This is a post for all those freelancers and small business owners that will be working from home and looking after their children over the summer holidays. This will be my third summer doing the juggle and I’m still not a pro! In fact I think I’m the least organised and prepared that I’ve ever been!
Whether you are feeling ‘on it’ and armed with a ton of activities, booked holiday clubs etc, or if you are facing the six weeks with trepidation here are some things you need to know.
You Can Do Anything But Not Everything
This is my summer holiday mantra for sure.
Managing my expectations (and my children’s) is key to the summer. I won’t be able to get through my work AND do fancy day trips every day. Something has to give. A great thing to do is to take a few minutes to think about the work you have on and when and how you’ll do it, chat to your kids and get some ideas of what they’d like to do. Maybe involve them in the planning? This will communicate to them what’s realistic for the holidays, ie expensive days out every day may not be do-able. Some parents find that working in the evenings when the kids are in bed means that they have most of the day free, or getting up early to work before they wake up. It’s going to depend on the age of your kids and when you work best. Personally I try and get a couple of hours done in the morning most days when I know my daughters (7 and 10) just want to laze around in their pajamas watching TV.
You cannot do it all though, if you try you’ll most likely end up feeling frustrated.
In light of that..
Don’t let the parent guilt take over
‘We get 18 delicious summers with our children. This is one of your 18. If that’s not perspective, I don’t know what is.’ Jessica Scott.
Have you seen this floating around social media recently? Talk about piling on the parenting guilt! If you’re a working parent whether outside the home or from home this kind of quote is just so shaming. I don’t know about you but as a child most of my summer holiday memories involved me playing out with friends. I think I can count on one hand the trips I went on with my parents. Yet, I can hand on heart say I had the best childhood. I don’t look back on the summer holidays and wish my parents had made sure the summer revolved around me. Now, as a parent myself I am definitely not buying into this emotional manipulation. It’s not like I’m locking my kids away for six weeks, we will do fun things together, but both my husband and I are showing them that hard work goes into giving us the life that we have AND everything does not revolve around them!
We can’t afford a fancy holiday this summer and I know that in the next few weeks my Instagram will be flooded with families having wonderful holidays. It’s hard not to feel down that I’m not giving that to my children this year. This is where my resilience has to step in and I put my positive pants on. I find that if social media is causing the comparison monster to rear its head I know I need to step back and re-evaluate. Sure, we might not be sunning ourselves in the south of France but we can create good memories here too. They don’t need to be insta-worthy, just fun for us.
Don’t be afraid ask for help
Swallow that pride, you really don’t have to do this on your own. In my post on surviving the summer one of the business owners tips is to organise childcare swaps. Chat with your friends and arrange a few days where you take their kids and another day they take yours. This frees up a day for each of you to work. Maybe you have family members near by who can take your kids out to the park one afternoon? Hit people up and plan it in, you don’t always need expensive holiday clubs – though they are useful.
We don’t have to do it all alone, we were never meant to – Brene Brown
Be present over perfect
Right, let’s get this out of the way – you probably won’t have a plain sailing, perfect summer. Do yourself a huge favour and get the idea of perfection that you are hoping for or dreaming of out of your head. It doesn’t exist. Things with be so much better if you approach the six weeks with a dose of realism. Be present in each moment rather than wishing it was different or better or more Instagrammable. Honestly, you’ll find you enjoy things much more if you appreciate them for what they are rather than always wishing they were different.
You’ve got this!
However you decide to organise the summer holidays just know that you can do it. You and your kids will survive, and most likely will make some great memories in the process.
Free Weekly Summer Holiday Planner
If like me you’re a bit of a planner and you love getting ideas down on paper you might find my weekly summer planner useful. You can print off six copies and use them to break down the long weeks. I find having a few trips out planned and put down on paper help my kids know what’s going on and that mummy won’t be working all the time! If you’re dreading the holidays this is a great way of breaking the weeks and days into smaller sections so the six weeks don’t feel quite as daunting. However you’re feeling about the summer holidays having some ideas up your sleeve or a visual plan is always going to be helpful
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How are you feeling about the summer holidays?
If you’d like any tips and help on how to practically balance work and kids then take a look at this post full of advice from parents that are in the same boat – The Juggle is Real