Balancing Kids and Work During Summer Break
Here’s a couple of thoughts on what’s shaping up to be an awesome summer.
Today is the first official day of our summer vacation. I’m super excited but also stressed. I’ve always worked – a lot and my loves have always gone to summer camp. But after a not-so-great camp experience last year, we decided to spend this summer together. And no, I haven’t won the lottery, so the next 13 weeks will be the ultimate work-life balancing act. I’m determined to make this summer fun and memorable while also growing my business. Here’s a couple of thoughts on what’s shaping up to be an awesome summer.
Decide What’s Important
Summertime in Florida brings endless possibilities: camps, theme parks, baseball games, festivals and of course our beautiful beaches and parks. With all the amazing options and a limited budget, we quickly realized we can’t do everything. Prioritizing the summer wish list was interesting as my son prefers athletics while my daughter wants to explore nature and animals. After a couple of conversations, we came up a good mix of camps and activities that everyone is looking forward to.
One of my strengths is planning so naturally once we had our wish list of activities, it was time to bring it all together and make reservations. Using a one-page calendar with June, July and August only, I reviewed all my notes and emails to map out the entire summer. This is not as easy as it sounds, there was a lot of erasing, adjusting, phone calls and emails. A couple of days later with several hours spent organizing and prioritizing, we have our summer schedule. Of course, the calendar is in pencil, so we can adjust for weather, friends’ schedules, tummy aches, etc.
Say No to Stay Sane
There are only 24 hours in every day. Even with the best intensions and a flexible schedule, it’s important to recognize that you cannot do everything. As moms we try to do it all and many times we do but we're also exhausted. When I’m tired, I lose patience and yell at the kids. To keep myself sane, get my work done and juggle all these fun activities, I’ve already said NO to a couple of requests. And, I had to give up my favorite volunteer activity for the summer. Over the next 3 months, I'll carefully consider when to say YES and NO while reminding myself that it’s OK not to take on everything.
Get the Kids Involved
I’ll admit that I do almost everything for my kids. They typically don’t do chores, clean their rooms or even know how to make themselves a snack. Now that the busy school year is over, it's the ideal time to get the kids more involved around the house. To make it more fun, I’ve created the Pick-A-Task chore jar. While they’re not thrilled about these new responsibilities, I’m happy to get a little more help.
Here a List, There a List, Every Week Has a To-Do List
To-do lists help manage activities, tackle big projects and keep on top of important deadlines - basically they help you get it all done. I’ve tried a couple of different apps but I’m back to a weekly paper planner. I find that breaking down complex tasks and advance planning for meetings makes me proactive instead of reactive.
And, on the days where there is still alot left to-do, but you’ve already crossed off a bunch of items, you visually see the progress and find greater inspiration. With so many activities planned this summer, micro-managing every day will become more important than ever.
Enjoy the Summer
While it’s going to be a challenge to simultaneously manage kids’ activities with my growing business, I’m up for the challenge. In few short years, my children will be off to college, so I want to really enjoy this time without stress. Planning and flexibility will help make our summer break fun and productive. And, when it's the kids time for fun activities, I plan to be present and enjoying the time. That means put the phone away till later.
I hope you enjoy your summer too!!
Diana is a content marketing strategist and virtual marketing director specialized in financial services. She has 20 years of marketing expertise, including campaigns for top brands such as Johnson’s Baby and Band-Aid.