Every child loves the summer, but (I swear) every working parent dreads it!
I’m dreading June 21st.
I should be excited about it, but instead… I’m dreading it.
Why? It’s the boys last day of school.
Actually – I should be a little more dramatic here because Victoria’s last day is TODAY. At least with the boys they understand the concept of “mom needs to work.” Victoria? Not so much. She’s 4 years old. When she’s home, mom’s home. When she wants to play, she wants mom to play. When she wants to play dress-up, she wants mom to play dress-up. It’s just how it is and there’s really nothing I can do about it. I’m mom first, so I try my very best to make the 2 worlds work together as best as I can, but it’s not always easy.
Recently I was asked to share some of my work/productivity tips. I’ve had many people ask me throughout the years how I get stuff done with 5 kids and working full-time from home and also traveling quite a bit. I’m going to be honest with you, I never really stop to think about it. I know I need to make it happen, so I make it happen. It’s my own personal version of normal. The constant rush and push and pull doesn’t really bother me because frankly, I don’t know any other way. This way is my way and I make it work for me and my family to the best of my ability.
But with Summer 2018 a mere few weeks away, I’m beginning to lay out a plan and see if I can make this work throughout the summer. I need to be productive. I need to work. I can’t press pause for the summer. Just because the kids are out, it doesn’t mean that I am, too (although I’d love it here and there)! I struggle with the summers because my fondest summer memories were of my mom taking me and my sister to our local pool club every single day. My mom was a teacher, so it was the perfect situation. I actually belong to the same pool club with my family, so the summers really do feel nostalgic for me. I want my kids to remember me as part of their summer experiences… not just working around the clock.
So what’s a work from home mom to do?
You need to be extra productive in the summer and sometimes even be creative about it, too!
How To Be Productive in the Summer:
- Wake up earlier – This is a tough one for me because I’m already up at the crack of dawn, but I’m willing to get up JUST that extra earlier to make this work. I usually start working around 9AM during the school year. By the time I get all the kids off to school and preschool, it’s 9AM. I’ve been getting up around 6AM with my husband to prep for the day – lunches, breakfast and even catch a little time to check my email. Without the hustle and bustle of getting off to school, I can get some work done in the morning. I figure if I can work from 6:30-8:30AM – 2 hours straight… that’s a good chunk I can get down.
- Get a work plan in place – Get organized! So organized you don’t recognize yourself! Jot down everything that needs to get done that day and make sure you don’t leave anything out. Keep yourself head down as you start working your way down the list and prioritize what “can” and “could” get done out and about. I know for me I usually set time for social engagement. This is something I can do while the kids are playing, this isn’t something that needs to get done at home, at my desk.
- Give yourself a day – If you can, do this. I’m going to try my hardest to make this happen. Give yourself a summer day off or a 1/2 Friday. If you set a plan in place, you can probably make this happen. You might have a conference call or emails to answer, but you can “check out a bit” for the day. I’ve been wanting to do this for years and this summer I would like to make it happen.
- Set work hours for yourself that your family knows and understands – With the kids at home, this is going to be a must do for me. I need to make sure they know that I work from 10-2PM every single day. No interruptions. Just like they go to school for set times, I work at set times. Giving myself work hours will be good because it’s accountability, too.
- Ask for help – I’m blessed to live near family. I have my parents, my sister, my brothers and good friends. If I’m in a jam, I know I can call on them. We’ve ALL been there before and it’s amazing to know you have people who you can rely on. My husband is amazing when he knows I need some back-up, but his schedule is busy – too. It’s always a good idea to have help on hand!
- Late nights – It’s not something people love to hear, but working late is always an alternative. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that for me, it just isn’t an option anymore. I’m too tired at night. I need my sleep and I need time to chill and just be! But a few years ago I worked late so I could have more time during the day with the kids.
- Incentives help – If you’re in a total jam – know what will incentivize your child. For example – I know Victoria will sit and watch ANY Disney Princess movie, so that’s a plus. It will be quiet for an hour. I know my sons would love for me to say, “2 hours on Fortnite!” They’d do just about anything. When in need, go for the prize.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – This is something that I’m still working on, but it’s true. The summer is the summer. It’s going to be tough to work from home with the kids home. It’s a fact. Try the best you can, that’s the only thing you truly can do.