Remote Working – A New Normal

Remote working

We now find ourselves working in new ways.  What is your new normal?  

I’ve been asked by one of my clients to write a blog about remote work.  I’ve worked from a home office for some time.  I have an office space downtown, but I really love to spend most of my time in my home office, under a blanket with my sweet doggie.  

Here are my “working remotely” tips.  While I have been doing this for awhile, I am now  working remotely with the addition of two college kids, a high school kid and a husband – all home with me, in my space.  Our oldest works in health care and is currently living at home.  That brings a whole new level of stress with it each and every day.

My Tips

Honesty, I’ve broken all of these in the past two weeks! It is okay, just like meditation – just begin again.

  • Go to bed at the same time every night.  
  • Wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Exercise.  Meditate.  Pray.  Journal.  Do something each day at the same time of the day to ground you.  
  • Eat breakfast at the same time.  Now, you can enjoy this with your family. 
  • Set regular office hours. Have your kids set regular school hours.  Each person should have their own “office”, even if just a small dedicated space in a room.  
  • Take regularly, scheduled office/school breaks, but be flexible if a pick up game of basketball starts outside your home office/school space.  Go play!  Then, get right back to work.
  • Take a lunch break.  This is important.  Read.  Walk outside or on a treadmill or up and down the stairs.  Dance around the house.  Clean a bathroom (this counts as exercise and cleaning).  Garden.  Power nap.  The important thing is that you take a dedicated break.  
  • Set a stop time.  Stop work, write your successes for the day.  Create your to-do list for the next day.  Shut down your computer and leave your dedicated work space!
  • Exercise again.  Meditate.  Pray.  Rest.  Watch a short TV show.  Do something that clearly separates work from home and allows you to make the transition. 
  • Cook, eat and cleanup dinner together as a family.
  • Relax, we are shut in for a while.  Do a fun evening activity.  Read, bake, watch a movie, snuggle.  
  • Go to bed on time!

Additional Thoughts!

Everyone in the family should have one chore/task to complete each day, regardless of age.  Just think how great and organized your house and yard will look and be.  

I just put a large sticky note on the door of the pantry with every day of the week listed.  Every family member hanging out here can put a small sticky note on each day of the week with the task they will complete.  Clean out bathroom closet.  Bath the dog.  Vacuum upstairs.  Spend 20 minutes cleaning out the garage.  Etc.  Give them some control over what they want to contribute, to some degree.

Every once in awhile – skip the shower and stay in your comfy clothes.  I do recommend changing out of your PJs and at least putting on yoga pants and/or workout cloths.  I recommend getting showered and dressed daily, but maybe once a week – its okay to declare a “nope, not going to get dressed today” day.  Just make sure it isn’t a day when you have a scheduled video call.  I’ve done that before and was rushing around 10 minutes prior to the meeting.  It wasn’t pretty, nor was I.  

By creating a laundry schedule, they know when everything gets washed, dried and folded and they can contribute, even if forceably.  No one will be asking if they can use the washing machine, for older kids.  Mom or Dad aren’t expected to do everyone’s laundry, for the younger kids. Someone throws in a load each day according to the schedule.  At night, everyone can fold while watching TV together.  

Create a Schedule

Creating a schedule keeps order in the house and when chaos does strike, it allows everyone to get back on track relatively quickly. It also allows everyone to schedule calls, homework time, reading time and family time appropriately.

Sample Schedule…

Monday – Friday

Morning Quiet Time (work) 9:00-11:30

Lunch Time 12:00-1:00

Downstairs Quiet Time (work) 2:00-5:00

Dinner Prep, Meal and Cleanup 5:30 to 7:00

House Evening Quiet Time 10:00


Family Prayer Time 11:00

Family Clean 2:00-3:00

Sample Laundry Schedule…

Everyone brings their clothes, sheets and towels down on Sunday. They also take their clothes up on Sunday from the laundry room.

On Wednesday, everyone brings dirty clothes down again and takes all clean clothes up from the laundry room.

I wash all the sheets, towels, blankets, etc on the weekend and on Thursday during the week.

This allows me to use the shelves in the laundry room to store folded clothes, everyone has a spot on the shelf. I also have a rod hanging from wall to wall to hang clothes until kiddos can take them up.

I’ve included some pictures. Since I am allowing/requiring help, it is a mess. Please don’t judge. The clothes get folded and placed on shelves above my washer and dryer. You are seeing the towel rags too.

Laundry Room
Laundry Rod


Wash towels and sheets


Wash whites/lights


Wash darks and workout clothes


We’ve Got This!

Hope this helps!  Send your tips and we will post them!

With purpose,


The Art of a Great Apology

Compassion is a great word, but showing compassion is an incredible action.  Yet so often, when it comes to showing compassion with an apology, we are more concerned about being right than about the healing of someone we may have hurt.  We excuse, justify and defend ourselves, wanting to prove our innocence and our righteousness. 

If we carry the “power” in a relationship, then we have a greater responsibility to apologize.  We should all be mindful of this power distribution.  No one likes to think that power exists in relationships, but it does.  A boss has it.  A parent has it.  The spouse of a hurting partner has it.  

Apologies are Not

Apologies are NOT about admitting wrong doing or fault.

And, they definitely aren’t about US!

Apologies Are

Apologies ARE about repairing a relationship and doing the right thing.


Validation – people cannot control how they feel.  They can only control what they do with their feelings. When people are hurt, they simply want the hurt to stop.  They naturally try to protect themselves.  When a person is hurt or angry, they may say mean things.  Don’t confuse what is going on.  Make this only about them hurting and you wanting to help make that hurt stop.  If you care about the person and the relationship, think about what the person is feeling and ask them to share with you.  They will tell you if you are seeking to understand and not seeking to be right.  But, asking them to open up and to be vulnerable only to argue with them, blame them or justify your actions will cause so much more pain and suffering for them. This will cause extreme damage and break trust that will be very hard to get back.  


Ownership – once you understand how the person feels, think about your specific actions that may have led to them feeling this way. Again, it doesn’t mean you were wrong, or did anything on purpose.  Remember, people can’t control how they feel.  But something you did, well intentioned or not, caused the other person harm/hurt.  If you care about them, seek to figure out what you did so you can prevent the pain in the future.  This is all anyone really wants, to be understood and spared the pain again.  

Validation Again

Validation Again – then one more time ask them if what you did (specific and with full ownership) caused them to hurt.  Your goal is to get a “yes, that is how I feel and that is what happened that made me feel this way”.  Often times, the things we do that hurt others are unintentional and silly. But at the time, it still caused pain. The friend, employee, loved one wants us to know, so it doesn’t happen again.  It isn’t about being right.  There is no need to argue or to ever state, “I wasn’t trying to…”.  

Our intentions are irrelevant.  If you get hit in the head with a baseball bat, your head is going to hurt, maybe even bleed and you may suffer a concussion. Do you want someone standing over you telling you that they didn’t mean to hit you, that wasn’t their intention?  You should have been wearing a helmet.  You walked in the path as they were swinging.  Or, do you want someone to get down with you, listen to you, care you are hurting and help you?  Of course… we all want someone to show us compassion.  

There is no need to argue.  If you care, help.  And that leads me to…


Restoration – if you care about the relationship, fix it! Again, stop worrying about who is right or wrong.  It isn’t about that.  It is about someone hurting and wanting the pain to stop.  That is all.  After you hear, yes – that is how I feel and what you did that hurt me, then fix it. Clearly state how you will restore this relationship.  How will you prevent this from happening again and how will you repair the damage. How will you make this right? Showing you hear, accept and care to make things better – is a sure fire way to keep the relationship strong and healthy.  

Final Thoughts

Remember, NO buts in an apology – only butts use the word but in an apology! Awful I know, I had to.

And lastly, if you aren’t sorry – just don’t say the words “I’m sorry”.  It does so much more damage.  Be authentic with your words.  

With Purpose,


Kids are Watching – To Fight or Not?

I realize this might be a hotly debated topic, that is not my intention.  We always hear, don’t fight in front of the kids.  Parents need to appear as a united front, a team.  Kids need to see you working together.  

I agree that parents are a team, meant to support one another, and kids need to see that.  But, they also need to see reality and what to do when reality happens.  I mean come on, does working together always look pretty? 

We don’t have to go far to see how divided the world is, how ugly and critical people can be.  We see the worst played out on social media, in the news and all around us.  There is no way this ugliness doesn’t sneak into our homes at times.  

I remember one weekend my husband and I were at a marriage retreat.  It was during a particularly rough time in our marriage, not going to lie.  We’ve been married for 26 years, there have been some rough years.  

We were sitting at a table with about 4 other couples and a priest. One gentleman spoke up and shared that he believed that parents should never fight in front of the kids – that they should always appear in agreement when the kiddos are around and work out their disagreements privately.  While this is a great goal, it simply isn’t realistic – in my humble opinion.  

I normally sit quietly in situations like this, always wanting to please, to be liked.  But, after listening to this unrealistic perfection that made me feel like a failure of a mother, I spoke up.  Maybe it was that Rob and I had been fighting lately and I just couldn’t sit there and listen any longer.  

I said how I felt and it boils down to this.  

I think its important that kids see reality and how hard marriage really is.  We screw up. We have to apologize.  We have to walk away and calm down.  We are vulnerable and that can be ugly in the safety of our loved ones.  If our kids never see this, they won’t know how to handle it when it happens in their marriage and/or other relationships.  They won’t know how to put in the hard work, how to apologize and how to love unconditionally.  

To my surprise, the tablemates and the priest actually agreed with me.  

We live in a world where everyone posts highlights on social media.  This can make us feel inferior ALONE.  We think we are the only ones struggling.  

Seeing imperfection in the home models compassion and forgiveness and how to properly apologize and how to unconditionally forgive.  It teaches them that people are human and will make mistakes.  It also teaches them that we have to take responsibility for our actions and our mistakes.    

There is no better place than the home to teach them about the kind of humans we want them to be.  It can be used as an opportunity to talk to your kids.  “Mommy lost her patience and yelled and now I need to make things right.” Let them see a genuine and compassionate apology.  

Living a lifestyle of purpose is about having passion every day doing what you do, being the leader you are, where you are.  It doesn’t mean we get it right all the time. Let others see the real you, including your children.  It opens the door for great conversations.  Learning how to have respectful conflict and honest apologies are something our world is sorely lacking.  

With Purpose,


Rough Years – Brace Yourself

Some years, adolescents are simply not pleasant.  Brace yourself. But, they will come around.  It doesn’t mean that you let the behavior become acceptable.  Just know it is normal.  

Every Child is Unique

The oldest daughter about killed me the last two years of high school.  The younger daughter about killed me in middle school.  The youngest child has always been extremely sweet, but he pushed the limits a little more when he was younger.  The third child – I am waiting.  

Maybe I learned more about parenting by the time the boys came around or maybe the girls were just more difficult.  Either way, here are a few tips I’d like to share.  

Getting Along is Optional

You won’t always get along.  That is okay.  It broke my heart at first (and sometimes it still does), now I am learning that this is part of them finding their independence while still desperately needing me.  Love them everyday – don’t hold a grudge and don’t change your rules because they don’t like them.  

Guilt Doesn’t Work

Guilt does not work!  You can’t guilt a child into being kind to you or feeling sorry for their awful actions that were hurtful.  Guilt trips make them more persistent and more ornery.  Calmly state how you feel, what you expect and follow it with “I love you”.  They won’t know what to do.  

Listen to Them

Listen to them!  Always let them express themselves and teach them to do this respectfully and with compassion.  This is something our world desperately needs, disagreement while still being respectful and compassionate.  No one can control how they feel.   We can only control what we do with our feelings.  Teaching them to express how they feel and what they think – it is important.    You don’t have to agree and it doesn’t mean they get their way.  

My 22 year old daughter once told me that it was hard because she was an independent 22 year with her own thoughts and opinions.  She told me I wasn’t listening to her, which really exasperated the situation.  I thought I was listening. But, I needed to do something different to help her feel heard. But in the end, I still expected her to do what she was asked and I reminded her that I was paying for her college and living expenses, but would be happy to turn those expenses over to her if she wanted to be truly independent.  I told her I loved her and I hugged her, even though I didn’t feel like doing anything but screaming at her.  I went to my room and cried. She came around.

Know the Rules

Don’t change your rules because they don’t like them. Conversations are important.  But, follow through and consistency are critical. If they respectfully and maturely ask you to reconsider the rules and give you a really well prepared reason, be open.  But don’t change your rules because it is the easier thing to do.  Only change them after much thought and only if the kiddo fully understands the rule and they are only asking respectfully for you to reconsider.  

Run that Marathon

Parenting is a marathon.  You may have a rough mile along the way, but don’t give up.  

With purpose,


Returning to Normal – A Case for Self Care

I find myself trying to return to normal this week.  A normal work schedule.  A normal way of eating.  A normal way of moving and sleeping.  A normal way of caring for myself.  

My kids are older and their needs of me as their mother are different, but ever still present.  

Everyone was home for winter break and here are a few things things we did…

Attended a Carolina Panthers game, had a gingerbread house building contest, hosted a boyfriend, hosted the in-laws, hosted a house full of high school junior and seniors overnight on new year’s eve, cooked lots of favorite meals, celebrated a child’s 21st birthday, cleaned out some rooms and redecorated a bathroom, attended Christmas Eve Mass and made a Christmas light drive at 12:30 Christmas “morning”, complete with hot chocolate and popcorn.  

As the college kids drove away Saturday night, I laid on the couch unable to move – literally exhausted.

I didn’t fully realize how much we did over break.  I also didn’t anticipate how much energy it would take to keep up with these young adults.  However, looking back – it was a great break.  

As I’ve gotten older, I finally understand the importance of caring for myself and accept that the consequences of not doing so are devastating. As I return to normal this week, I am reminded of the basics of self care.  

  1. Sleep – get back to a normal schedule as soon as possible, even if I can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.  Go to bed at my “normal” time and get up at the “normal” time. My body will soon adjust.
  2. Rest – find a few pockets of time throughout the week to rest.  I can lay down and close my eyes or watch a movie or read a book.  I am not yet sleeping “normally”; my body is recovering and I need to give it extra rest.
  3. Eat Well – focus on eating 7-10 fruits and veggies every day and consume lots of water. If I do this, I won’t have to worry about what else I eat!  
  4. Move – be active everyday!  I don’t have to have a fancy gym membership.  Dance around, play outside, or even clean the house – just do something I love and move..  
  5. Reflect – remember the good.  Too often we take down the decorations, throw away all signs of the holiday and return back to “normal” as fast as we can.  Sit, reflect, celebrate and remember.  

As you return to normal, remember – it is a process. It isn’t about how much we get done or how fast we return to full functionality.  Maybe it is about living, embracing and enjoying.  Take time to savor what was, what is and what will be – linger a little while. 

With purpose,


Structure and Boundaries – The Stages of Raising Kids

I’ve spent a lot of years working with parents and I’m deep in the throes of raising four adolescents, ranging from 15 to 22 years of age.  These lessons come from hands on experience, not all of them positive if I am being completely honest.  This post isn’t about parenting the perfect children.  I made plenty of mistakes and my kids are definitely not perfect.

Parenting is unique.  Every parent/child relationship is different and these are only my thoughts.  Please no judgement, as I won’t judge you.  Parents have enough to worry with, let’s not add lack of support from one another.

Here’s how I see it.

Structure and Boundaries in the Beginning

Few expectations, minimum responsibilities and limited conversations…

When my kids were little, I was structured.  I had elaborate schedules. My babies ate, played and napped and that repeated until it was time for bed.  Conversations mostly consisted of adults talking and reading to them.  As they grew older, they were expected to rest, even if they didn’t want to sleep.  Reading and workbook time was a part of our daily routine.   You get the idea, the expectations grew and I provided structure for them to be successful.  Conversations grew and “why” became an ever popular question, which I tried to always entertain.

I didn’t use a lot of child locks or gates.  I kept them close by – exhausting at times. But, when we went places, I had a level of comfort because they weren’t use to complete freedom.  They had lots of boundaries and structure.  My kids checked them often and dad and I were right there to make sure they knew where the lines were drawn.  When they were ready, their boundaries expanded.

I was crazy about maintaining a regular schedule and providing boundaries during this time in their life. It worked for our family.

Structure and Boundaries Begin to Change

Increased expectations, more responsibilities, and developing conversations…

As they got older, the boundaries expanded and more of the structure was turned over to them to set or not set.  I began to expect more from them.  They had responsibilities that increased with age and conversations were expected to go two ways and to be meaningful.  I expected pleasant, respectful, helpful and kind beings in my home.  I didn’t always get that, but I kept expecting it.

I believed that talking to them about healthy choices while they were little was important and I tried to provide the foundation for more difficult conversations that were to come.  We discussed things like sleeping and eating habits at first and then the conversations turned to relationships, substances and consequences of their choices as they grew.  As they aged, the conversations did get more intense, deeper and tougher.  They didn’t always enjoy the conversations, but I just kept talking – providing the structure and the expectation.

Oversight of Structure and Boundaries – Adolescents and Learning to Adult 

They begin to set their schedule and boundaries with our oversight and approval and conversations became critical…

This is a tough stage, not going to lie.  Some years are a challenge.

With cell phones came a freedom that was impossible for me to put a boundary around.  Many parents try, but they often end up teaching their child to work a system, a system parents simply can’t keep up with – technology.  I could never keep up with the apps, video games, music, TV shows, etc.  I felt by giving kids strict phone use restrictions and non-negotiable curfews, instead of encouraging deep conversations, I was only pushing them away.

I decided to try something different.  I expected them to learn to use their phone in a responsible mature manner, instead of trying to monitor and restrict.  I placed reminders and appointments on their calendar and communicated with them through their phone, often using the many apps that I had them teach me how to use.  I “friended/followed” them and many of their friends on social media, much to their friends encouragement.

I talked to them, all the time.  The structure and expectations had been set.  I asked all kinds of questions about their friends, feelings, classes, relationships, and current events.  I was now the one asking all the “why’s” and I expected them to at least try to entertain my questions.  I didn’t keep up with their homework, but I expected them to let me know if there was a problem.  I let go of more and more.  They controlled their curfew and other privileges by how respectful and mature they were, within reason and with my oversight.  Of course things happened and of course there were consequences.

Hopefully, if we do it right…

Final Stage – An Independent Life with Us by Their Side

They are living on their own and we are a healthy part of their life…

Final Thoughts

I think we get it backwards.

Structure was learned from an early age, boundaries grew as they grew, and conversations deepened as they became more complex thinkers.   A trust was established; a relationship and foundation were built.  They learned that privileges and expectations grew together.

Kids need to learn how to structure and schedule their busy lives.  We see extremes.  We see kids stressed and burned out from overachieving and/or spaced out in front of the screen playing video games for hours. They need help learning what a normal schedule looks like and how to set one.

Us nagging them, or continuing to set limits for them doesn’t help them long term.  Us teaching them along the way to set their own limits definitely does.

I learned things by making mistakes – believe me!  Again, this is not a post about how I did it right.  There is no such thing; I have four kids.  My oldest and I laugh all the time about how she had to experience all my bad parenting, while I learned.  I made mistakes and learned along the way, it’s okay for kids to see that too.

With Purpose,