As a working wife and mom I find that my creative problem solving skills are my most handy asset. They have saved me many times as I have searched the pantry and refrigerator at 5:30pm trying to come up with something - anything - to feed my family for dinner. And yes, not every dinner has to have a vegetable and yes, pancakes are a legitimate meal solution.
When it comes to my physical work location I have also have had to employee a variety of creative solutions. I technically have a home office with an actual desk. However, the reality is that I am rarely there and if I am there I often have a dog or two under foot, a child running around and a washer and drier buzzing. This can make for fairly entertaining conference calls with my clients as I apologize for the sudden barking dog or yelling child. As a result more often than not you will find me hidden away in my bedroom with the door locked (don’t worry I have a great support team including my husband who keeps an eye on the kids when they aren’t in school) or sitting in my car parked in a random place as I stop to try to get work done in between drop offs and pick ups. I once confessed to a client that I was calling from my closet because things were ‘crazy out there’ and when we finished the call I admitted that I was probably going to stay there a bit longer before I entered the fray!
Grabbing every possible moment to squeeze in work between client appointments and kid duties means that I have learned where I can park so no one is alarmed by my lingering presence and I have also learned which businesses offer free Wi-Fi. I know that I can buy a bottled water at Starbucks (I don’t drink coffee so that’s not really an option) and sit there for hours working away on my computer as I wait for my kids to finish up their appointments. And I just learned recently that if I park close enough to the Starbucks I can actually use their Wi-Fi from my car! Hello!?!?! How awesome is that? No need to buy their overpriced water then!
At the end of the day any of us who are parents or have families (yes, even the four legged kind) find ourselves doing a daily juggling act. We try our best to keep all the balls in the air, to make sure we are keeping it together and that we are getting everything done. This often requires a unique form of creativity. In the end I know that my clients appreciate my problem solving abilities and are grateful that I understand that they are also doing their own juggling act. I know that this push and pull actually makes me better at my job and more valuable to my clients. So next time you are at Starbucks look for me – I’m the one in the car parked right next to the door, lap top balanced on my steering wheel, ear buds in my ears as I talk to my clients. Tap the window and say ‘hi’. I’ll even share my free tap water with you….