In less than 3 weeks, I will move from having 15 hours to do as much work as possible in, to 0 hours to try and achieve the same jobs!! The reason is that school finishes up for the summer. Don’t get me wrong – I’m really looking forward to the slower pace of the summer and I love that I am my own boss and I can work my hours around my children. But the reality is, I need to do some work too. This will be my third summer working from home, so I’ve put together some tips or suggestions that might help you, if you are in a similar position.
One of my best friends has her own home-based business and has children the same age as mine. Each summer (and Easter and midterms) we kid swap. I take her two children for one morning each week and she takes mine for an afternoon. It couldn’t be easier. The kids love having the company. It’s free. And I get 3-4 hours work done.
I am an advocate of school holidays and I believe that kids need their time off. Since I work from home, I am in the blessed position to be able to look after my children during the holidays. However, I have no problem signing them up for one or two weeks of activity day camps. Anymore and I’d feel guilty (although, no doubt they’d be having a ball) and broke (I am a start-up business after all). This year is the first year where both my kids will be an age to qualify to attend these camps.
Last year on our Residents Association Facebook Page, a mum posted up a comment saying her teenage daughters were available to babysit over the summer. This was an absolute God-send for me. The girls were brilliant. I didn’t attempt working from home while they babysat ( I suspected that mine would keep coming into the office complaining or looking for a referee, or I’d be distracted by the noise downstairs), but I scheduled meetings when the teenagers were available or worked on my computer in a local coffee shop.
I know you probably are thinking ‘what?’ but I have found that the less time my children are put in front of a computer or TV, the more they appreciate it. If I have the TV on in the background all day, they will come and go from it and I can’t be guaranteed 20 minutes or more at once to work. However, if they know they only get one hour a day, it’s precious and they don’t move!! So, when I turn on the TV, I know I can work solidly for an hour without interruption.
If people offer to take your children for a few hours, jump at the opportunity. Although it’s lovely to spend time with your children, it’s possible that too much time isn’t healthy for either you or your children, so if the grandparents or friends offer to take them, don’t think twice about it.
Take time at the beginning of each week to assess how much time you have that week to ‘work’. Make a list of the jobs that you would like to do and then prioritise them in order of what needs to be done most. Then start on number 1. It’s easy to just work away on the ‘easy’ jobs while neglecting the jobs that you don’t like doing, but which are often more pressing. If you have them listed, there’s no getting around it and it takes away last minute stress as you realise you need to do a particular job within 24 hours and you have also promised your kids a trip to the beach.
(if possible, while trying to juggle looking after your family and your business!). Remember that even if you were working a 40 hour week on your business, you’d still have a ‘to do’ list at the end of the week. Remind yourself that the school holidays are only for 8 weeks and then you’ll be able to knuckle down properly again.
I know how hard it can be to sometimes enjoy being around your own (demanding, whining, fighting, bored…) children. But, if at all possible, give them the same attention and time that you’d usually invest in your business. Enjoy their company and enjoy the holidays!
I’m a firm believer that every year, working from home over the summer is getting easier. My children are needing me less and allowing me time to work (in lieu of quality time with them afterwards). Before I know it, they will be teenagers and they won’t want to spend any time over the summer with me!!! So, while they do, I’m (most of the time) happy to work differently.
I hope these tips have helped you. If you have other tips that have helped you balance your work/family life over the summer, please comment below. We’d all benefit.
Enjoy the summer!
P.S. If you are looking for some new summer toys to play with over the holidays, you might find this blog with 8 great outdoor toys for kids helpeful. Please pop by my online shop and support a fellow working from home mum!
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