithful commenters who give me a kick in the rear if  I take too long between posts. :)

Staying on-topic is important, but it helps when you actually have just one topic. Crayon Writer is loosely about my journey as a freelance writer and single mother working from home, so there are a lot of topics I can safely cover (parenting, mothering, children, writing, working from home, blogging, and a whole lot more).

Finally, the one rule I think I haven’t “broken” is not apologizing for or explaining a long absence. Or at least I try to weave it into another blog post, like this one. I’ve been gone for a long time getting over my first (and hopefully last) bout of the stomach flu, and it really knocked me down for the count. Coupled with moving, I’ve gotten really behind with everything.

So, thanks for your patience, thanks for still reading, and enjoy my apologetic flurry of posts-to-come.

Do you follow all the blogging rules? Why or why not?

New business venture

Freelance writing is definitely still part of my life, and I’ve recently decided to add another business to my life.

I strongly want to have a flexible schedule so I can spend time with my daughter. So a home-based network marketing business is a great fit for me right now.

I might have to start another blog now, but the next few months are sure to be an adventure.

Without going into much detail about the business (I’ll save that for another post or another blog), I would like to direct my loyal readers to the Donation button in the left-most side panel. Starting a new business takes a little capital, and I don’t think I’ve ever directly asked for folks to take notice of it.

So if you’re so inclined, click on it and donate away! Any amount will be a great help so I can hit the ground running. If not, no worries.

Just keep reading Crayon Writer, comment when you feel the urge, and enjoy!

Have you ever worked in a network marketing/direct sales business?