Here we are in May, and summer break is only a few weeks away! I’m not going to lie. I actually love summer break. By nature, I’m way too much of a free spirit and just love losing some of that structure during the summer. Impromptu beach trips, sleeping in, pool days, and days where no one gets out of their PJs all day long. It’s really my favorite time of year. As much as I love it, though, I can’t be the only work-at-home mom that stresses out about the mere idea of having kids home for summer. Can I?
What’s going to happen to my carefully crafted routine? When will I have time to work? Don’t they have a guide to surviving summer break as a work at home mom?
Summer Break for the Work at Home Mom
See, I’ve been here before. I enter summer break with all of the best intentions and think things will run so smoothly. Plans and preparations get made starting in April so that I can keep my kids entertained while I work. Unfortunately, we all know what they say about the best laid plans…
Usually, by July, the fun has worn off and I’m starting to stress about how I’ll keep this up for another month. The impromptu trips and the days at the pool and the sleepovers with friends have all been great, but they’ve taken up a huge chunk of my work time and now I’m starting to fall behind.
So, how is a work at home mom supposed to balance running (and growing) a business with her kids home from school? Homeschooling moms do it all the time, right? Surely, we can do it for 2 months out of the year without losing our cool.
How to Survive Summer Break as a Work at Home Mom
Last year, I thought I’d get ahead of the game and start looking for ways to survive summer break without a breakdown so I could come up with a better plan. I was so dissapointed to find that all I really came across were things like “summer bucket lists,” and “fun activities to do with your kids this summer.” Those are all really great, and gave me some good ideas, but I’m not going to lie. They also gave me a lot of guit. There’s no way I could have done even half of that list of activities with my kids while trying to run a successful business from home. So, how do we actually manage our businesses during summer vacation? I came up with my top 5 tips for managing a business while making the most of having your kids at home for summer.
Related: How to Work at Home with Kids
1. Get organized and keep a to-do list.
I truly don’t know how I would get anything done, ever without my planner. If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you probably realize it contains my entire life. I keep an editorial calender and a weekly task list so I know what work is coming up. I also keep running to-do lists every week of things that must get done, and things I’d like to get done. Keeping a to-do list means that you don’t have to think so much about what needs to be done next. You can just switch gears without sitting there and trying to remember what comes next.
Related: My 2017 Planner System
If you are a work at home mom, you need a planning system. I obviously prefer paper, and I have a lot of reasons why, but choose the system that works for you!
2. Automate as much as possible.
I do this all year long, but I am extra diligent as summer gets closer. Automating tasks such as social media posting, blog posts, and emails can free up a lot of time to spend with my kids. I get online one evening a week (or morning, before they wake up) and schedule out my emails, my Pinterest pins, Facebook, Instagram, and any blog posts that need to go out. This way, I can take off for an impromptu beach trip with my kids without worrying about what needs to go out that day. I just make sure to spend time each day on each platform interacting with my followers, without stressing about what time I get online!
3. Make the most of Monday.
Since my husband works 4 10 hour shifts, he gets a weekday off every week. His day of choice is Monday, which works fabulously for me. I make the most I can out of Monday and really get a lot of work done. When I’m really focused, I can knock out both blog posts for the upcoming week in the time I get to work on Mondays. I can sometimes even get my social media scheduled and get my email written for the week. It really just depends on the week! I’m so grateful I get that day. Every work-at-home mom should absolutely have one day a week that she can really sit down and focus on work for a few hours. If it can’t be Monday, choose a day that works with your schedule!
4. Make your backyard a kid oasis.
I know not everyone has the luxury of a backyard, but if you do, take advantage! During the summer, our backyard is regularly cleaned and full of fun activities. We keep a full sandbox, a kiddie pool with toys, water beads, a trampoline, water balloons, and sidewalk chalk at the ready all summer long. Since my office is right by the back door, I get time to work while my kids play contentedly for hours! We also have a comfy sitting area outside, so when the kids want to play in the pool, I bring my computer to the patio so I can work and keep an eye on them at the same time.
5. Plan fun activities to do together.
The whole joy of working from home is that you get to spend extra time with your kids and make memories. Don’t let the stress of a deadline or a busy week make you forget that! Summer is a great time to soak up all of that quality time and make some memories together. During the summer, I like to make sure we plan some fun activities together, and I let my kids help me decide what we’ll do. Sometimes it’s a big activity like going to a local theme park or museum. Sometimes it’s a picnic at the park or going to the skating rink in the afternoon. Big or little, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that I make sure to take time for them and forget about work for awhile!
Ready or Not, Summer is Coming!
Are you ready for summer break? This year, I’m making a promise to myself to take it easy, enjoy the break, and focus on making memories.
If you have school aged kids, how do you manage to cope with the interruption to your schedule while they’re home for a break? Give me some more ideas in the comments below!