Keeping Up Appearances

I’ve been saying to myself lately that there is something artsy and eccentric about leaving the house in mismatched clothes and no makeup. That my over-plucked, uneven eyebrows make me look more thoughtful and intense.

It has never occurred to me that my rugged eye brows and freakishly “unique” outfits make me look crazy… 

Such is the life of a stay-at-home working parent.

While perfectly polished and put together parents drop their children off at school, you can find me skipping into my son’s preschool with metal styling clips on the back of my head, a Thomas the Train sticker on my rear and remnants of a morning facial mask on my broken out jawline.

Before my freelance days, I considered myself a fully accessorized and (slightly uptight) conservative fashion plate.  I scoffed at co-workers who came to work disheveled. Oh, how the tide has turned now that I work from home and my “peers” are less than 4 feet tall.

Over the years I have discovered that the isolating life, not only of a stay-at-home parent but a stay-at-home working parent, is a crazy and character building adventure. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever pictured myself: -Staying in a robe all day long (My Work Day Casual)
-Changing a poopy diaper, talking to a vendor and playing a board game at the same time (Multi-tasking!)
-Tossing marshmallows into a child’s mouth while on a call with a client (???)

While I fully admit there is nothing wrong with lounging around in a robe like Hugh Hefner until noon, there is something to be said for starting your day off properly showered, dressed in pants without a drawstring and maybe even (gasp!) some make up on your face!?! Gentlemen, if you have completely embraced the isolation of working from home, you may trim your beard instead of applying makeup.

I have created a few cardinal rules for myself in 2011:

Pencil yourself in
Everyone cleans up well.  It’s time to keep regular hair appointments and see your favorite waxing gal at B-Shique Brow Boutique in St. Charles every 4 weeks. This boutique has walk-in waxing services every Saturday!

Crazy isn’t cute
Just because you work from home does not give you the liscense to look like a nutball. Contrary to what you might think, you are not invisible. I meet people almost everyday who ask me what I do and I don’t want to look like a watered down, suburban Courtney Love when I am handing them one of my business cards.

Get out of prison
Once you consider your work space to be that of a torturous dungeon, get out! Leave the house. Even when it is cold outside! Working too much is a huge detriment to your business.

I have yet to master the art of resisting distraction due to the fact that my “distractions” are living beings who rely on me to function. This fall, my daughter will be starting pre-school, gracing me with 2 1/2 hours of distraction-free time – 3 days a week!

What on earth will I do with myself?

The responsible side of me says, “Work, Elizabeth. You will be able to sit at your desk and peacefully work.”.

The other Elizabeth has smothered the responsible side and is having coffee and cruising through the library.  Throw in a regular facial and I am no longer a disheveled, half-groomed adult!

Please note that I have only been working from home for 3 years. I am sure these pitiful professional pick-me-ups are those of a novice.  Have you become master of your home office? When taking the plunge from cubical to kitchen table, what did you never expect?


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  • I am amazed that you have even attempted it, Elizabeth. Next year, I will finally be joining you as I try to officially work from home. I will be fortunate to have all three of my children in school all day, however, I am so worried that the closets will be quite raucous in their demands to be organized. And as I have been a stay-at-home mother for 13 years, my wardrobe is always an adventure in A. what is clean and B. what remains clean through the day when my shirts are used as my children's napkins and tissues. Thank you for the tips!

  • It takes time to get in a groove, but you will love it! Start a schedule for yourself. Make specific time for cleaning house and working, so you do not bail on work to do the dishes. Keep me posted on your progress! :)

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