It’s the most wonderful time of the year–SUMMER! That is if you are a kid! If you work out of your home and have kids home for the summer, this time of year can be one of the most challenging.
I absolutely love summer and vowed that even though I work at home almost full time that I would not ruin my summer or my kids’ summer. A couple of weeks in, I learned this was a hard promise to keep. I have a tween and a teen, therefore weekly summer camp options are not really appealing anymore. They do have activities and sports, but their big thing is their social life! When not working, I am an Uber for my kids and cruise director to their social desires.
A few weeks in though I have learned some things and we are sailing into smoother summer waters as I stick to the following four tips. Younger children are a tad different, but these same tips can be amended to work for them. It is never too early to start a chore list or set boundaries. One of the best things you can do for your kids is teach them to entertain themselves (without an electronic is preferable).
But to all you working moms and dads, I wish you good luck this summer. I hope you too have a great summer and a productive one. Bittersweetly, August will come sooner than we want and these days will never come around again. So pay special attention to my last two tips, summer is for you too!
1) Wake up EARLY: Every morning I wake up at 5 am. At first, it is tough (I mean like the first 10 minutes…), but you get past it. It is amazing how much work you can do prior to the kids waking up be it 8 am or 9 am. Then no matter how they awake, you already have some hours of work accomplished. It is so worth it and has been a lifesaver for me these past few months even when they were in school. I find that by the time my kids get up, I have done about 3 hours of work and already feel that the day is productive. So whatever the day brings, I am more ready.
2) Set CLEAR Guidelines/ Systems: Establish a chore chart for the kids. What do they need to get done (trash, bathroom cleaning, car cleaning, vacuuming, sweeping etc.) before they can hold an electronic? And speaking of electronics, set guidelines and limits. Make them clear, write them out and post them. And of course, make penalties for breaking them. Every family has their own belief system on electronics. My firm and steadfast belief is set guidelines and stick to them. Make your expectations clear. It would be an interesting study to see how many interruptions occur from the simple requests to watch this or play on that.
3) Take time for FUN: It is your summer too! Yes, the work must get done but if there is no deadline, then it can get done later in the evening after a day at the pool or beach. You never get this time back and those types of days recharge you. A few weeks back, I took Friday off to escort my daughter and her friends to the beach. My motto for the day was “Easy Breezy” because when you have five 12 year old girls in tow, one never knows what drama might pop up. It turned out to be an awesome day at the beach where we scored rockstar parking up front, soaked up the sun, the girls played awesome up and down the beach and I came home recharged. The whole day, I felt free and enjoyed the day away from my desk. Just be upfront with your clients about the time you will be away. Let them know the timeframe you will be away and enjoy a little summertime for yourself!
4) Lose the GUILT: Before running my own business, I was pretty much a full time mom for 13 years. That means summer was wide-open, but as I recall during those summers I did not run a three ring circus and hold daily craft circles. There were still chores to be done, down time and guidelines. So show your kids that you have responsibilities and lose the guilt that you are not meeting their every summer whim. Summer time means fun, but it also means downtime. Teach them to figure it out, pick up a book, learn a craft on their own, go for a run etc. You are not a full-time cruise director or Uber driver, so lose the guilt!!!!