Mastering the Conference Call When Working From Home

Guest Post Written by Jessie D’Amato Ford

I’m a full-time work at home mom. Three days a week I am alone working while my 2 ½ year old goes to school, which sounds less guilty than daycare, and two days I am pulling double duty as a mom and busy professional.

Working in my house with a 2 ½ year old all day has its pros and cons. I am so lucky I get this time with my daughter but it’s also hard to get work done. I rely on early mornings and late nights to get all my hours in; luckily my employer is awesome and flexible. They know I’m reliable and I get my job done no matter what.

One of the hardest things about working from home, happen to be the dreaded conference calls, duhduhduh……

I came up with a great, albeit short-lived process. I bought a number of dollar store toys, wrapped them up, and put them in a bag. Every time I had a call, I’d bribe my daughter, Lyla, with a toy. Be quiet while I’m on the phone and you get a present. It worked like a charm the first few times. Then three-quarters into my call, she would come in and announce she’s being quiet asking for a present. Finally the last time we used that system, I was on a call and she found the bag of gifts and helped herself to every single one of them while I was helplessly trying to stop here while talking on the phone.

Now as long as the television is on while I’m on the phone, I get peace for the most part. Although I try to have all my calls on days when she’s not home, it doesn’t always work. So if you have conference calls on a daily basis from the office, imagine you’re talking to me while the following is going on…

Top Conference Call Fiascos of All Time! (This, below, really happened. For real!)

*Lyla was six month old and I was chatting with the President of my company and a few others. I wear a handy-dandy headset when on the phone for ultimate multi-tasking. Well this particular day I was holding Lyla because she was being fussy and I was pacing in her room. This day I had also lit a neon orange candle on the top of her dresser to attempt to get rid of the poop smell coming from the diaper bin. As I was pacing and talking, Lyla reached out unbeknown to me and tips over the candle. The jar tumbles down her white dresser and neon orange wax covers said white dresser, drawers, and her carpet. Luckily for me she didn’t get burned, unlucky for me I can still see the stains on the carpet! Oh and in case you’re wondering I still kept on the call while I attempted to clean it up!

*Wearing my handy-dandy headset I was sorting clothes on my bed while chatting with coworkers about an upcoming project. Lyla was 7 months old or so and I laid her down in the middle of the bed while I chatted and sorted. I turned around to put something away and when I turned back, Lyla was about to crawl off the bed. I jumped on the bed, grabbed her foot before she crashed to the floor, and let my phone fall to the floor. There I was lying on the bed with Lyla dangling on the other side of the bed, my headset unplugged from my phone, and the phone lying on the floor while my coworkers wondered where I was. No permanent damage done but I was forced to dial back in!

*Then we hit the clingy stage. I can’t even count the amount of times I dragged Lyla around with my leg while she clung and I talked. A few of those times, the clinging was accompanied with whining.

*This past summer we had a doozy of a conference call fiasco. My brother was over hanging out and I had a call with a government agency coming up. I told him to listen for Lyla who was “sleeping” and if she had to pee or poop help her go while I was on the phone. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say I had to get off of the call with the government agency because I had to clean up poop all over the bathroom floor.

*Then today, not wanting to disappoint me, Lyla had to add one more conference call fiasco to the mix. Lyla had to nap. She was exhausted but refused. I let her, just this once, lay in my bed. Her eyes were half closed and I stupidly assumed we were on the home stretch to a nice, long nap. I dialed into my call and then went back to check on her a few minutes later. There my angel was with my lotion all over her and my bed. I took it away, wiped her up quickly and then made the threats and bribes needed to make her sleep. Not trusting her, I went back up a few minutes later and this time, she was elbow deep into a giant jar of Aquaphor – worse than lotion! The Aquaphor was everywhere. I had to hang up on my call and strip the child, the bed, and everything in reaching distance. It was a mess to clean up and took so much of my day! I swear she only does it when I’m on the phone!

In any event, these are just a few noteworthy conference call fiascos but I’m sure there will be more. To end, I must just say, God Bless the Mute Button!

Jessie D’Amato Ford is a full-time mom, a Director of Events & Educational Programs for a local CT company, and writer. Working from home with her 2 ½ year old daughter provides a lot of entertainment, stress, and crazy stories. Jessie loves to write about them on her blog, These are Days…

3 thoughts on “Mastering the Conference Call When Working From Home

  1. I loved this post – well, I mean I should say I don’t love that you too have endured that kind of stress but I can definitely relate. I was recently home on a call with my boss. The kids (ages 3, 5 and 7) appeared to be fully immersed in coloring/tv and I thought I was good for a solid half hour. I went into the basement to be sure it was quiet and next thing I know, I hear the pitter patter of feet overhead, and yelling, and the faucet going on an off. And more yelling. The kind of yelling that says “It’s 4:45 p.m. on a school day and we’re tired and hungry and have lost our minds and mom’s in the basement on a conference call.” And my boss wasn’t nearly done with our discussion and I had to just go with it. When I came upstairs there were puddles, and pillows, everywhere. *sigh* – when people say it must be easy to WFH all I can think of is those puddles. And pillows. Not as bad as your baby-dangling or poopy bathroom experiences though 🙂

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