Can anyone relate to this? The juggle of working and parenting is really hard, but during the holidays it is even harder. My daughter has finished nursery and is starting school in September, and already I’m experiencing a reality check of what the school holidays are going to be like. She’s not even at started school yet!
One of the things that I am finding really difficult, more so challenging, is TIME. I literally have no time at all to get anything work related done. Or anything work related that involves a little bit of thinking! Even though I have had my son with me for the past year, I had time during the day to work whilst he napped, and I felt that I had time in the evenings. But for the last few weeks of looking after them both all I want to do is collapse into a heap once they are in bed let alone open the laptop.
I know that this is only a very short amount of time.
Before I know it my daughter will be going to school and my son will be starting nursery. I should feel grateful for the time I have with both of my children being together, it just doesn’t leave a lot of time for work, which then leads to resentment, feeling stressed, feeling guilty and ultimately feeling overwhelmed.
I know I am lucky to work from home and that I have the best of both worlds. A big tick is that for the last two months my monthly salary was pretty much on par with my monthly salary when I left the crazy world of advertising two years. I am hugely proud and grateful for that, a lot of hard work and determination has gone into it. But because I’ve reached that level I feel that I need to maintain it throughout August. But I know that having two children at home with me reaching that just isn’t going to be possible. That’s just how freelancing goes.
So over the last few days there are a few things that I’ve learnt when it comes to working over to holidays…
Don’t over commit
This is so very true especially when it comes to freelancing. We’re all out to make money and make as much as we can which makes it really easy to over commit. I recently had to be honest with a client and explain that there was no way I can work during this month without totally stressing myself out, not sleeping and probably delivering a really awful job! It was a hard conversation to have, and it made me realise that during school holidays it’s important not to take on additional work unless you have back-up childcare arrangements.
Time block your day
When you work at home with the children the boundaries between work time and family time are often blurred. It’s all too easy to send another email or reply to a social media post. STOP! Put the phone down and focus on your children, they want your attention just as much as you need to attend to them!
This is all too true in my case as I’m sure that my son will throw himself down the slide just as I’m about to find some more content to share on my client’s Instagram feed. One of the things that I’m really trying to do is to use naptime, downtime and evenings to work, instead of trying to do both work and parenting together…..it just doesn’t work!
You can’t do it all
You absolutely can’t! Be realistic. It’s not just parenting and work you have to do during the holidays, it’s everything else. It’s the housework, the cooking, the constant arranging of play dates (I used to hate that word, but it feels like it’s now part of vocabulary now), the replying to What’s App messages, the food shopping, the list goes on and on and on. You can’t do it all!
So this holiday I’ve given up writing a list, I know that it will only stress me. I feel a little bit like I’m in survival mode and just getting through the day and getting a few things done is what counts.
Be easy on yourself
I don’t think there is much to say here apart from honestly, be easy on yourself. If you’ve had a difficult day with the children have a bath once they’re in bed, have that glass of wine, it’s ok. I’ve learned that I haven’t got to open the laptop as soon as the children are asleep. The school summer holidays are a constant juggle for many parents, but lets not see this as a bad thing. RELAX
They’ll be back to school before you know it
This is true. I will admit I was dreading having both children at home with me and I spent a lot of time worrying about workload and getting it all done. However it has made me use my limited available time wisely, and made me also appreciate this time I have with the children, although they can be a pain in the arse a lot the time!
So I hope that this blog post has helped anyone who is in the same boat as me. Your career or job is probably different to mine, and I have no idea how parents who work away from the home do it? Please just remember you’re all bloody superstars!
Roll on the start of school and remember there’s always wine in the evenings. We can do this!