Surviving the school holidays with your sanity!
Here’s a throwback post from a few years ago…thankfully my children are that bit older now where the eldest two keep themselves entertained, and the eldest is also a great babysitter for the youngest.
However, I know lot’s of my “mummy friends” are starting to stress about the upcoming summer school holidays. I think once school sports day comes around then you know it’s countdown to summer holidays…
I hope some of my suggestions help those working mum’s with young ones at home. Let me know what you have all got planned to keep your littlies entertained…
Here in the UK we are entering our third week of the school summer holidays. I am very fortunate to have childcare for my children, but some days we stay home, and after a trip to the beach or park I feel the lure of the laptop and need to have a quick fix of “work”. I use the term work loosely because my job never feels laborious just completely enjoyable!
On these such days my thoughts turn to those women you work whilst caring for their children, and to them I give my utmost respect.
Many mothers would love to work and be at home with their children, but few know how to do it. Discovering the balance of work and home can be a lot more challenging when your office is your kitchen.
While the roles of stay at home mother and career woman have long been considered mutually exclusive, a growing number of women are showing the world that they can have careers and stay at home with their children.
Here are my top tips for a working mum staying at home:
1.Get dressed. Seriously I always feel I get so much more done when I am showered, dressed and ready for the day. Can you remember the early days and your highest achievement was just to have a shower! Get up before your kids and get a quick shower, it will wake you and energise you for the day. However if your kids can hear a pin drop like mine can, your plan may alter and you find yourself sharing the shower, as I did this morning with my two eldest.
2. Invest in a slow-cooker. I think these are the best invention ever, I love the fact I can chop up everything at 10am and bung it all in and hey presto! come 6pm we have a divine dinner. My husband doesn’t agree though as he thinks all slow cooker food tastes the same…overcooked! Hence why he prefers to cooks a scrumptious dinner every night instead…okay so that suggestion might work for some! You could also do as I do on the days I have to make dinner, and learn how to make mince & dumplings in 10 minutes flat and bung it in the oven.
3. Delegate. Delegate to your kids. I say if they are old enough to make the mess they are old enough to clean it up! I also give mine little tasks to do such as stamping brochures or punching holes to file papers. They think it’s fun and also teaches them a valuable skill about being responsible.
4. Midnight calls. Identify what you can put off until the evening, and what you need to get done during the day. Email can be checked and responded to at anytime, but calls to clients need to be done in office hours. I am lucky in that I can pick any hour in the day and speak to one of my wedding planner partners somewhere in the world. Often whilst my brood are sleeping I will call Australia or New York!
5. Wireless Working. Make sure you have high speed wireless internet, so that way when you do get to do some work you waste no time. Best of all it can be done in the house or out in the back garden whilst the kids are playing.
6. Schedule. Plan everything before the holidays begin, that includes play time and trips out, don’t forget you need to plan into your schedule time out for the kids and lots of fun activities, it is their holiday after all. Also segment your days, activities, downtime, work time and TV time, but it’s a great productivity tool no matter what the ages of your children.
7. Barter. Arrange with your Mummy friends to have play dates at each others home. That way you are guaranteed a few hours off, okay so in return you gain a few more children but it is critical for your sanity.
8. Snacks. Buy loads of healthy snacks and ready to grab food. Prepare cut up vegetables or similar picnic options in the morning, put in plastic containers in the fridge and let them help themselves throughout the day. My kids will play “picnics” happily on a rug on the lawn for an hour or two. Although it does take me an hour to clear the garden before bed, as usually ten dolls and various colourfully clad bears have been in attendance!
9. Creative Combination. Find creative ways to combine your work with your kids. If your client is agreeable, for example, you could hold a business meeting at MacDonald’s, or some other restaurant that has a play area for kids. If a client is coming to meet with you in your home, perhaps she could bring her children so your kids could play together while you meet. Take your kids with you when you go to buy office supplies or run other business related errands.
10. Count your blessings. Stop beating yourself up and think of all those working mothers who would love to be in your shoes. Think of the long commutes, no uniform of PJ’s and less time they spend with their kids….okay sometimes that’s a good thing! Only joking! Working from home means you not only get to work at home but you live there too…..some days to me that is just bliss…..
Hopefully you’ll sail through the summer and can share your wisdom with other working mums….let us know how you cope