I write this to you from my bed at 6:05am. True Story.
Working from home can be that perfect mix between professional and parent life. During the school year, I get to walk my kids out the door to school and be there when they come home (read: no extra child care expenses).
But then summer break comes and this “best of both worlds” works amazing… until it doesn’t.
To be honest I have a very solid routine when my kids are in school. I either leave my house and go to Aligned Collective (my favourite co-working space), or sit at my home office and get work done. Both ways, I’m prepared to see them again at 3 PM. Yes, the day flies by.
Once July rolls around and my school age children are home and my whole I’ve-got-this-down-working-from-home thing seems to fall by the wayside.
They’re… here. all. the. time.
I had to regroup. Fast.
I’m no Maria from the Sound of Music, so I really had to figure out what works best for me… and my kids, so here’s what is works:
Adjust Your Schedule (Time Chunk)
Yes, I love to go to bed around 10 PM and get up at 5:30 in the morning. Total early bird over here. Within about five minutes to waking up I’ll be on my laptop in bed and spend a few hours working. I really try to divide my work day and mom-life into time chunks. I find that I can get the equivalent of 6 hours (for real!) of work done in those early morning hours. Because I spent a lot of my day working on client work I’m finding that I’m spending most of these early morning hours working on my own business (hence me right now: in bed writing this blog).
Set Clear Expectations
This. There are times where I want to threaten (#honestmotherhood over here) my kids because like moths to a flame, they come running when my phone rings. URGENT! NEED THIS! ANSWER THIS! It was just my son and I yesterday and I told him I would sit in the pool on a floaty having a conference call if he promised he would not not talk to me during the call. It was much more effective than sitting at my desk! Must try that again. I have been letting my kids know that even though it’s summer break (for them), their Mom still works from home and has work to do. So they understand that I’m not just hanging out on my laptop, I’m trying to balance being an engaged mom and entrepreneur. I’m also trying to be clear with times I will be taking breaks to play. So far so good.
Screen Time Will Not Kill the Kids
Yes it’s true! They will not die from being on the iPad. I could jump in the pool (my kids’ FAVOURITE thing for me to do), and if they’re playing Minecraft, and I’m letting them, they wouldn’t event notice me swimming. I set an amount of time for iPad use and then I’m aware of how much time I have to really get stuff done.
Plan some Activities & Encourage Self Entertaining
Now as my kids are almost 8 in 10, this one is getting easier as the years go on. We also have a fully fenced in yard with a pool and a trampoline, thought they need to be reminded of this….so there are things for them to do, all day, everyday. I’m not the craftiest mom but I do love flowers, plants and painting and so they are often doing something along those lines. And drawing, my daughter is always drawing.
Trade Childcare with Friends
Yes. This can be a total win-win (read: free, too). It allows friends to help each other with their kids AND it keeps the kids entertained. My kids are much more likely to stay outside and play when they have friends over. Also, as much as we love our children, it’s always great to have them…you know…away for the day.
Create a Routine
I’m already a huge believer that sleep is so important to a kid’s well-being. That being said, over summer holidays we do extend the bedtime from 7:30-8:00 to about 8:30-9:00. I find that this creates less chaos in the days when kids are well rested, right?! I also continue to set the expectations that beds must be made, teeth must be brushed, and they must play outside for a large part of the day. With routine I also prepare snacks so my kids know to help themselves because let’s be real… kids are always hungry.