• Rachel Smith

Being a working mum during school holidays….

As I sit here, I’m half way through half term which I have off with the kids. It’s interesting using the term “have off” to be honest as I’ve definitely learnt over the past few years that although I love having the kids at home, being at work is far easier!

For those of you who follow my page @thrivingworkingmums on Facebook, you will know I work both in the corporate world and run my business supporting other working mums to thrive in a career whilst also appreciating they want to be a mum too. Therefore having time “off” just doesn’t really happen!

So, this holiday I have annual leave from my corporate job, the weather is naff here in England and my hubby isn’t off work with us which means we’re mainly at home. Therefore, entertaining the kids needs some thought and imagination! The ideas I have an abundance of by now……. Whether my kids want to entertain them is another matter completely!

But I thought I would share with you some of the wins and learnings I have experienced over the past few years when it comes to working whilst the kids are on school holidays. It’s a subject that comes up in conversation on lots of mummy groups on Facebook and something I know many mums find tough, especially those running their own businesses and those who do not have enough annual leave to cover the copious amounts of holidays the kids get.

I’m trying a new method this holiday which has probably been my most successful so far. Each morning we get up around 7am and the kids have breakfast and watch trashy morning TV for a while. I go straight onto my laptop and focus for about an hour on what I have planned to do for the day. Yes, I get interrupted for snacks, drinks and to be referee at times but on the whole, this is a good time when the kids are still in waking up mode and I can crack on. Once I am done, I then feel a sense of achievement and can enjoy whatever I have planned with the kids. In the past I have not done this and I can feel myself thinking over and over throughout the day what I need to do. I see it as my morning work HIIT session (just without burning the calories!).

The kids then get my full attention for the day in whatever we are doing. I can see they are enjoying their quality time with mum and I am certainly enjoying it with them. I am then putting them to bed at pretty much the same time as they would go to bed on a school night. By this time, they are ready for bed anyway and they are happy to go and re charge their batteries ready for another day of fun tomorrow. This means I am still getting a full evening which allows another couple of hours of working time. Yes, I do have to work more evenings during these weeks, but I’m ok with that as I am still having a great time with the kids and I’m not having to pay to put the kids into holiday clubs or nursery at their extortionate prices!

This all sounds great and it really is this school holiday, but I haven’t always had such success. One holiday last year I decided to just stop working completely. I decided enjoying my time off with the kids meant no working at all. I hardly switched on my phone or laptop and I fully immersed myself into having a great time on holiday. The holiday was great, but boy did I pay for it after. For two weeks I didn’t get involved in anything work related. On returning to work I was absolutely snowed under with emails to reply to, messages that needed a response, voicemails that needed a call back. It took me a few days to get back into the swing of things and I regretted not at least keeping on top of some of the basics. My business during those two weeks went backwards and I had to work so hard to get it back on track. I honestly think after two weeks off it was another two weeks until I was back to where I was before I went on my holiday. Some businesses would fold being pretty much “closed” for a month.

I learnt from this that school holidays needed better planning to ensure I kept moving forward during these weeks, but they needed to be balanced with spending quality time with the kids.

What’s your work ethos throughout the school holidays?

Have you got any wins you could share with other mums?

I’d love to hear them over on my Facebook page @thrivingworkingmums.

Be a proud Mama

Love Rach x

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