Wednesday, June 06, 2012

workin' it out when the kids are home

 It's summertime, and the livin' is...easy? Well, that depends.

If you work from home and the kids are out of school, otherwise relaxing, breezy summer days can complicate your work routine. Gone are the mornings that, after an often chaotic experience of rousing, feeding, and hustling everyone out the door, lend themselves to a peaceful, quiet setting. A time where you can finally sit down with your coffee and begin your workday--in silence.

Now there are leisurely breakfasts, arguments to break up (all day!), playdates to coordinate, morning t-ball practices to attend, etc. A quiet morning where you can make phone calls or reply thoughtfully to client emails are a thing of the past--at least for the next few months.

So how do you balance your summer work-family schedule? Do you take advantage of daycamps or babysitting? Do you hustle the kiddos outside after breakfast, call "See ya at lunchtime!", and lock the doors?

I actually welcome summertime, because my husband is on break from his teaching duties. This leaves me more flexibility to meet with clients, attend networking events, and escape from home for a few hours and hit up the local coffeehouse. (Incidentally, that's where I am as I write this post.) He can hang with our girls while I kick up my productivity a notch. But I realize not everyone is this fortunate, so here are a few tips to glean a few extra hours of quiet working time.

Get up early.
Even though I lean on my husband for help, I am continuing to get up at the same time as I did during the school year. It works out because the girls sleep in a bit (as a result of slightly later bedtimes) so I can often eek out an hour or so before they wake up.

Swap sitting duties.
Do you have a friend who also has kids? Set up a swap where she takes your kids for a few hours one day, and you take hers on another. This allows you (both) to save money--no paying a babysitter--and you both benefit.

Hire a mother's helper.
Consider having a student come over a couple mornings each week to play with your kids while you work. High school and college students are good candidates, and you could even use a younger helper (pre-teen). You'll be home in case of an emergency ("She took my cracker!!" does not constitute an emergency!) but will be granted time to concentrate on your work while someone else minds the kids.

Many other options are available for child care during the summer...share some of your solutions with us! We'd love to hear how you are working from home with the family on hand this summer.

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