Do you work blissfully in your home office each and everyday of the week and then BAM! School holidays hit? I usually love school holidays but this time around the kids are driving me insane, constantly asking me for food or “Mum watch this” or the usual fighting between siblings… they are under my feet and I’m only on day 7!
Working from home has so many benefits. However, unfortunately, business doesn’t stop just because the holiday season is here and kids are on 6 weeks school holidays. After spending the day sitting with my office door and window closed, just to have a quiet workspace while the kids are being loud, and I’m sweltering in 40 degree heat in a closed office, I have come up with a plan of attack to help the kids and I get through the next 5 weeks in harmony, so they, along with my clients, get my attention. Here are a few of my ideas.
The Kid Swap
I have spoken with a few of my children’s friends’ mums. Some are stay at home mums, some are on holidays themselves and some are like me and work fulltime from home.
We all have one thing in common, our kids are bored.
I have put it to them that we each take a day of the week where we have all the children at our homes playing with each other. The next day another mum has the children at her house and so on. For me this means if there are 5 mums willing to participate we each have a crazy day of the week where we have a house full of kids and then 4 days of the week, no kids at all. This is a win win situation. Us mums get some peace for 4 days a week and the kids are at a different house each day of the week playing with their friends. Not bored!
If you are an early riser, you could start work earlier. I have tried this myself, getting up and starting work at 4:30am before the kids get up.
Now during school term this works perfectly but it doesn’t seem to work in my favor during the holidays where my workload seems to double, especially now with the crazy lead up to Christmas.
However, to find a resolution (excuse the pun this time of year) I am going to look at trying this again in the New Year to see if it’s still an option. I am hoping it will work something like this – work the morning, then have the middle of the day off with the kids, and then come back to work in the afternoon.
The Crazy Hand Movements
This is one my kids and I know all too well. It goes something like this:
My door is closed, I’m on the phone with a client but there is an emergency with the kids and they come rushing in yelling. As they open the door I jump up off my seat, phone in hand, do stomping movements and for some peculiar reason they don’t see me do this and continue to tell me what the emergency is! This is where I really act like and adult and start pulling faces at them, and my hand movements get larger until eventually they take notice and realise they are interrupting me, and then they leave the office.
The emergency is usually them arguing over who had the last strawberry or apple.
What I’m getting at here is that you need to come up with some signals that work for you too, so the kids know that you’re on a call or in the middle of something and cant be interrupted. It takes a while but they will soon learn the crazy hand gestures or that when the office dorr is closed fro them to be quiet and not come in.
Gown Up Tasks
This is one that seems to be working for me at the moment. As I have a 12 year old and 7 year old this works well for me as it gives the 12 year old a bit of responsibility and the 7 year old thinks its great as she can do things with her big sister that she is not normally allowed to do.
I purchased them each a 7-11 slushie wrist band, this allows them to get a discounted slushie during the holidays by wearing and showing their bands at the counter. They are allowed to walk over to the shops (Something they are not normally allowed to do) and purchase a slushie on their own. I also allow them to choose something they would like to bake for the day together with no mummy help. Yesterday I purchased some bean, strawberry, tomato and coriander seeds and today I will send them off into the veggie patch to plant these together and get dirty.
These are all things that I would normally do with them for supervision. Giving them a little freedom and responsibility makes these tasks exciting for them and they are out of my hair. Its a win win.
I will endeavour to conquer the work at home mum with kids on holidays but would be keen to see how others cope whilst working at home with kids. So how do you do it?