The last day of school has arrived and you now face three full months of the kids being home from school. That can put fear in the heart of any mom….but when you're a work-at-home mom (WAHM), it's even worse! With the end of school, you lose the 6+ hours of silence you depend on to get all of your work done. What is a WAH Mama supposed to do?
Here are some strategies to help you survive the summer as a WAHM:
Before the kids get out of school for the summer, spend a little time organizing your house and office so your summer runs smoothly. Clean out and replenish the art supplies. Organize the kids' toys. Make sure there are plenty of easily-accessible snacks and drinks. Clean up your computer files and set up your laptop so you can work remotely. Do a final deep cleaning of the house so you don't have to worry about it throughout the summer. This time well spent will save you lots and lots of time and stress once the kids are home.
Set Up a Schedule
Not only does a schedule help you meet your goals but kids always seem to do better when they know when and where certain things are going to happen. Make sure to include enough time for you to get your work done (hopefully, quiet time!) while still having some fun time out with the kids.
To set up a schedule that will fit your family, first look at your kids' sleep cycle. If they are early risers, expect your day to start early and end early. If they like to sleep in, you have a little more leniency in how you schedule your work day. Add in meals and snacks – you can't forget to feed your little vacationers – before you start to schedule in your work and play time.
Also, don’t forget to schedule in some "quiet time" every afternoon. Even if your kids are older and don't take naps, a little down time will give them a moment to unwind and relax before the chaos of the evening hits. Best of all, this will give you a chance to sit down at your desk and do a little work. Just make sure the kids understand what 'quiet time' means and give them a few suggestions for quiet activities like reading a book or play educational games.
When it comes to scheduling your work time, make sure to schedule your toughest tasks for a time when the kids are asleep. Yes, this will mean some long days for you but you'll be able to concentrate and get those tough tasks done faster without your little "helpers".
Enroll Your Kid in Some Summer Activities
Check your local community center, YMCA, or churches for classes, sports, camps, and activities that you kids can attend without you. While they're running up and down the field or painting flowers, you can be at home, working your butt off.
Plan Out Your Day
When you get up in the morning (or before you go to bed the night before), plan out your activities for the day. Make a list of everything that needs to be done: work goals, kids' activities, errands, doctor's appointments, etc. Decide when things are going to be done and in what order. This will not only save you some time and gas but a lot of hassle too.
Set Up Boundaries
When you work out of your home, you need to set boundaries with your kids. These can include when they can bug mom and when they can't, what to do when you're on the phone, and the circumstances when they should interrupt you no matter what – e.g. - fire or blood.
Have Your Kids Help Around the House
Just because they're on vacation doesn't mean that your kids should shirk their responsibilities. Make sure your kids clean up after themselves, do their chores, and help out around the house. This will not only help raise responsible kids but take some stress off of you!
Also, make sure to have a list of chores ready for when your kids have an "I'm bored!" moment. You'd be surprised at how fast kids find something to keep themselves entertained when the only other option is manual labor.
Hire Some Help
If you have young kids that can't be left alone for long periods of time, you might want to consider hiring a babysitter or mommy helper to watch them while you work. Even if you can only afford a few hours a week, every little bit helps!
If money is tight and you can't afford a summer full of classes and camp, see if your friends would be interested in setting up a babysitting co-op. Each mom watches all the kids one morning or afternoon of the week. For the cost of one chaotic day each week, you can have two or three to really concentrate on your work.
Plan Your Meals
Nothing is more annoying than to get to the end of a crazy summer day to realize that you forgot to take something out for dinner. Spend a little time every weekend planning out your menu for the week. Every morning, during the breakfast chaos, either you or one of your helpers should take that night's meat or chicken out to defrost. This simple idea will make your summer WAH life so much easier!
Make the Kids Cook
If your kids are older, have them cook one or two nights a week. That way, you can have at least one night off and the family will still get fed.
No Mama can do everything…so there's no need for you to feel guilty when you can't take your kids to the amusement park because you have to work or afford back-to-back camps like the Jones'. Your kids will live…and so will you. So stop feeling guilty and take a moment to appreciate what you can do.
Summertime was made to have fun. The weather is warm, the kids are out of school, and the pool looks so inviting….so make sure to take a break and enjoy this special time. The kids won't be young forever, right?