As any work-at-home parent without full-time care can tell you, summer can prove to be a difficult time to get work done. Especially if the children are school age as parents are used to having time to get their work completed without the kids in the house.
The last few summers I have struggled with balancing my work time and fun time. Summer is supposed to be a time filled with fun activities that you can’t do while the kids are in school. Especially in Seattle — we love to take advantage of the nice weather and be outside as much as possible. I have found it difficult to fit my work obligations in between our normal daily activities given the constant child interruptions. Even with Will’s nap I was only getting about 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted time. I would stress about being behind on my work and not spending good quality time with the boys doing fun activities.
This summer I decided to learn my lesson and hire a “mom’s helper.” Our regular babysitter (and across the street neighbor) didn’t have a job this summer, so we worked out a schedule for her to help me out. She comes over two afternoons a week between 2 and 5 pm. She has about an hour with Jack to help him finish his summer learning or reading and play before she gets Will up from nap. Then they go outside to play.
We have only been doing it for two weeks, but so far it is working great. I have told them to act like I am not home (unless there is an emergency). I close my office door and work on whatever I need to get done. So far I have been able to get drafts of my posts written the week before, plan content for several months and do research. On the days she doesn’t come, I am able to get some quick work done, and then spend time with the boys doing fun activities. This way I don’t worry about being behind.
I had to get over the idea that I was paying for a babysitter while I was at home. My consulting work more than covers what I will pay her and the stress relief is worth more than that. I am so much less stressed and we have already been able to do some fun activities like going to a movie, making tie dye T-shirts and having lunch at the park.
How are you managing kids and work from home in the summer?