I admit it, running a business and having a kindergartner and preschooler is no picnic. Some days, I just want to lay in bed and hide instead of “adulting.” The energy required to be an awesome mom and also an awesome business owner is daunting, and I usually require at least 1 coffee in the morning to get started. Add to that the fact that the kids are not in camp this summer since we moved (who’s genius idea was that???), and it can be overwhelming. Here are my tips for surviving summer with kids and a business:
Make a Schedule
You know that business can take up all of your day very quickly. There are things that you need to do, have to do, want to do, and would love to get to. Do all of these things, and “one more minute” could mean that you look down at 8:45 and magically it is 12:15 and there is a mutiny going on over a sock. If you are finding that time gets away from you, you need a schedule. Determine what your working hours are (8 hours of work per day may not be feasible if you have little ones afoot – even if you work late into the night. Believe me, 8 hours is a stretch!) and stick to them. I also have responsibilities that trump business – hello kindergarten registration and endless doctor visits.
My key to business in general is to be strict with my calendar and my time. I no longer work on the weekends – especially during the summer. If there is something that absolutely needs to be done – I schedule a block of an hour on a Saturday morning before everyone gets up and going. Otherwise I can find that half the weekend is gone with work that is not always necessary.
I also commit to only working 4 hours per day. And I know that 4 hours in a row isn’t going to happen, so I tend to do 2 hours before lunch and then 2 hours after lunch, unless my personal schedule interferes, then I might end up working in the evening when the kids are going to bed. Since I have a tight grip on my schedule, I know what nights I will have to work. Knowing ahead of time what my day looks like keeps me on track, and I tend to be more efficient when I work.
Plan for Fun
Two kids in a 2 bedroom apartment (yep, corporate housing is not always luxurious) can be a recipe for disaster. The kids need to get out of the house every day. It isn’t fair to them to keep them cooped up, and staying in a small space can create more stress than necessary. Plan every day to take the kids out for a fun activity – whether to visit a park, museum, heck, even a trip to Target can break up the doldrums. Going to museums every day or other attractions can add up, so try to find inexpensive places or parks to keep the entertainment value up while being wallet friendly.
Since we are in the city, we have learned to go to places that we can walk to or take the train to. I am not quite brave enough to take the kids on the train by myself, but I am almost there. It is much lower cost than $35+ for parking and the kids love the “choo choo train.”
I have learned that our 4 walks with the dogs per day do not count as fun, so don’t make that mistake.
Some days, all your plans are going to go out the window. The kids will not take another minute in the house, and you are just not going to get any work done. Accept it. Rejig your schedule. Take the kids for (plant-based in our case) ice cream. Take them for a walk. Play the game that you hate that they absolutely love. Do it.
The one thing we forget as work from home business owners is that we got into business for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that you wanted flexibility, right? I mean the best part of being a boss is taking a sick day without having to ask. Being able to take off time to see your kids recital or take them to soccer practice. Or to just enjoy being a mom without feeling the pressure for a few minutes. Honor that, and sometimes, just give in.
I hope these tips help you survive summer just a little. Remember, this too shall pass, and your kids will only want to talk to you to borrow the car during the summer. Or to ask for money. Enjoy the fact that they actually want to play with you.
My son’s first sentence? Mommy, I want you play with me.
Ok, bud. Let’s play.