I’ve touched on this a bit in both the Coffee Work Sleep newsletter and The Start Up Life mailer, but I got so much good advice from other bloggers, freelancers and business owners I thought I’d share some more in a dedicated blog post. The long stretch of six plus weeks of school holidays every summer is rather overwhelming for the best of us isn’t it? We personally don’t have family nearby to help out and childcare costs can be crippling. In light of this one of the reasons I originally became self employed was so that I could do the school runs and be around in the school holidays. However, the downside of this is trying to balance ever growing work loads and fun with the children throughout the summer break.
On this subject of the work/life balance, I’ve asked around and got a wealth of advice, hints and tips for my fellow creative businesses owners that also happen to be parents.
Finding that work/life balance in the summer holidays
Jennifer from online store, WE ARE SCAMP – ‘I try and get business work done/orders made first thing in the morning (even if it means getting up early) so I can have most of the day wit the kids. If anything else needs doing I tend to wait until the evening. I also do try to have the kids at the odd days of summer/sports camp as well which helps too!’
Jennifer’s sister and business partner adds, ‘I like to do some child care swapsies to keep child care costs down.’
Sarah founder of online store, THE EAT WELL – ‘I usually work evenings in the holidays and then buy / beg one day of childcare a week. The rest is done on stolen moments on my phone from farms and ball pits’
Karina of video production company, THE QUICK BROWN FOX – ‘Our littlest one will have a childminder a couple of days a week throughout the summer break, so on those days, our eldest is signed up for camps/all day drop-off activities. The rest of the time, same as the others, I either wake up extra early to schedule email and social media and do admin or work late into the evening + stolen minutes here and there whilst on our days out. Phone calls during the summer are by appointment only. Luckily we’re a husband & wife team though, so everything else (filming and editing) gets done as per normal term time schedule… it’s my side of the business that suffers slightly more.
Emma from designer and Scandi children’s clothing store, DAPPER BABY – ‘We’ve done soft play so far and we’ve had them in the office. We’ve set up an area with toys, crafts and a tv! I work with my husband so one of us will work from home and the other will go in. And my sister who also works for us leaves at 3 so she’s going to come to my house and have them while I go back into work for a few hours. I’m also having her daughter over the holidays.’
Jude, founder of retro gift store, JESSIE JUMBLES – ‘My son has autism, we have a holiday club booked for two weeks but i have to go with him. I take my laptop and work on my website at the centre. I do a lot of work first thing in the morning before our days out and in the evening. It’s so tricky!’
Susanne, blogger at GHOSTWRITERMUMMY and business owner, SOCIAL SPARKLE – ‘Early mornings and late nights haha! I find I work better in the morning before the kids are up and I set a timer, so do as much as I can in those first two hours so I have the rest of the day free. I also always try to set an out of office on emails so that everyone gets a reply letting them know I’ve seen their email and will deal with it asap. I also work with fellow freelancers for cover and days off which are just as important as work days.’
Joanne of social media management company, SOCIAL BODS – I’m not sure I do balance it to be honest! I work when I can, and concentrate on the children when I can’t. I’m lucky in that my business has staff so I can increase their hours through the school holidays. It costs me more money but i see it as survival until September! My eldest is off two weeks earlier than the others so she either comes to the office with me, or goes off for the day with grandparents. My husband works shifts so he can do quite a bit of childcare too. We simply muddle through until September when I can breathe again and think about maybe making a profit.
Katy, digital marketing business owner, MODERN MEDIA, and blogger at MODERN MUMMY – ‘I get up at 5.30 to get a couple of hours of work in before the kids wake up – ditto working in the evenings once they’re in bed. If one gets invited on a play date I will try and get a play date for the other too so that I can have a child free day and really knuckle down and if I have a deadline looming that I’m struggling to meet I’ll arrange a sleepover at Granny & Grandad’s house (harder than it sounds as they live quite a way away). Generally though, I try to reduce my workload for the month of August – and if we have a holiday booked I put my out of office on and enjoy it!’
Jen, of award winning craft and parenting blog, MUM IN THE MADHOUSE – ‘I think that we also need to be honest and admit it is a real juggling act and balls do get dropped! We cannot give 100% to everything and get through the holidays sane IMHO. At the end of the six weeks, I am ready for a break myself.’
Helen, KIDDY CHARTS – ‘I have struggled with this and my advice is be ruthless with what is achievable and stick to the hours that you give yourself. So if you know you can do five hours a day; working before the kids get up and in the evenings, don’t over commit beyond that. As tough as it is, it’s so important for your sanity. And do as much as you can before the kids break up – depending on what you do this is very possible. So for example, as a freelance social media manager I used to schedule client blogs and social posts. Finally, talk to other mums in the same boat and work together. You look after a friends kids while they work and vice versa. That can massively help you both.’
What a lot of fantastic advice!
Are you ready for the summer holiday juggle?
Got any tips to add?