Monday, 14 April 2014

Working Mum Collides With Holidays For The Kids

I love holidays.

Ok, so rather a silly thing to write because I don't know one gal who does not love a holiday any time but
these holidays are rather different for myself. For the first time in a long time I am working.

I love my job but as it's school holiday time it's important to me that my kids have their school break and enjoy their time off. Having happy kids is a huge thing for me.
Lucky for me I do have a flexible job where I can do some work from home and my kids are welcome at my office now and then. However, the real issue with working while the kids are on holidays is not so much doing the work but rather the distraction.
You see while your kids are on holidays their minds are in major play and fun mode. My mind has to still be on work. These two can clash and that can make for a pretty stressful holiday rather then that relaxed time out.


So...

Balance, tips, and strategy are needed. I am learning real fast how to keep the holidays fun for the kids while still achieving my work goals.

For me here is my survive the holiday guide:

1. Accept that the week may be a little messy. By this I mean throw working structure out the window and let fun, interruptions and needs be ok.

2. Explain. I do explain to my children the holiday situation - "I'm still at work and you guys are having a break from school". Upfront communication with your kids is always a win and let's everyone know exactly what is happening. I found my children responded really well with understanding give or take a few little reminders of "mummy has to work at the moment". It has made for happy kids rather then confused kids.

3. Food - I still pack the lunch box - life saving!!! I find it easier to keep packing my kids lunches in the morning so they have food on hand and I don't have to worry about making food and snacks every 5 minutes. I double the amount I would give them for a school lunch on the holidays as they tend to want to snack more away from the class room.

4. Plan. I pick several planned self play activities each day for my kids to do. These are different activities each day so those "I'm bored" whines stays well away." i.e play dough, lego, barbies, bike riding on the driveway, colouring in activities... These activities keep my kids happy for an hour or so and me happy so I can focus on some work for a solid chunk of time.

5. Sacrifice. There are still fun outings that need to be had. I have arranged play dates. Some where I can leave my children with very trusted family and friends for friend or cousin catch up plays while I go into the office and then there are times when I  take a break to do an outing or activity with my kids. It's not fair to just leave your kids with self activities all day. They need your attention as well.
This means that I spread my working hours over the day and night. So once tucked into little beds I do some of my work in the evening or early mornings while the house sleeps. Some sacrifice hurts none (ok except if it interrupts Downton Abbey :) ). Great activities don't have to be taxing either, keep it simple - bake some biscuits, nail polish on those fingers, blowing bubbles, jump on the trampoline, read a book or two together. Just keep that contact up.

6. Balance. Don't stress. It's just a couple of weeks where work and  home fun are just meeting up. Talk to your boss up front too, most are fairly understanding of family commitments when it comes to holidays. Take each day as it comes, stay calm, give lots of cuddles (seriously works wonders) and most of all breath and smile, breath and smile.


I am sure that there are  hundreds of  tips for working with kids on holidays so I would love to know what your top tips are?


1 comment :

  1. I remember this dilemma when I was a working mum. I like to help my sister n law out in the school holidays now I'm a SAHM as I know what it's like. When I return to work I'm hoping to get something in a school so it will only be term time. Great list of tips and hints. The lunch box one is a great tip. I did the same thing when stuck on the couch breastfeeding with a toddler running around. xo

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