Working Mom: Getting Work Done Once School's Out
It's that magical time of year mamas, and by magical, I mean very hot, stressful, and kind of crazy because your kids are now with you all. the. time. That's right. We're talking about summer time, mamas.
Having no school schedule is amazing (I mean, I know I will miss having a break from being the hot-mess mother sprinting to drop-off every morning), but when your kids don't have the break in the day to play with their friends, get their energy out during recess or gym time, and are stuck with YOU all day... well, that doesn't leave time for everything that you were able to get done during that time the rest of the year.
I'm talking grocery shopping, laundry, mopping floors, naps, kid-free car maintenance, dentist appointments, naps, dishes, post office runs... I mean I could make this list go on and on. And one thing that I was getting done when my little guy was at school during the year was WORK.
As a working mama, who is also a stay-at-home mama, I have the blessing and the curse of finding time in my day/night where I can get work done at home without my kids absolutely destroying each other, or the house, or both. That means I'm looking for time throughout the day where I can possibly get work done.
So the question for the working mamas out there is how do we make up the difference in time lost when we don't have that break from our kids during the day?
Here are a couple of things I've had to start doing since it's my first time acclimating to "at-school-time-working-hours":
Use the Weather
One of the best parts of the summer months is that you rarely have to spend time inside if you don't want to, and that means that your littles can spend a HUGE chunk of their day outside! I recommend stocking up on fun things that your kids can do outdoors that would make you cringe if it was happening inside: bubbles, kites, nerf/squirt guns, frisbees, T-ball, whatever your kids will be into. Set out a cooler on the porch with juice boxes and popsicles and let them run around for hours, while you sit outside and work, or have on eye on them from inside!
If your littles are social butterflies like my little guy, then the fact that they're able to be home all day or be outside playing all day isn't all that great, unless they have a friend around to play with. I recommend doing play dates on days when you would normally have your littles at school (or at least a couple times during the week)! And not just having your kids head over to a friend's house-- I've found that even when I have my son's friends over at our house, my time is freed up like CRAZY! Also, if you have a group of friends that always does a weekly park day, reach out to one of your besties and ask her to keep an eye on your littles while you head home and work for an hour or two. Low-maintenance for them, and alone time to work for you! Giving your kids a couple hours every week where they get to play with someone other than you or baby sis makes a huge difference, and they'll be much easier to handle on the days they're "stuck" at home!
Capitalize on Nap Time
This is something I am not great at, but I've had to become a working fiend during any time one or both of my kids are napping. I usually like to watch Food Network and scroll through instagram when my kids are sleeping, and let my mind shut down for a while, but during the summer, I need to take advantage of every second where they're occupied. Since I have a toddler that still takes a daily nap, I've started insisting that my older child has "quiet time" in my bed where he has the iPad, some snacks, a drink, and a blanket, and he gets to watch shows or play games while I work. Some days are more productive than others, and some days it doesn't work out at all, but it does set a good precedent for your littles that you need to have some time alone to get work done!
Entertain and Engage
This is something I learned from a friend, and I had to share it, because it's made a huge difference in how our days go! If you spend a little bit of time with your littles in the morning, you can spend an hour on work. Then spend some time playing after lunch, and then spend an hour on work. Then play or read or hang with your kids for a little bit in the afternoon, and get some work done right before dinner. Get the idea? I've found it's easier for my babes to wrap their heads around me working during the day (when there are so many fun things to do mom!) if you are consistently making time to sit down and read, run around the backyard, or build an amazing train track with them and THEN getting work done. Even though my kids are little, I've found that they respond really well to the time I spend playing with them, and understand when I say I have to get some work done. We're able to space out the play times enough to allow me to get a decent amount done during the day. It changes from day-to-day, but a few minutes here and there with my littles can change their attitudes all day!