Ok maybe “ultimate conflict” isn’t the best choice of words. Maybe I should have called this “10 ways to get work done while your little people are home from school”. I know you love those amazing kiddos who call you mom or dad and I know you try to make the most out of every summer that they are home with you! But seriously, is there anything much harder than working from home while your kiddos are home on summer break???
Every year I feel completely conflicted. I want to be a kick-a$$ momma and spend as much time with my little people as humanly possible. But I also understand the #1 of self employment….”you don’t work; you don’t eat”. In other words, work MUST go on….even tho’ they are home!
I owned my decorating painting business for 17 years. And I have 3 kiddos. So, I have learned a thing or two about how to juggle work and summer. If I know anything, it’s how to hold a conversation with a home builder while holding a baby on my hip. I can’t tell you how many times I have multi-tasked like an absolute mad woman when my kiddos were babies. My husband and I were dedicated to keeping our kids at home as much as possible. Eventually they all did a moms day out program and preschool, but the majority of the time….they were home with momma. And it is a bit easier now that they are older, but it still has it’s challenges.
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So, if you are being buried under work and listening to the 100th episode of “Frozen” in the background….I want you to know I get it. I’ve done it. I’ve lived it. I’ve made it and you will too.
I want to give you a few of my best pointers to help you to try to effectively juggle YOUR load this summer.
If you’d rather listen, I recently put out a podcast about these tips, which you can listen in here.
10 Ways to get Work Done while your Little People are Home from School
1. Work while they sleep. It’s 8:00 in the morning as I type this. My precious little pumpkins will sleep until 9:30/10:00, so I get up early, early and bust butt until they stir. Is it fun? No. Do I have to go to bed earlier in order to get up earlier? Yes. Do I watch any tv in the summer? No. But is it worth is to have 2-3 hours of paperwork/computer time in the morning? Yes!!! Now I know not all of your kids will sleep as late as mine, but I let mine stay up late at night. And I give them Benadryl. Oh I jest, no drugs; just hugs. But the key is figuring out when your kids are still snoozing and make that into valuable work time. I never feel guilty about working while they sleep.
2. Take them to places where they can play and YOU can work. For instance, we often go to a bounce house place. The kids will bounce for 2-4 hours and I sit in a booth with my laptop or cell phone and make calls, return emails, blog ect. It’s a win-win. Because let’s be honest, I’m not getting in the bounce house with them…. so it’s a waste of time for me to just sit and watch. Be productive! We’ve also done this at McDonald’s playlands, indoor parks, etc. Yes, it costs money, but so does a babysitter. This way you are at least with them.
3. Speaking of babysitters, get a sitter for a few hours. Let me say it again. Get a sitter for a few hours and do not feel guilty about it. Yesterday I had a 4 hour teleconference. I can’t expect my kids to be quiet and let mom work for 4 hours straight. And apparently they want lunch or something???? So, I hired a “sitter” to take them out to lunch and a movie. I needed them out of the house so I would have zero distractions! Do I feel guilty? Absolutely not. It’s the first time all summer that I have needed a sitter to occupy them while mom works. Its ok moms. We have to quit living under such self-condemnation. It’s ok that you need a few hours to work. It does not make you a bad mom.
4. Child swap with a friend. Thankfully I have had many friends over the years who have also worked odd hours and we have often child swapped. She’d take my kiddos for a playdate and then I’d take hers at a later time. Win-win. Your kids love play dates and you have some uninterrupted time. Also, my kids are way more occupied and therefore, I can get some work done when we have friends/neighbor kids over. They can all play and you can bust a quick work move. Get at it!
5. Accept the fact that you do NOT have to entertain your kiddos 100% of the time. Let me repeat that differently….. every day doesn’t HAVE to be a day of doing “something” during the summer. If your kids always think that every day is about them, you are setting them up for an unrealistic vision of the real world. It’s ok that your kids see you work. It’s ok that they know first we will work; then we will play. It’s ok that they see you tending to your adult responsibilities. Of course I am not saying work work work all the time. What I am saying is, your kiddos can learn from watching you run a business from home. Don’t cripple them by entertaining them 100% of the time. They can go read for a 1/2 hour while you return phone calls. It WILL be ok.
6. Involve your babies in your business!!!! They can fill orders with you. They can wash paint brushes. They can carry supplies. Involve them!!!!!! And if your work is something they really can’t help with, then let them pick up some of the slack in the house while you whip out business duties.. They can flip laundry for you so you can fill those orders. They can learn to make a PB&J while you finish your phone calls. Give them responsibilities….usually they love it!
7. Determine what can wait until the kids go back to school. Honestly. Some things we think we MUST do (especially when we are self-employed) but it can actually wait a few weeks. My kids only have 10 weeks off for break this summer. That’s not a ton of time! Do I really want to make you more DIY videos? I am itching to release my coaching program to you? Absolutely! But it will have to wait until the kids are back in school….because my priority really IS them. Many things can just wait until August. And I’ve even told several of my clients that. And my clients are amazing, amazing, amazing human beings who understand that my kids are out and they will, for the most part, wait. This is paint; not brain surgery. I’m doing what I HAVE to do and the rest will just have to be ok.
8. When you do get the opportunity to work, CONCENTRATE. FOCUS. Get off Facebook. Get off social media. Turn that tv off in background. Put your phone in another room until you have completed what you MUST get done. Half the time we are “working”, we are totally unproductive because we are DISTRACTED. Give your work 100% for a set amount of time so you can give your family 100% as soon as you are done.
9. Get help. Get help. Get help. Have you seen my video on delegation? You can watch it here. I hired an assistant last December. It’s the best business move I’ve made….. worth every single dollar. Get an assistant, get a house cleaner, get someone to run your errands. Get rid of the excuses as to WHY you CAN’T get help. Yes you can. Skip Starbucks and get some help. When you get rid of the time stealers that you resent anyway, you make time to work on the things that are bringing you $$$. So you hire some help. You work when you would have been cleaning or errands or whatever and you have extra $ to pay that help. See how it works?
10. When all else fails, great moms resort to BRIBERY! Ha. No really. I often tell my kids….”give me an hour of uninterrupted work and we’ll head to the pool for the day”. Or, we’ll go out to lunch if you give me complete silence in the house for 30 minutes while I return phone calls. Our kids need to be reading over the summer anyway. Or tell them it’s craft time. Set them up with a roll of craft paper and crayons on the driveway and let them at it. Then use that quiet time to be productive.
Friends, I don’t know HOW to run a business without kiddos at home. It’s all I know. And I have gotten over the guilt of being a momma who works. We have stuck to our personal convictions about keeping our kids at home as very much as possible and while I would not change it for the world…. it has made many, many days very difficult to run a thriving business. But God has been so faithful. God gave me a talent. He expects me to use it to honor Him. And He expects me to keep my priorities straight while doing it. It’s not always perfect. But it’s our reality.
I hope that blesses someone. And if you think your friends can benefit from these tips, please share this post. It is my heart to see mompreneurs SUCCEED!
Now…..get to work so you can get those babies to the pool!!! There is fun to be had!
All my best,
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