Welcome to Work From Home Tuesday. At oDesk headquarters in Menlo Park, California, every Tuesday is a WFHT. With your kids home from school, you might be questioning your sanity right now. So, here’s some advice.


The big kid swap. Trade kids with a friend.

Here’s how this one works. You figure out which of your friends has kids that get along best with yours–or maybe just which of your kids’ friends you can tolerate the best. Then you arrange a swap. Once a week you have all the kids for about 5 hours. Once a week, they have all the kids for about 5 hours. And you know what this means–5 hours of a quiet house. If your kids are old enough and play well together, the five hours all the kids are at your house might be productive as well.

parenting2Give in. Change your work schedule.

If you’re used to working during days, this might be a tough switch, but summer only comes once a year. Temporarily, work minimally during the day and seriously at night. Spend time with your kids while they’re young enough to want to be with you. After dinner, put in a great movie and you can get back to work. If your spouse has weekends off, maybe you should start working weekends. It’s not ideal, but it’s short term. Say it together: They are only young once.


Consider day camp or hired help. For their sake and yours.

If playdates, kid swaps, and working nights won’t cut it this summer, think about hiring temporary help. Get a trusted teenager who will babysit the kids right in your backyard  a few hours a day (for much less than the cost of daycare).  Or, if you can , send your kids to day camps and summer camps.  They’ll have fun and you can make money while they are gone. Sometimes you need to make a choice, and sometimes you paying for science camp is a better option than you screaming at them every 20 minutes: “Quiet! I’m on the phone!”

WFHT Recommended Reading

“Productivity vs. Balance During Summer Break” from Freelance Parent
“Planning Your Summer” from The Writer Mama
“How to Have Children and a Freelance Career “ from The Essential Site for Journalists
“One Runny Nose, Little Sticky Fingers and a PC Clinic” from Freelance UK
Ideas to keep your kids busy from Today Is Fun


Much like a divorced marriage counselor, my ability to dish out advice is not an indicator of my ability to implement it. However, having worked from home for over a decade, I’ve learned what works and what just creates more work. (Excuse me while I tell my children to be more quiet, so I can work.)

– Tamara

Tamara Rice

Freelance Writer and Editor

Tamara Rice is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. She joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, after more than six years on staff at an award-winning national magazine.