Wow, cool news! My daughters and I were contracted to write another book together! How cool is that? This particular book is the follow-up to Girl Talk, which released almost two years ago. This one is a lot like the first in that readers write in with their questions, and my daughters and I answer them. Questions about peer pressure, temptations, popularity, struggles, and anything else a teenager might deal with. But this edition has more of a journal-type feel to it than the first did. We’re really excited!
I love these opportunities because I get to take my passion and my work-at-home focus and marry that with my parenting. Plus, it’s an awesome opportunity to teach my daughters about commitment, work ethics, and priorities. Even better, it gives us an opportunity to talk about issues that are important to teenage girls and work together on something important that can help other girls.
This all came about because of the Girl Talk advice column we’ve been writing together on my website for many years. My publisher took notice of the column and asked us to write the first book patterned after that column. Then they approached me about this second one. Now that we’ve worked together and I’ve seen the awesome benefits that have come from the process, I’ve been dedicated to finding other ways to blend my work-at-home commitments together with my parenting.
I’ve involved my girls in some of my speaking engagements and some of the conferences I’ve gone to. I’ve let them express their individual creativity in the writing of the columns and the books, I’ve sought their opinions and asked for their advice. Not only does it give them ownership into the ministry, but it has provided opportunities for us to spend time together.
Moving forward I’m definitely looking for some other projects we can do together after this one because I want to instill in them a self-motivated, driven commitment to working. I believe the future will be more and more entrepreneurial, and I want him to have an entrepreneurial spirit that matches up with the calling God is raising up in their lives. By working with them and talking with them as we pursue project, I’m able to help them find nuggets of that calling, proof of it in their hearts in their lives. It’s invaluable to me as I seek guidance from the Holy Spirit on how to steer and nurture my kids.
I’ve talked before here about hiring your kids to do work for you over the summer or as you consider outsourcing some of the things you do, I’ve encouraged you to consider hiring your kids to do it. That’s wonderful, but there is an even deeper level of involvement you could go ti if you’re willing. I promise you if you look for some of those avenues and work to involve your kids, even when it costs you time or even money, it will pay off in great rewards.
Some examples might be:
· Graphic design
· Making phone calls
· Managing social media
· Brainstorming ideas
· Launching a special
· Canvassing an area with flyers
Of course, only you know what your business is and what your needs are. Still my recommendation is you step back and let down the walls that tell you what your limits are and with your teenagers limits are. Open your heart and mind to see the opportunities you might be able to provide for your kids now and how God might use those opportunities to bring you closer together. In my case I’m so happy to say that two of my kids will be able to list two traditionally published books on their college applications. As a mom, that makes me very proud. But I do have three other kids coming up behind them. So I have to pray for opportunities for them as well.
My advice is that you start there. Pray that God would show you what you can do, how you can blend your business and your parenting in a way that makes sense, and how you can use the opportunities you’ve been give to give your kids an opportunity of their own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole O’Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life’s tough choices. She’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series (with the 4/1/12 release of The Embittered Ruby), and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents (6/1/12, Kregel) helps pre-empt peer pressure by tackling tough issues. Visit www.nicoleodell.com for more info.
I’m going to be honest about my priority list. I know there are some misplaced priorities on this list—namely my poor husband. So, I’m not saying this is how it should be, but this is how it feels for me sometimes in order priority:
- Sick kids
- The youngest kid on the way up to the oldest kid in that priority
- Quiet time with God/Bible study
- Church and church events
- The most pressing schedule of events
- Grocery shopping (Sometimes this has to come before dinner, or there is no dinner.)
- Certain pressing business needs
- Time with husband
- Certain, not–so–pressing, business needs
- Free time for me
Good grief, I sure hope not! I get my best work done when I’m sitting at a coffee shop. There’s something inspiring about watching people mingle, smelling the coffee, listening to the conversations happening around me, and most importantly, knowing that not a single one of those people is going to bother me for anything.
A couple of times a week, usually two, I grab my computer, my charger cord, and my phone and I drive over to Panera. Now, just so you understand how much of a commitment this actually is for me, Panera is thirty minutes away from me. But there’s no coffee shop in my town, and the library doesn’t open until noon. So, Panera is. Read More→
No, we aren’t going to talk about New Year’s resolutions, though this is definitely the season to be making them—or perhaps already failing at them. Instead, we’re going to peek at three broad areas where you can make subtle changes in your work-at-home experience that will have a huge impact on you, your business, and your family—especially those teenagers who are watching.
Resist the urge to make a grand, sweeping declaration of how you’re going to completely change the way you divide your time, schedule your time, and manage your time. In other words, resist the voice that’s telling you you’re doing everything wrong. Instead, focus on a positive addition rather than a bunch of negatives. Read More→
Do you spend time imagining all sorts of horrible things going through your teens’ minds. Do you conjure up images of all the ways you’re ruining their lives or making them miserable? You can speculate all day long about how your teens might feel about your at-home jobs, and some of your assumptions might be true, some may not. But I will tell you this: if your teenager is miserable about you working from home, she/he would be miserable if you worked in an office, or if you didn’t work at all. A lot of that teenage angst stems from simply wanting to know you’re aware and willing to help–whatever the problem.
So rather than play the guessing game, trying to figure out what your teenager is thinking and what you can do to make things better, why not just ask?
1. How do you feel about my work?
Look for key words like proud, love, hate, resent, crazy, busy, boring, etc, in the answer. Let this description clue you in to your teens real feelings about what you do. There’s no right or wrong answer. And the answer will change as circumstances do, so ask often.
2. How much of the time, if ever, do you resent that I work?
Scale of 1-10, percentage…however your teen wants to answer is fine. We’re just looking for insight. It’s okay to have moments of frustration or temporary negativity, but if you find your teenager resents your work the majority of the time, then you need to do some more digging to find out why.
3. Within reason, what do wish I did differently?
Your teen might say things like:
- Wait until I leave for school to turn on your computer.
- Have a snack with me after school.
- Work on Saturday evening rather than the morning so you can come to soccer.
Who knows what’s going on in your kiddos’ head. That’s why it’s great to just ask.
4. Is there anything I’ve said or done lately that has hurt your feelings?
Be open to hear the truth, and prepare yourself not to be defensive. Don’t argue or try to prove that your teen is wrong about his/her feelings. Just apologize and offer a hug. Work on a way to avoid a similar problem in the future.
5. Do you have any questions for me?
This is an interesting one because teenagers don’t like to miss an open opportunity to hold Mom over the fire a bit. They’ll think and think until they come up with something to ask you. The point isn’t as much the question as it is the opportunity for advanced communication.
Those five questions should cycle around over and over. They’re a way for you to take inventory of how you’re coming across to your teenager, how your doing with balance, and what needs have arisen since you last asked. Don’t be afraid of hearing there’s need for a tweak, and don’t be defensive because that’ll guarantee your teen won’t be honest next time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nicole O’Dell, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents on preparing for life’s tough choices. The mother of six, including toddler triplets, she’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, based on the popular advice column she writes with her two daughters. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents, pre-empts peer pressure by tackling tough issues and was recently endorsed by Focus on the Family. Visit www.nicoleodell.com for access to her bustling blog network and other resources.
She was in line at the school library waiting behind a girl she didn’t know–probably an 8th grader! *Gasp* When that girl approached the desk to make her request, she said, “I’m looking for anything you have by Nicole O’Dell. She’s my favorite author.”
Emily shrieked, “That’s my mom!”
Emily was stunned to just happen upon someone who knew of her mother’s work and liked it enough to ask about it at school. And she was so proud to have that kind of connection to this older girl’s favorite author. The girl was impressed and so the librarian who was new to the school and had not heard of me or my books. What a fun moment for Em! Read More→
In my first post here at CWAHM, I offered five general tips for parenting teens while working from home. In May, we zeroed in on #1: Be Accessible. June was about #2, Setting Boundaries. This month we’re looking at:
#3 Involve Your Teen.
You’re busy. Your kids are bored. Why not blend the two concerns into a win-win situation for all of you?
Maybe you’ve considered hiring an assistant or you wished you could. Maybe you have stacks of work you just can’t seem to get to. Why not ask your teen to work with/for you? Not only will she feel valued, but it will be something that connects the two of you. She’ll get to earn some extra cash; you’ll have help with the packaging, shipping, labeling, etc–win win!
As I look at my own workload, there are many things I could delegate to my teens…and maybe a few others in the neighborhood! Read More→
#2: Setting boundaries
There’s nothing wrong with being committed to your job. The key is to make sure that you know in your heart and mind that you ARE committed to those teenagers as well. There’s a difference between a priority for the moment and a priority in life. You can prioritize what needs to happen that day or hour without making your teen feel second place.
Honestly, this is difficult for me. I have a really hard time saying no or setting limits to my availability during certain times of the day. I WANT to be the go-to person for my teens and I don’t want them to have to go off in search of someone else to answer their question or meet their need. I worry that they’ll slip through the cracks in these crucial years and I’m not okay with risking that. Read More→
In last month’s post, I offered five general tips for parenting teens while working from home. I thought it might be a good idea to take each of those points and expand on them a bit.
So, starting with #1: Be Accessible
It’s good to be committed to your job and wonderful to be committed to your family. The key is to make sure that you know in your heart and mind that you ARE committed to those teenagers. They can’t slip through the cracks in these crucial years. Too many parents know in their heads what they need to do, but when it comes to the daily practice of living out the commitment on both sides, they fall short. Yes, it might seem unfair that if you were at work at an office somewhere, your family couldn’t disturb you in the middle of the day and interrupt your tasks–so why should it be okay to do so just because you’re home!?!? Read More→
I have six kids that range from toddler triplets up to a twenty-year old in the Air Force. If you’re like me, you expected that reaching the teen years would be a little easier as a WAHM. You thought, rightfully, they’d understand work schedules and support your commitment to your work. You even had moments of longing for the day they’d understand that when you held up one finger on one hand and the phone to your ear with the other, it meant stop talking, crying, hitting your brother, or making any noise of any kind.
What I didn’t consider as a parent of toddlers, was that as my children grew bigger, their problems would, too. It didn’t cross my mind during those early years that the flexibility I thought I was graciously doling out to my family was nothing compared to what I’d be called upon to do when my kids became teens. And, no one told me that teenagers don’t take a nap in the middle of the day or go to bed at 7pm. Read More→