Being a work-at-home entrepreneur can be challenging, especially when you’re a parent and it’s made even harder during the school holidays!
We all have mixed emotions when we think of school holidays, especially the six week summer one, as we relish having a break from the usual school routine but then have to shift around our working patterns and routines to accommodate the children being home. So how can you help ease the stress of juggling work and school holidays?
Set your boundaries and expectations
It’s important that you are clear about what your working hours and days will be, as well as when you will be free to spend time with the family.
If your children are old enough to understand, sit them down, explain what will be happening during the holidays and how you will be working some of the time. You could then place a note on your office door or set a timer, to let them know how long you will be working for.
You could also draw up a schedule and stick it on the fridge, so everyone can see it just make sure you also schedule in play/fun time with the children! A schedule can come in really handy, especially if you have different aged children who want to go to different clubs and activities! Mark everything on the calendar, as this will ensure you don’t accidently double-book yourself.
When it comes to setting your schedule, the chances are you’ll have to adapt your existing routine to ensure you get adequate work time. Look to see whether you can get up really early or stay up late, so you’re working once the children are in bed.
It’s also important that you are flexible with that schedule, as there may be times when you’ve planned a day out with the children, but the weather is bad or you need to be present for a work conference etc.
Make sure you’re giving quality time both to work and your children
It’s really important that you give both sides of your life the quality time it deserves. When with your children, ensure you are REALLY with them, by focusing on enjoying being in that moment with them. Likewise, when you’re working, make sure you ARE working for the hours and days you’ve scheduled.
Sometimes you just need to admit you need some extra help. This can be in the form of holiday clubs, sharing the child-minding duties with your partner or enlisting family members and childminders to have the children for a day or two each week.
But help doesn’t necessarily have to involve enlisting other people. Sometimes it can boil down to picking the right activities that will keep your children occupied for long periods of time (i.e. films or building/creating projects such as Lego or model kits etc.).
Finally, remember to keep everything in perspective. It can be all too easy to beat yourself up over your “lack” of work.
Keep an ear open for those globalising statements such as “I didn’t get ANY work done” or “The children are ALWAYS disturbing me” – If it helps, keep a list of everything you have achieved during your working hours and use this to remind yourself of how much you are actually doing, as well as the hours you’ve dedicated to work.
Working during the school holidays doesn’t have to be a constant juggling act. It can often be a simple case of forward planning and keeping your focus.
How do you get on during the school holidays? Have you found a great way to keep your children entertained whilst you work? Do you opt for family and holiday clubs or working late and early? Why not share your experiences of holiday working in the comments box below!