Category: Family time

Diving into daycare

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Photo credit: Renee Yarter

Well, I finally jumped into the deep end. I enrolled my daughter, just three months shy of three, in a daycare center. She only went the past two days, but it’s such a difficult thing to do.

My daughter’s been home with me pretty much every day since she was born, and this separation is tough on us.

So why am I doing it?

I mentioned it’s time for me to get a day job so I can amass some money to properly fund my freelance business. And there’s almost no way to look for a job with a busy toddler at home. Her previous sitters, close family, aren’t able to watch her as much as they’d like, so here we are.

So far it’s okay. She tells me she likes school, and she clearly likes playing with all the kids.

But tonight she woke up from a bad dream, saying something about, “I want to go outside to see Mommy. I want to go outside. Where’s Mommy?” Almost broke my heart. The first day I dropped her off at the playground when everyone was out playing, and then I picked her up later when they were outside. So she firmly believes that Mommy is outside, and that if she just goes outside she’ll see me. So far it’s been true. Today I picked her up on their second playground outing.

Both days the teachers said she really wanted to go outside and kept asking to go. They assumed it was for playing purposes. I wondered. Now I know.

Luckily I only have her enrolled part-time, but I

may have to ease her into it a little more slowly. She’s okay, and isn’t crying much, but when she heads out to the playground you can tell that she’s looking for me and getting visibily upset when she doesn’t see me (I was peeking through a window to see how she was doing).

Long story shorter: Daycare is going to be rather hard for us to deal with. I feel horrible for abandoning my baby, but I also need to provide a secure home for her. Maybe when I get back on my feet we can go back to homeschooling, but for now daycare is a necessary part of our lives.

What about you? How has daycare affected you, your business, and your child(ren)?

Can children learn writing and reading from television?

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Before my daughter was born, I decided we would not watch T.V. at all. I heard all about the studies that said T.V. was bad for kids, that there’s no real interaction, that it may affect their ability to pay attention, and other scare tactics.

For us, television has been a sanity saver. There are times when I can’t be my daughter’s only source of entertainment, and we both need a break from each other. My daughter gets to visit places she’ll never see otherwise, she gets to see all kinds of people, and she’s introduced to lots of different concepts. For instance, she’s never seen snow in real life. The other day I pointed out that there was snow on the mountains, and she said, “I can ski on that snow!” I don’t ski. I don’t talk about skiing. She learned that on television.

I tape record educational shows for us to watch together, and we interact with them together sometimes. Our huge favorite is The Backyardigans. While there isn’t a teaching curriculum, she (and I) love to sing and dance together. When she was younger we watched Teletubbies.

Why do I mention this here? Lately I’ve found some shows on PBS that are wonderful programs that teach reading and writing. My educational favorite is Super Why. My daughter watches them read words, sound out letters and letter blends, write letters, and sing the alphabet. I find her telling me, “S. Sssssssss,” or “Tuh Tuh. T!” I love how she’s getting introduced to phonics. She answers their word questions, sings the alphabet with them, and pays close attention when they’re spelling out words.

While I’m still working at home without daycare, television is also a way for me to get a few minutes to concentrate on work.

So if you’re looking for another way to teach your toddler reading and writing, or if you’re a work-at-home parent, maybe rethink the whole television ban idea. Television might not be so bad after all, when used wisely.

Teaching grammar and writing to young children

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Do you need a reason to improve your grammar and writing? If you have children, or plan to soon, you have at least one great reason.

My daughter will be 3 years old in about 3 months. Though I know that genetics plays a role in her incredible language ability, I also credit her skills to my parenting style.

One thing I do is talk to her constantly, in regular language. I use prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, contractions, etc. I make it a point to tell her what things are, how they work, and I use a lot of words to explain. I also give her definitions.

My point is that my daughter uses almost perfectly correct grammar when she speaks. Sometimes she’ll say “me” instead of “I”, and of course she’s no English expert, but it’s amazing to watch her learn English everyday. If I didn’t know how to speak properly, and if I didn’t take the time to actually talk to her, she wouldn’t be able to communicate as coherently as she does.

Hand in hand with grammar is writing. I made sure to introduce and point out the alphabet to my daughter early, and we often discuss letters and words. When we’re playing with crayons, I often wrote letters for her, so it’s no surprise that she likes to make letters as best she can (she’s pretty good at writing an A, H, V, and U.)

Another excellent tool is right in front of you. I’ve allowed my daughter to watch me type, and I let her type letters too. This helped her learn not only her alphabet, but also punctuation marks and numbers. She often tells me, “Let me type my name, Mommy.” Right now she just types whatever letters strike her fancy, but she has fun pretending she’s writing words.

All of these everyday activities will help my daughter become a good writer, speaker, and reader.

So if you need to brush up on your basic rules of grammar, or if you never thought it was important to speak to babies and toddlers, give it a second thought. It really does matter.

Just this morning my daughter told me, “I hear a train. That’s strange. Hey! Train. Strange. Train. Strange!” I made sure to tell her that that’s called rhyming. I’ll let you know in a few years when she’s written her first book. ūüôā

Note: Look for more stories about my daughter’s amazing talents. I’ll be talking about her more and more, or I might just have to start another blog that’s not about writing.

A WAHM Christmas greeting

924850_decorated_christmas_tree__2.jpgMerry Christmas, everyone!

As a work-at-home-mom, I definitely deserve a break today. I’m grateful that there are family and friends visiting. Not just because I get to see them, but also because my daughter enjoys seeing and interacting with new people.

My “break” is that other people will be occupying her so I can get some much-needed work done. (Do home-business owners ever stop working?) After being up late wrapping presents, and spending the morning trying to convince my daughter to open them (she’s more interested in the wrapping paper), I felt a little off-kilter since I hadn’t opened my laptop all day.

I hope you are enjoying today, however you define “enjoyment.”

Merry Christmas!

Worn out words

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I haven’t talked about my life as a WAHM lately. So here’s an update.

I’m worn out!

My lovely daughter is now almost two-and-a-half, and deep in the throes of the “terrible twos.” She’s not as bad as most, I must admit.

But my days are long. Almost everything has to be negotiated because she’s pretty headstrong about–well– everything. Simple things turn into long, drawn-out ordeals that leave us both exhausted and upset.

The past few days she’s been home with me all day (no babysitting), and I’ve started a new cold email campaign, I’m looking for another “day job” (in case the cold emails don’t work), I’m trying to win the MyBlogLog Problogger contest¬†(join my community), and I’m working on a couple of little projects.

Whew!

I could really use a cappucino right about now.

One of the lucky things about my latest computer crash is that I’ve been using my old clunky desktop (with Windows 98!) So now that my laptop’s been repaired, my daughter can play on one of them while I’m working too. That helps, since now she’s tired of many TV shows. I bought her a Disney-themed toddler game, and she really enjoys it.

She loves to say she’s “working,” or that she’s “busy,” just like she hears Mommy say all of the time.

But, like another blogger said, I’m hoping to stay the course. If I can take it.

Writing thankfully

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Thanksgiving is coming up, so it makes sense to write about being thankful this month.

Obviously, I’m thankful for my daughter, the sweetest person I’ve ever met. I’m the luckiest mommy in the world!

Second to that, I have to give tons of thanks to my parents. Without their love and support (all kinds of support), I wouldn’t have been able to stay at home with my daughter for this long. There are just too many¬†(like 2 million)¬†things to thank my parents for, including my wonderful education and my skills.

Because I want to write something everyday this month, I’ll list some of the other things I’m thankful for in later posts.

Oh, one more thing, just to keep this on the topic of writing. I’m thankful for my high school English teacher, Ms. Dinwiddie.

Writing as a WAHM

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I’m back to writing and blogging with a vengeance.

My day job as a call center representative didn’t last very long. Who knew that talking too much could be bad for your health? My throat is still recovering, even after having taken a two-month leave.

So that’s over, and I’m relieved. I’m back to being a work-at-home-mom. Kind of scary (I was enjoying a paycheck every couple of weeks), but great too (I missed being with my daughter).

I obviously think staying at home with my daughter is the best thing for her.

So I was pleased to accidentally find an inspiring, heartwarming post about WAHMs at Making Sales Making Money, a site about home based business opportunities. I found it on MyBlogLog (join my community)!

The author is also sponsoring a cool sweepstakes. So he recognizes the importance of WAHMs, and he’s trying to put money in folks’ pockets. What a find!

Part of marketing is letting people know you’re in business. So, listen up. I’m back in business! If you need a writer, I’m your gal. I have samples here on my blog, and also on my main website.

Spread the word!

Thinking of linking

Red LinkIt’s been a while since I’ve posted some interesting links, so here we go.

Using the Blogrush widget, I found a wonderful post about improving your blog, called 101 Essential Blogging Skills. Some of my favorites:

¬†“Don’t go on hiatus or take a break from blogging. Many bloggers experience times when their passion for blogging wanes. Rather than going on hiatus commit yourself to low-intensity blogging for the duration of the slump (links, short posts, and so on)…” This is advice I should have taken the past couple of months.

Be transparent. Disclose your biases and affiliations, particularly when it comes to potential profit.” I hope you read my Disclosure Policy in the the Advertise section. That’s my way of being transparent.

“Recognize when advertisements are negatively impacting on your blog. Be willing to part with or change them if necessary.” I recently got rid of a few ads, hoping to make this blog more readable.

If you’re looking to buy a baby gift, check out BabyGearToday for reviews of cool things for your little ones.

I can’t believe I’ve never raved about The Golden Pencil, a blog about freelance writing that includes dozens of writing-related job listings each week.

Enjoy the links while I try to fix the bug in my blog!

Birthday greetings!

Whew! I never realized it would take me so long to adjust to working outside of the home. Then again, the last time I worked full-time was in May 2005, right before my daughter was born. Thanks for hanging in there with me, re-reading my old posts, and checking out the comments.

This week is also a special week for me. It’s my birthday this week! I won’t say my exact age, but suffice it to say that the picture of me you’ve been staring at is about 7-10 years old.

I’m going to be getting back into the writing business. My day job doesn’t allow any time for writing at work, but I’m beginning to carve out time at home. My daughter is as busy as ever, but she’s also getting into playing by herself.

For you other freelance writers who have regular day jobs too, any words of wisdom for making it all work?

One thing about my day job that is great: the steady income makes me feel more secure, so I’ll be able to work on my business soon without all the worries and pressure I had before. My advice for starting freelancers is to keep or get a day job while you grow your business.

Does anyone know how to make WordPress recognize multiple paragraph markings? I don’t feel I have enough spacing between paragraphs, and it’s driving me batty.

Until next time…

Freelance copywriting for family and friends

As professional freelance copywriters, we set rates that are comparable with other copywriters’ rates.

But family and friends often want a discount on your copywriting services.

How do you handle this sticky situation? I have a few ideas.

When you quote them a rate, tell them the lower end of your acceptable price range. Then be sure to¬†let them know you usually charge clients the highest rate in your range. For example,¬†let’s assume¬†you¬†won’t work for less than $50 an hour, but you¬†usually charge your business clients $65 to $75 an hour. Give your family members the $50 rate, but tell them you usually charge $75.

Trade services. If your friend can knit, fix things, or the like, set up a bartering agreement with them.

Offer your family a discounted rate if they agree to a large job or a repeat project.

Tell your friend how busy you are, and agree to do the work for a lower rate, but it might take you a while to complete the project. This way you aren’t working for less and working¬†a rush job too.

If all else fails, just say no, you’re just swamped, and you couldn’t possibly give their project the attention it deserves. Then refer them to a fellow copywriter. If you anticipate a headache when dealing with your loved one, this may be the only option to maintain a good relationship.

What tactics have you used for this situation?