How to Cope with the School Holiday Juggle-Struggle

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How to Cope with the School Holiday Juggle-Struggle

How to Cope with the School Holiday Juggle-Struggle

As a working mum of two, I have first-hand experience of the school holiday juggle-struggle. Although my children are old enough to fend for themselves these days, memories of trying to manage the seemingly endless six-week summer holidays are still fresh in my mind.


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Here are a few ideas to help you juggle the responsibility of running your own business with the intense demands of parenting during the school holidays…

 

Come up with a Plan

Sometimes flying by the seat of your pants is OK. In fact, countless entrepreneurs swear by this approach, especially in the early stages of building a business. Life is too random and dynamic to be prepared 100 percent of the time, so learning to go with the flow is vital.

Parenting is often unpredictable. You can’t always count on your baby to nap and you don’t know when the next tummy bug will do the rounds at school. Running a business alongside raising a family means rolling with the punches and riding out each crisis as it hits.

While winging it might work during term time, school holidays generally require a bit more planning. Term dates and training days are fixed well in advance, giving you plenty of time to childproof your business. You’ll find more practical advice about devising a realistic, achievable plan at the end of this post.

Get Rid of the Guilt......{or let it guide you}

Guilt is a constant theme in the conversations I have with colleagues and clients who are trying to balance their business with the demands of parenting. During school holidays, when we’re trying to be all things to all people, these feelings can become even more intense.

It’s normal to want the best for our children – we love them unconditionally – but it’s counterproductive if we believe our efforts are never good enough. That said, feeling guilty is a habit that may take time to break. Don’t feel guilty about feeling guilty!

One option is to take those niggly feelings of guilt and let them drive you forward, informing your goals and dreams as you build a business that complements the lifestyle you’d like to lead. It’s important to own your emotions, recognise how they make you feel, and let them guide you as your business develops and grows.

If you’re spending more time away from your kids than you’d like, ask yourself what changes you can make. Do you need to hire an assistant? Can you outsource some of your admin? As your own boss, you have the freedom to shape your future and that of your children.

Ask for Help

‘It takes a village to raise a child’ - African proverb

Parenting should be a shared responsibility – a communal affair. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, neighbours and friends can all be involved and have a part to play. Even if we don’t have extended family on our doorstep, we can be ‘family’ for others in our community, giving and receiving mutual help and support.

If you find it hard to ask for help, remember part of being human is having limitations. No one can do it all. No one.

Put Yourself in the Picture

You cannot pour from an empty cup. When you’re figuring out how you’ll cope with the school holidays, don’t forget to factor in downtime and rest for yourself. You’ll be no good to anyone if you start teetering towards burnout and exhaustion. Read more about the importance of rest for your business here.

If You Do One Thing This Week....

Sit down with your diary and block out all the school/nursery holidays for the rest of the year. Don’t forget to include bank holidays and inset days. Divide the time off into both ‘work days’ and ‘family days’, decide how you’ll manage your workload and calculate how much childcare you might need. Do you need to put a financial plan in place to cover any additional costs?   

Holiday clubs and activities are often booked well in advance, so start researching these early, especially for the long summer break. Be realistic about how much you can juggle. Working long into the night, every night, for six weeks may seem like a simple solution, but it isn’t necessarily a good idea!   

Further Reading/Watching/Listening...

•    Being Freelance – Freelance & The Family
•    How to Juggle Babies and Business
•    Juggling Business and Family… Hints and Tips
•    How to Keep a Work-Life Balance
•    The Five Things Successful Working Parents Give Up to Reach a Work-Life Balance

Until next time

Val


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