Summer Sun on My Back, Office in My Home

‘ As I stepped outside today to fetch the mail – no shoes, no shirt, Stella slippin’ out the door just as it opened – I thought for a moment about the lifestyle working from a home office has allowed me to lead.

I walked to the curb in the summer heat and browsed through the mail; no checks, no bills – a wash for any entrepreneur. The sun was warming my back, cooled all morning by the largesse of the AC in my home office. It felt damn good.

I paused. This is one heluva life we’ve carved out here – myself and 20 million other American home-based entrepreneurs. It’s 95% a lifestyle play, 5% because I’m a cheap S.O.B. who wouldn’t want to absorb the overhead of moving my home-based enterprise into some corporate digs.

And why should I anyway? What can I accomplish in a corporate trap that I cannot do in my home office?
Read More »

Jeff on July 22nd, 2010 | File Under Fatherhood, Home Office Parenting | No Comments -

Fun and Functionality of Toys, Gifts & Gadgets in the Home Office

I recently received a demo of the Motormouse. The pint-sized Porsche car is a 2.5 GHz wireless mouse that uses a simple USB input to rev up navigation. The utility of this gadget got me thinking about that place where fun and functionality converge in the home office.

To hear the IRS tell it, the tax-deductible home office must be a place of business. It has to be used “regularly and exclusively” for business purposes, and cannot double as a playroom, guestroom or music studio after hours (unless, of course, your business is music). Does that mean your PC or Mac cannot store a music library or play iTunes? Or you cannot practice music over lunch (if your business is NOT music)?

Lines definitely are blurred.

Tell that to the people at Motormouse. More than some kitschy toy, the Motormouse ($49.95; http://www.motormouse.us.com) fits neatly beneath one’s palm, making it responsive to use. It’s “superbly crafted” (it says so in the press materials) and is available in black, red or silver. The tires are rubber; the scroll wheel is the spare. The trunk even opens to stash two AAA batteries and the USB receiver.

The media kit also says it’s perfect for the décor of almost any car enthusiast or gadget lover. Or home officer?

Truth be told, I use a Wave keyboard with an integrated touch-pad pointing device (a.k.a. mouse). So the Motormouse’s functionality in my home office was rather limited. My son surfs like any teenager. That, coupled with his penchant for Porsches, has made the Motormouse a fixture in his bedroom.

But the question of the gadget in the home office helps define – and blur – the space.


Read More »

Jeff on June 27th, 2010 | File Under Home Office Parenting, News & reviews | No Comments -

Hey Parent: New York Times Wonders If Grade-School Treats Irk You? Learn Three Words: No, Thank You

Good eatin', but apparently not in New York's PS 9.

Good eatin', but apparently not in New York's PS 9.

New York Times writer Susan Dominus interviewed a woman - MeMe Roth - whose children seemingly are offered enough sugary snacks and candies in school to send them into a diabetic coma - or at least an afternoon sugar crash.

So Ms. Roth has launched a campaign (her second, apparently) against the practice of well-intended parents sending cupcakes to school for a child’s classmates to share in a birthday celebration.

An Atlanta native, apparently the fair Ms. Roth is no Southern Belle. In principle, the concept seems fair: Sugar run amok is contributing to rising obesity, diabetes and other disease, which, in turn, costs our nation untold suffering and billions in healthcare costs.

In the article, she’s been painted as belligerent and confrontational. Some in her school - and previous schools - have seen her rants as self-serving and ill-intended. She reminds me of the woman in the 1990s who railed against Married: With Children, hoping to get Al, Peg and the risque show ditched from the TV line-up.

Viewership spiked.

As the father of three grade-school kids also offered cakes and snacks during school (birthday snacks, holiday treats and the lot — sometimes offered by our family in celebration of our own children’s milestones or events), I can see Ms. Roth’s concern. But frankly, she seems in it for the battle - or notoriety.

A more thoughtful approach, one that probably would serve her children better in their own futures, would be to espouse their saying three words: “No, thank you.”

What do you think…?
Read More »

Jeff on June 16th, 2009 | File Under Food & Diet | No Comments -

When Dogs Leave Us: A Teenager’s Perspective

My family’s dog, Riley, died recently. He had kidney failure, and was gone in less than a week. My father, a writer, told us we should be writing about our feelings and memories. Here’s what I wrote…

“The dog I’ve grown to know and love Is now in heaven up above.
In his heaven there’s squirrels and trees. He runs through the yard with an easy breeze.

There are couches galore and a pool, too,
And that is most definitely the perfect shaded blue.
Read More »

Jeff on April 23rd, 2009 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

Home-Based Daddy Underwear Meet Mommy Pole Dancer

As a work-at-home dad, I once was innocently tagged by my daughter as that dad who “works in his underwear.” Such is my home office lament.

So imagine the surprise when this mom read the subtext of what her child drew about what Mommy does for a living…

funny children

Suffice it to say, Mommy felt the need to clear the air…

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn’t show me dancing around a pole. It’s supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Sincerely, Mrs. Smith

Now, I’ve become quite suspicious of stuff being passed as “truth” on the Internet. But fact or fiction, this is plain funny.

Jeff on March 23rd, 2009 | File Under Home Office Parenting, Humor | 1 Comment -

Mr. Mom Moves to Home Office After Baby’s Birth

Millions of American men are joining the ranks of the work-at-home dad — if only temporarily.

One of those was Josh Lubin, a Web advertising executive in Atlanta. After the birth of his child, Josh spent some time at home on paternity leave. Read about his experiences below or by clicking here….

ATLANTA, Georgia — Going back to work after my wife had our first child was an emotional roller coaster.
The author says that being “Mr. Mom” is appealing, but putting the idea into practice is harder than it looks.
Read More »

Jeff on January 23rd, 2009 | File Under Fatherhood, Home Office Parenting, Uncategorized | No Comments -

Salary.com Offers Timeless Look at Work-at-Home Dad’s Value

What’s Dad worth?

Salary.com, Inc., the compensation expert, posted a dad version of its popular Mom’s Salary Wizard. Among its top-line findings:

* Dads don’t earn as much overtime as moms for their stay-at-home jobs.

* The typical working dad earned no overtime in his 39.6-hour dad’s work week, while working moms earned, on average, 27% of their “mom salary” in overtime.

* Although their hours differed, all parents had eight jobs in common: Day Care Center Teacher, Laundry Machine Operator, Computer Operator, CEO, Facilities Manager, Psychologist, Van Driver, and Cook.

* Dads had two jobs in their top 10 which moms did not have: General Maintenance Worker and Groundskeeper.

* Moms had two unique counterpart jobs: Janitor and Housekeeper.

* By working long hours in a high-wage area, stay-at-home dads near Silicon Valley in California, clocked in at an annual value greater than $149,000.

* Working fewer “dad hours” in a low wage area, working dads on the rural Texas-New Mexico border rated about $83,500 in dad pay.

What else did the survey discover…?
Read More »

Jeff on January 15th, 2009 | File Under Home Office Parenting | No Comments -

One In Three Dads Would ‘Home Office’ If They Could: CareerBuilder

Don’t be surprised if you see more dads on the playground with the kids during the workday.

According to a 2007 CareerBuilder.com Working Dads survey, 37 percent of working dads say they’d leave their jobs if their spouse or partner made enough money to support the family. If given the choice, another 38 percent would take a pay-cut to spend more time with their kids.

The CareerBuilder.com survey, “Working Dads 2007,” was conducted from February 15 to March 6, 2007 and included 1,521 men, employed full-time, with children under the age of 18 living at home.

* Nearly one-in-four (24 percent) working dads feel work is negatively impacting their relationship with their children.

* Forty-eight percent have missed a significant event in their child’s life due to work at least once in the last year and nearly one-in-five (18 percent) have missed four or more.

The time working dads spend on work far exceeds the time spent with their children.
Read More »

Jeff on December 15th, 2008 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

Home Office Pioneer: Domainer Recalls ‘Outing’ By 1st Grade Daughter

Kelly Lieberman is a serial entrepreneur, domain strategist, devoted mom. And she remembers vividly the day her daughter, Lily, “outed” her as a work-at-home parent

Lily was in first grade. She was asked to draw a picture of what her parents did for a living, and what she would like to do when she grew up.

During the parent-teacher conference, Kelly and husband Joe say pictures of Joe in a suit at his desk with a computer, Lily as a princess, and Kelly in a night gown with a laptop on a bed.

“I was mortified,” Kelly recalls. “Thank goodness everyone knew me.”
Read More »

Jeff on December 1st, 2008 | File Under Home Office Parenting, Uncategorized | No Comments -

Moms, Moms, Moms… And What About the Y Guy…?

Johnson & Johnson’s division that makes Motrin might be wanting 800 milligrams of ibuprofen right about now.

A couple of black eyes and a sore ego seems to be afflicting the group.

Seems that they came out with a campaign that suggested moms who carry their kids in slings, pouches, pappooses (or however those things are spelled) and elsewhere on the female human physique tend to get sore. Read Forbes’ take here. Marketing guy Seth Godin had a POV, too.

“It’s a good kind of pain. It’s for my kid. Plus it totally makes me look like an official mom.”

Not a nanny. Not a surrogate. Not a grandma, a bubbie, a nanna. But an “official mom.”

Avoiding for the moment any discussion surrounding what or who “An Official Mom” may really be, what about an “Official Dad.” Do we count? Does our pain amount to less than that of a mom, or are we so muscle bound and ripped that carrying junior in a papoose is just another weight disc on the barbell?


.

Jeff on November 17th, 2008 | File Under Uncategorized | No Comments -

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