An interview with Lindsay Ferrier of Suburban Turmoil

by CountryFriedMama on November 20, 2009

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I started reading Lindsay Ferrier’s blog Suburban Turmoil some time after I began writing in this space about a year ago.

I was excited to come across her column in The Nashville Scene when Country-Fried Daddy and I spent a weekend in Music City last month.  We were flipping through the paper over lunch right after we got to town.

“Look,” he said. “There’s live music listings in here.”

“Look,” I said.  “Lindsay Ferrier’s in here.”

Then he said, “Huh?”

So I told CFD about Suburban Turmoil, about Lindsay’s columns, her review site, etc., and wondered aloud how she juggled it all.

So I asked her, and she quite graciously found time in her busy schedule to answer some questions.

I’m so pleased to end my Work-From-Home Week with this interview.

Country-Fried Mama: Spill your secrets. What’s the most effective method you have in your toolbox for working while your kids are home?  Play-doh?  Sesame Street?  Benadryl? (Just kidding!)

Lindsay: Naptime is key. I have done everything I could over the years to keep both my children on nap schedules, including letting them go to bed an hour later so that they would crave that naptime hour or two during the day. That has always been when I’ve gotten most of my work done.

The other thing I did when my freelance work started picking up was to contact a sorority at a local college, so that I always had a babysitter to come in two mornings a week and watch the kids while I wrote. This year, my daughter is in kindergarten and my son goes to a “playtime” two mornings a week with some other kids at a friend’s house a few minutes away. I feel so lucky that I found these resources.

CFM: You can tell me — was there a moment, a phone call, a deadline, a temper tantrum that stands out in your mind as an instance when working from home was B-A-D?

Lindsay: Let me just refer you to this post.

CFM: Despite your candid and detailed response to number three, why do you keep plugging away with your work-at-home gig?

Lindsay: Money, primarily. We have a daughter in college and another headed there in a year and half and we need it. But writing also keeps me sane. I don’t think I could ever not write, no matter what’s going on in my life.

CFM: What’s one thing you’ve gained and one thing you’ve lost since you began working at home?

Lindsay: I’ve definitely gained confidence as a writer. And I’ve lost any time whatsoever to laze around and just watch TV or do nothing. I’m always, always behind on something.

CFM: All mothers likely carry some guilt for many different reasons, but is there a particular flavor of guilt associated with working from home?  How do you beat it back?

Lindsay: I definitely worry about balancing my jobs as full-time mom and freelance writer. My kids are absolutely my first priority and I do everything I can to make sure they are never shortchanged, even if it means spending stressful time later trying to catch up on my assignments.

CFM: How about some advice for the novice?  This could be a fortune-cookie-length tip or a treatise on all you’ve learned.  Either way, is there anything else you would like to share with parents who are new to this experience of blending work and home?

Lindsay: If you want to start working from home, I’d advise you to first make sure you’re disciplined enough to do it- many, many people really aren’t. Choose something you love and would do for free. And be prepared to not make any money for the first 6 months to a year. I blogged for a year before I got my first paying gig, and it all snowballed from there.

*****

I’d like to thank Lindsay, as well I’m A Mom?…!, Nicki at Domestic Cents, and The Steel Magnolia for offering their advice and input this week.

It was fun to write a whole week’s worth of posts on my current obsession about the challenges and opportunities of working from home.  I’m kind of glad it’s over, though.  I’m looking forward to next week, when I will write about whatever strikes me as funny or bizarre or irritating.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

faemom November 20, 2009 at 3:44 pm

This has been a wonderful week of posts for you. All of them insightful with advice and comfort. I think it might be every stay-at-home mom’s dream to be able to work at home and still be there for the kids. At least I know if I find the right set up, I can actually do it . . . without killing the kids.

Deb November 22, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I’ve also been a big fan of Lindsay’s since I started blogging about 6 months ago, and am so happy you got her to spill some of her secrets! I’ve telecommuted for my employer for about a year, but using only a little less daycare than the hours I’m required to work. My toddlers require a lot of supervision and one no longer naps, so most of my overflow work and blogging occurs on nights and weekends. I look forward to reading your other posts on this subject.

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