Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top 10 Things You Don't Want to Hear During A Conference Call from Home

I work from home. That means I usually have a couple of phone calls each week where I need to at least attempt to sound like a together grown-up. It takes HOURS of strategery to get my kids sorted out so that I can have one 20 minute conversation without being interrupted. And it's usually a disaster. Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about. If you're a parent, you've probably experienced something like this:

[phone rings]
Lydia: Hello?
Automated Machine: This is Verizon, returning your call. Your estimated wait time to speak to a customer service representative is ... 39 minutes. Would you like to hold? If so, please say yes.
Lydia: Y--
Automated Machine: I did not understand your response. At the tone, please say yes or no.
Lydia: YE--
Automated Machine: Thank you. Your account has been cancelled. Good bye.

Here are the top 10 things you don't want to hear while attempting to have an important, adult-type conversation from home.

10. "MOMMMY! Wipe! My! Bottom!"

9. "Be'scuse me. Dora is over."

8. The sound of water running somewhere in the house. Water you did not turn on.

7. [Over the baby monitor] "I not asweep! LA LA LA! Not sweeping ever ever EVER!"

6. A door opening. Doesn't matter what door. Front door? BAD. Fridge door? BAD. Back door? BAD. Garage door? Very Bad. Pantry door? Not good.

5. "Bad dog! Let me ride you!"

4. [Click. Other phone in house gets picked up] Mommy? Are you still on da phone wif dat mean lady you don't like from your work?

3. SMASH. Thump thump thump. Pause. Crying.

2. "Uh oh. I think I broke da potty."

1. Wait. What is that? Oh no. It's the ... Ominous Silence.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012


  1. I had my husband read this with me, since sometimes he gets the opportunity to work from home. But his whole day is spent on the phone, and it is sooo stressful to try and keep five people quiet for nine hours.

    And this reminded me of my last conversation with my mom, where I warned her that I needed to yell at the kids for something, and then covered the receiver while I disciplined them, and my mom laughed in the background.

  2. Hey, at least when they are KIDS you have an excuse! What about when it's the HUSBAND who can't seem to understand that when I am holding the black thing with the numbers on it up to my head I am BUSY???????

    1. Oh, my, yes! I swear, he's worse than the kids. I can at least distract them with cartoons.

    2. I am saying this as a male. You can probably distract him with cartoons too :)

    3. Omg, I died laughing at the Male Anonymous poster above me's comment! It is perhaps extremely true...at least with my Husband. ;)

  3. I was working from home (in telecommunications) because my then 4 yo son had a fever. I was on the phone w/ a Verizon technician connecting a customer's high speed telephone service, when clear as a bell, sonny stands up and says "mommy, look at my peepee...look it's swinging" I had to mute the phone and tell sonny to pull his pants up and sit down and watch elmo. LMAO

  4. My hubby works from home, with about 6-7 hours of conference calls per day. His hours are somewhat flexible with him beginning as they go to school and ending about 2 hours after. That being said, he could never had done this when the kids were smaller. Even as teens, they ask about dates, rides or if they can borrow the car. When they were younger they used to come to the office and ask inane questions like "How do they make the swirls on cheesesticks?" "how do the roll a fruit roll up- its too sticky". It was too difficult to maintain a professional environment so he would go to the office. He said that while working from home was wonderful, he had to be professional and it was difficult to do with kid drama.

    Now the only issues are school breaks and summer vacation. The kids get up, turn on TV or Xbox at an ungodly volume.

    Hubby goes into the office more if the kids are home for an extended time like summer break..

  5. I am so very glad I wasn't consuming something when I read these! I can't stop laughing!

  6. Don't you love it when you gesture wildly to the phone, mouthing "I'm. ON. THE. PHONE! BE! QUIET!" and they just come up closer and whisper (loudly) in your OTHER ear, "MAMA! I JUST ATE COCO-PUFFS! COCO-PUFFS! IS THAT OK?"

    Then you turn your back on them, rolling your eyes, and clutching your forehead. And then they just follow you around, Getting closer and closer, louder and louder.

    Not that this has ever happened to me.

  7. I work from home as a consultant. My 6 and 7 year olds come home after school. In the first few weeks, it takes alot of training to get them into a routine and to leave me to work. In September I was on a conference call, and the boys were in the playroom, and a fight broke out. I had to tell my customer, I have to break up a fight, so I pull them apart and send them to watch TV. not even 5 minutes later another fight. Failed call, thankfully I could reschedule....

  8. Try having this go on during a phone interview... think I got the job???

  9. Miraculously I got a call yesterday and the ring made my 2 year old stop tantruming.

  10. On the phone with my boss asking if I'm coming back after maternity leave. My 3 year old runs over (I'm giving him the Shhhhh sign) and he yells "mommy, I wiped poop on the bathroom floor".

  11. You forgot one. This happens ALL. THE. TIME.:

    "mom. mom. mom. Mom. Mom. MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM."

    "i'm sorry. can you hold on on please"......(to kid)"im on the phone, you have to wait a minute"

    "but mom.... mom. mom. mom. Mom. Mom. MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM.MOM."

    they start sounding like those freakin seagulls in the movie "Finding Nemo". You know, when they look at the fish and start chanting "mine.mine.mine.mine.mine."

    and then my neighbors wonder why i'm always asking if they have a Xanax i can have.

  12. Great post! And I agree with Bren, even if your kids are not around, there is always someone who needs you at the exact time that you're on the phone. Same goes for any other activity where you do not want to be disturbed.

  13. OMG, I can so relate - I worked from home for the first five years of my child's life. My most memorable moment was courtesy of the dogs, though. I was interviewing for a new project when a firetruck went by and all three dogs started howling. I'm sure they were audible three states away.

    One of the FIVE interviewers asked about my most uncomfortable business situation and how I handled it. I admitted it was this very interview and that I was shut in a closet doing my best to sound professional in spite of the racket. We all had a good laugh. I did not get the job.

  14. I work from home F/T, and while my son is in fulltime Pre-K, he gets home at 5pm and I work until 6pm or later. I shudder with fear when I have a conference call scheduled during that hour - it's ALL BAD.

  15. I work from home full-time, and this is why my kids go to daycare!

  16. How about having your 7yo daughter ask in the background why your client is so lazy? "He needs to learn how to do SOMETHING by himself!" Niiiice. Either he didn't hear her, or he's polite enough to know I was gonna holler when I got off the phone. *sigh*

  17. My spectrum kid has a knack for saying embarrassing things in any number of situations. For example, to my parents, he said: "Daddy doesn't like Uncle Rob because he's a rude American!"


  18. I had somewhat the opposite problem. I work part-time for a religious organization and my kids occasionally come to work with me (I'm insane, I know). I was on the phone taking an important call when my 3-year old daughter came in and started the "Mom, look! Mom, Mom, look, Mom!" My back is to her so I'm giving her the "go the away NOW" wave when my co-worker taps me on the shoulder. My daughter is standing in the middle of our office stark. naked. I was so happy my boss wasn't there that day!

  19. Oh sweet Lord yes! I was on an international conference call from home with military colleagues and a Canadian Ambassador... despite the bribery and the "talk" before I picked up the phone my 6 year old only took about 2 minutes to yell "Mommy, you never listen when I want to talk to you about animals" and proceed to list off every single fact he remembered about most animals on the planet. I tried to cover up the receiver and kept whispering "Liam no NOW please!" but at the end of the call, the Ambassador signed off by saying "Thank you to Liam for his facinating contributions to the call - I learned so much today!" I nearly died and my normally staid and proper military colleagues all lost it in gales of laughter...

  20. This is the story of my life! I typically only have the kids around for an hour or two of my work day. Without fail, that hour will have a very important client call plus endless kid fights. Good times, good times.

  21. How 'bout your three year old stating clearly that "Laser (male dog) has a penis and Sotie (Sophie - female dog) has a vagina". We're all about proper names for body parts in our house but I'm pretty sure my husband's international colleagues don't need to hear about it!

  22. I worked from home for several years before kids, and when I was expecting my first, mistakenly thought it was the perfect set up to continue without a hitch. Umm, new mommy hood was far different than I envisioned, and The clearest example of that was when I attempted a diaper change during a conference call. The little darling peed straight into the mic of my headset! "What was that?!"

    "You don't want to know..."

  23. Hilarous. Just a few weeks ago, I was on the phone with Poison Control because my 20 month old decided to eat antibacterial hand soap and my three year old starts yelling at the top of his lungs from the bathroom: "I'm done poopin! Come wipe my butt!"

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  25. I once had the most successful conference call while we were parked in my car. It was totally accidental - the call came in on my cell phone just after I'd buckled the little one into his carseat with a water bottle and snack for the ride home. He was quiet, happy with his snacks, and, because he was in his carseat, he didn't expect more than to just be sitting in his seat... I have no idea if this would work now that I have 2, but it was fantastic.

  26. Can SO relate to this one. I do some freelance writing from home, which includes writing for my local newspaper. This entails interviewing people for articles and most people prefer phone interviews. Yeah, so embarrassing to have a toddler scream in the background....

  27. I run the technology center in the art department of a major university - I always end up having to do work from home. My 5 year old son was home sick and I was trying to catch up while he was quietly playing his Nintendo - perfect timing.
    So I made a call to a tech service line and was talking to a very polite woman when my son (who has been struggling with a game he always attempts with a male character) yells - "Mom! I did it with a girl! And it was great!!!!"
    She may still be laughing...

  28. I just found your blog today and am reading backwards, but I HAVE to add --- I've been working from home for 12 years and now have 3 boys age 9, 5, and 3. My boss was really happy when the youngest turned 2 and could attend preschool. That gives me almost 4 hours a day of quiet time (until summer starts again) --- the rest of the time is a crapshoot what he & our clients will hear. Professional, NO!, but I am darn good at my job so the clients love me!! ;)




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