Sorting Your Summer Work Schedule
Football camp, fashion camp, hockey, rugby, swimming camp. The rush to book your children into camp is a tell-tale sign that summer is on its way. It’s understandable, work doesn’t grant us eight weeks of holidays and if your child has been in school or playschool for the past few months, it can be hard to face back into weeks of trying to work while trying to entertain the little ones.
If your child is in creche or you have a childminder, then your summer days will more than likely follow their normal pattern. However, if your children are of school age, those eight weeks off suddenly seem to loom like an insurmountable obstacle. “How will I get any work done?”
It’s a difficult balance, because every mum wants to view the holidays as a time to relax and make memories with our kids. We dream of lazy days in the garden or at the beach watching our children play and build sandcastles. But the reality is that work doesn’t stop because the sun comes out and listening to “I’m bored” and endlessly repeating “in a minute” is enough to ruin anyone’s summertime peace.
There are some strategies you can implement to make life run a little more smoothly. Some may work for you, others may not, but even if you only utilise one of them or you only turn to them once or twice over the summer, they can help you to get through this.
Camps are a great way to entertain your children and gain some time to get work done. It means your children get out of the house and are kept busy. If the camp is something that your child is interested in, then life becomes very easy. But be careful that you choose the camps that your child will enjoy and not just as a way to have them minded. If your child doesn’t like a camp, you will be in for a week of moaning and complaining and you’ll have to force them to go, it is a waste of money and energy. To be fair, this is their summer holiday, so they won’t want to spend it doing something they don’t enjoy.
Getting up earlier might seem like a punishment rather than a coping strategy. But if you have something important to get done, then getting up a little early can mean that you can complete it in peace. Dark, cold, winter mornings can drive even the most dedicated early bird to roll back under their duvet. But now that summer is here, the bright mornings make it easier to get an early start. So, whip up a coffee and enjoy a tranquil working environment before the rest of the family get up, you’ll be amazed at how much you get done in the quiet of early morning.
If you are struggling to find ways to work while your children are at home, be open and honest with work. Talk to your manager about ways you could switch your work around. Could you start earlier in the morning and then take a longer lunch break, which you can spend with your children? Or perhaps you can start later and work in the evenings. Most businesses are happy to speak about flexible working arrangements, especially if it helps you to perform better.
Make the most of the time you have
Make the free time that you spend with your children count. If you can get up earlier and get out playing with them in the mornings before work, or you can spend family time together after dinner, they won’t feel like they’re missing out and you won’t feel guilty when you have to spend time working. If there’s a way to get outside and use up some energy in the mornings, perhaps an early bike ride, beach walk or a simple play in the garden, then take advantage of it.
Lots of mums have issues with keeping the kids busy over the summer. If you have friends who are experiencing similar problems, pool your resources. Try to organise play days. It will allow you to get important meetings or tasks completed in a stress free way while the kids entertain themselves. Trade days that suit, so that each of you have a turn minding and working in peace. Many hands make light work, and this is especially true in the summer.
Spread the load
Work out a schedule with your other half so that you can balance childcare and work. As with friends and other mums, try and figure out a plan at the beginning of the week that works for both of you. Studies have shown that although many fathers are now taking a more active role in childminding, during lockdown the burden of looking after the kids fell very firmly into mums’ domain. Your job is just as important as your husbands or partner (if you have one), so tasks like childcare and housework need to be divided fairly.
Turn on the telly
Yes, it’s sunny, yes, it’s bright and you may feel like it’s a sin to let your kids sit inside on screens while the weather is good. But every now and then there is nothing else for it and the TV or tech needs to occupy them for a little while. If you’ve had a chance to get out with them in the morning before work, then you won’t feel as guilty for letting the electronic babysitter take over. But even if they’ve been inside all day, sometimes you just have admit that you can’t always do it all and take the easy route. Your stress levels will thank you for it.
No matter how busy you are this Summer, remember that this is a time to enjoy with your family. So be sure to book in holiday days and spend them relaxing at the beach, on a weekend away or playing with the kids. As long as the weather cooperates the long days and warm evenings are a bonus that we should make the most of. Remember no one expects you to be super mum all the time and sometimes “done” is more important than “perfect”, so give yourself a break.