Can you hear it when you close your eyes? Or do you hear that voice in your head telling you to get back to work? Even worse, do you hear the silence from your kids’ rooms that means they’re halfway through a diabolical plan?
Summer vacation can be a real source of stress to busy business moms. You want to spend time with your kids and unplug while keeping your business humming along. With your kids home, how can you get anything done?
Working with Kids at Home
How much can you get done with your kids home? Think strategically, but realistically, about how much you can really accomplish in a day, and plan for that. Prioritizing tasks becomes even more important when your time gets more limited.
Make a New Routine
During the school year, you probably have at least some routine to keep your kids ready to get out the door. During the summer, if you don’t have anywhere to go, 8 am can suddenly become 10 am in jammies and you tearing out your hair. If your kids are old enough to do chores on their own, you can enlist them to take care of a few extras during the summer, like emptying the dishwasher instead of running off after breakfast.
Having a daily routine is good for my mental health. Instead of wondering, “What the heck am I going to do with these kids all day!?” I just have to come up with a couple of activities and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. Planning around a typical schedule also keeps those “busy day” tantrums at bay.
Unstructured time is great, but stretches of “do whatever” days get old pretty quick.
Having a rhythm to your week can help you funnel energy from planning and put it into your kids and/or your business. Maybe on Monday you have a playdate, Tuesday you go to a new park, Wednesday is the library, etc. When you know what comes next, your kids have something to look forward to (Pizza Friday!), and weeks don’t bleed into each other.
Add Kids to Your Calendar
If you’re the organized type, you probably have a family calendar and/or a work calendar, then work together to think of activities. Write in any camps or trips that have already been planned. Then, think of any “must-do” summer activities that you’re going to do together (that waterfall hike, blueberry picking, ice cream at your favorite park) and make sure you find time for them.
Then, make sure your kids come up with a list of activities that they can do when they’re “BOOOORED.” Make a movie, put up a tent in the yard, get out the water paints or the hose — there’s plenty to do, and when you plot it all out, you’ll see that summer really is short.
Your kids might be glad to be out of school, but if they’re used to being in class five days a week, they’ll soon miss time with their peers. Book playdates, sleepovers and relaxed social time with other families. Invite your friends for a park picnic after work — grabbing takeout or making sandwiches doesn’t take more time than cooking dinner.
Give the Kids the Boot
Easy solution to finding more time to get work done during summer vacation? Hand off the kids to someone else! It may be too late to find spots in the most popular camps, but ask around and see if there’s anything cool under the radar. Your kids will have fun, and you’ll have time to bang out some projects. Win-win.
Make Things Easy on Your Business
Now more than ever, give yourself a little slack on any household responsibilities you might have. Order grocery delivery or pick it up. Cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for dinner when you feel like it. Saves time, and who wants to cook when it’s hot out, anyway?
Getting ready for summer is a lot like getting ready for a vacation. A little preparation will smooth the way for success.
Prep Provides Focus
How often in your business do you really feel like everything’s in order? For some of you, a lot! Good for you! For others... not so much. Every day can feel like a jumble of taking care of business needs and family needs. When client work is the first priority at work, other ongoing projects tend to slide.
What if you set a date to have all your loose ends wrapped up? In order to go on vacation, you may need to set some firm parameters around your social media schedule for the month, saying no to some projects or setting more realistic time frames. If you’re leaving town in a week, are you really going to be able to get a blog post and an email newsletter done?
Instead of stressing, make a choice and go with it. Take a hard look at whether your overall production schedule is realistic. We can’t do it all, moms, even when it feels like that’s in our job description. Luckily, when you’re your own boss, you write your own job description.
Put Systems in Place
When you leave on vacation, you need to have some auto-responders and other systems in place to make sure you don’t miss out on any new leads. (Get more tips from this awesome post.) Now, take a moment to think about the tasks that make up your day. Would an autoresponder help you when you’re out and about during the day? How about a website FAQ or a social media scheduling program? Can you delegate anything?
Preparing for your summer can help you find clarity in the parts of your business that can work more efficiently.
Take a Real Summer Vacation from Work
When you work for yourself, it can feel hard to take vacation. But you know what? It’s vital. You have to do it. We’re not only giving you permission, but we’re going to help you pack and push you out the door, because life is short and vacation can actually help your business.
When you’re in the weeds, you can’t see the weed wacker. Getting unplugged and away form the day-to-day in your business gives you a fresh perspective.
Not every vacation has to be a two-week blowout. A day trip can refresh you just as much, so pencil in a few days to play hooky. This is one of the great perks of working for yourself, so take take advantage!
You Can Do This!
Summer vacation seems like a long stretch, but before you know it, you’ll be back to school shopping again. We only have so many summers with our kids, so make sure to make time for fun and relaxation.
And give the kids some extra screen time if you’re running against a deadline, mom. You’re doing great.