Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Work-at-home moms and summer, how do we get anything done?

Ahhh summer! I am actually one of those parents who gets as excited about having the
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kids home as they are to be out of school. I love hangin' with my boys everyday, not having to get them up at the crack of dawn, the leisure, the play, the whatever.

The only thing about summer that is really different for me, is that suddenly I've got to put my time management skills into overdrive. You see, I work from home.

During the school year, I know I can count on a pretty steady routine where my time is my own from 8:45 AM to 3:00 PM. I can write all day, go to meetings, meet deadlines, do research (uninterrupted) and whatever else I need to do to keep my work life rolling. How then, do I keep up the same schedule when the kids are home from school?

I'm not one of those parents who want my kids in day care, camp (unless they really WANT to go), or with a sitter when I am home. My kids are 8 and almost 15, so there is something to say about a bit of self-sufficiency here, but they still require a lot of attention and I want to give it to them.

There are some experts who say outsourcing and virtual assistants are the way to go. Well, they aren't in the budget just yet. Other experts say close the door and don't open it. That means I'm "at work". I don't like that one either.

This is what I do. Plan. Plan. Plan. I get up earlier than the kids to get the routine office- type stuff out of the way and get as much done as I can while they are sleeping. This is also true for late at night after I've put them to bed.

If I know I have a heavy workload coming up, I let them know the day before so they are prepared to see me at my desk most of the day, then I compensate on days that aren't so demanding. Even on busy days, I take Star Wars battle breaks, or play a round of Mumbo's Tumble, or drive my teenager to wherever he's going. You'd be amazed how many battle ships you can blow up in fifteen minutes! I "plan" a trip to the movies into my schedule. A matinee just means I'll be fitting in two hours work somewhere else.

During the school year, day time is work time and after school is family time (with all the other stuff like dinner, laundry, kids sports, birthday party planning, groceries, etc.) and in the evening it's nice to hang out with my husband. But summer is less rigorous. It means fun and freedom and family. I don't mind moving my schedule around a bit to accommodate all the extra noisy questions and lunch requests, laughing and legos and teen taxi service. Summer will fly by and before we know it we'll be back to school, back to schedules, and I'll wonder how I ever worked when it was so quiet.

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