Work at home moms face the same challenges every year when summer arrives and the kids are off school for the break. How do you make sure both your kids and your business get the best of you?
In theory it all sounds doable – you work at home so when the kids have their school break they are home with you. The realities are very different though as any work at home mom will tell you. It's not easy dealing with a knee that needs mother love and a band aid when you're on the phone trying to clinch that all important business deal.
Your business needs your attention, but in the greater scheme of things you know your kids need perhaps more of it. More relevantly kids need your attention when they need it so it's hard to separate kid time from work time in the break.
Dilemmas such as these can be the cause of a lot guilt-laded worry for moms who work at home. Aside from needing love and attention, kids also want to have fun in their school holidays. But their requests to be taken to the park or to the pool or have their friends over for a barbeque can collide with your needs to call your clients, network with business associates and ship your product.
Scream! Of course no mother worth her salt can resist the very justifiable requests of her beloved offspring, so she goes to the park or the pool; she invites all her offspring's little friends over for burgers and soda. She tells herself she'll make up the lost work time tomorrow.
In the meantime, her clients are calling, her email box is full of messages and even that list of everyday tasks grows ever longer by the minute.
What can the work at home mom do to balance her time and perform the very skilled act of juggling business with babies?
The first thing, and perhaps the most important thing is to stay positive and don't panic.
Here are some great tips that will help make being a summer break working mom less stressful.
- Have a local teenager watch your kids in your home while you're working. Teens have not long left childhood themselves to they tend to be tuned in when it comes to playing with younger children. This can give you a little breather and it means the kids are in the house and still safe under your watchful eye.
- If possible set out a work schedule so that your children know when you are going to be working – arrange for fun days out and activities in the house on your free days.
- Enroll your kids for various summer programs or camps. Let them choose which ones they would prefer. If you can, have the sessions spread evenly over the vacation time and plan your main work tasks for those days.
- Book your children in for half-day activities like swimming lessons or activity day camps.
- Send the kids on brief holidays to visit family members, like grandparents.
- Set up a play club with another work at home mom and share watching over the kids. You can always bring your laptop with you to deal with emails while the kids enjoy themselves.