The problem: You're on a big call and your child acts up.
Quick fix for now: Ask your client to hold, then quickly explain to your child how long he needs to be quiet. If he doesn't tell time, say you'll be ready when he finishes reading his Dr. Seuss book, or set a timer. Or trade M&Ms for his silence.
In the future: Save important calls for naptime, or have a set of toys or a project ready for your child. If he keeps talking to you, have him draw a picture or use sign language, says Cheryl Demas, founder of WAHM.com, a website for work-at-home moms. "My daughter and I sign 'Stop,' 'Can I have more?' and 'This is good.'"
The problem: The sitter's a no-show.
Quick fix for now: Your DVD player. If you're in a bind, it's okay if your child watches Finding Nemo for the 99th time.
In the future: Develop a network of other at-home moms who can help in a pinch. Offer to repay the favor over the weekend or at night.