As of this afternoon I have six (and a half, that half is very important!) weeks stretching ahead of me with my two little darlings! Normally they are in childcare 9-3 ish five days a week so I can work. I work from home mostly, with a day or sometimes two spent at a clients but that doesn’t mean I can actually work at home when my kids are around.
Firstly its not really fair on them to be focusing all my attention on work, and secondly because I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on what i’m working on for long because someone would need a snack, or to ask me to help them with a craft project or to break up a fight over what to watch on TV. That said unfortunately it is a necessity to sometimes do an hour here or there on the days when I will have them at home.
Here’s how I plan to survive as a freelancer during the summer holidays
Plan, plan and then plan some more.
I have printed out three calendars, July, August & September (just from word, one month to a page) with plenty of writing space. I popped in pre planned days out, weekends away, client meetings and days when I have child care sorted. Then you can see where the gaps are and fill them!
I wouldn’t survive intact with NO childcare at all, but I can’t afford (nor do I want) to use five day a week childcare. My solution is: 2 full days a week with the childminder on weeks when she has availability for both kids. I am also looking after a friends kid on Wednesdays along with my two. My rational for this is that it helps them out but also means my two kids can play in their garden with her; they will all be happy and entertained and I can crack on with some work. If it fails i’ll take them on days out instead – so my kids will still be happy even if I get no work done in the day. My mum has also said she can look after them once a week for a few hours so that I can nip out to a coffee shop to work or similar.
To get the kids on board with the ‘mummy sometimes has to work when you’re at home’ thing we have together discussed a selection of places and things they would like to do, and have scheduled in one a week for definite (it’s on the planner so it must happen!) and other fun things are a bonus. I appreciate this sounds mean but as they will at the child minder two days, with a friend and I one day there are only actually two week days left to fill (as weekends will be spent as a family as Sam is off work then) so one day doing a trip or something fun and the other at home. I’ve also got them to put together a list of films they want to watch so that on the ‘spare’ day I can bribe them with a film and popcorn or some baking and I can get a little more work done.
I am not against rewarding kids for good behaviour and doing things that I want/need them to do. We’ve reinstated reward charts for the holidays, and it includes things like ‘mummy not asking more than twice’ and ‘keeping the play room and living room tidy’ – so hopefully they’ll want their magazine or sweets or whatever they choose as their reward and will help around the house a bit more: keeping me slightly more sane!
So, that’s how I plan on surviving as a freelancer with two young kids at home in the holidays. If you’re in the same boat then good luck!