Many of you will have just had half term with others in the midst of it this week, if you work from home this can be a really demanding time. With this in mind Joanne Dewberry, of Charlie Moo’s has written this brilliant post for us on juggling school holidays with running a business from home.
I work from home running my small business Charlie Moo’s (www.charliemoos.co.uk) and most recently JoanneDewberry.co.uk offering help and advice to small business owners. I some how managed to combine this with being a full time mummy to 3 small children – Charlie 4, Megan 3 and new baby Olive. I’m not a superwoman, I do sleep and occasionally I do hand my children over to the TV nanny in favour of sewing or writing. Does that make me a bad mummy?? No!!
Work life balance means something different to everyone. Everyone will have a different take on it and a different way that works for them. I am the mum at soft play with notebook in hand scribbling away, I do hang my washing out at 9 o’clock at night and I block book as many meetings as I can back to back when my children are at pre-school. I breastfeed and type with one finger, or conduct phone conversations. Yes I am a multitasking master.
If you are working mum too busy to read this whole post, Joanne has cleverly vlogged a version here. Shove it on whilst you’re baking some cakes or answering some emails!
But every so often this well oiled machine comes to a juddering holt. As a small business owner I am lucky to be flexible in my approach to working but that does not really allow me to just ‘have a week off’.
Here are a few tips that help me juggle 3 under 5′s and a business schedule during the holidays.
- Remind yourself why you run a business and juggle children … if I’m up late sewing or writing, I remind myself that I work for myself from home so that I can enjoy the time with my children as this time is precious and if a day at the beach means late night sewing so be it.
- Balance your activities i.e. I take the children to soft play, the beach or the park in the morning when we get home I set them up with an unsupervised activity while I write or sew. I find my children much more agreeable to give me 5 minutes peace and they understand mummy works so they can have days out. This is also a great way to teach your children skills such as compromise.
- On rainy days activites at the dinning table such as playdough, drawing can provide you with 30 minutes respite to work if need be … I sit down with my children and the laptop. That way I can still engage with them and help roll those playdough sausages!
- Baking – this is a great activity as you have the 20/30 minutes respite in between where they cakes are baking/cooling to answer any emails. Activities that have a measurable end goal make it easier for children to digest information – developing their understanding. When you work from home it can be harder for children to see working mummy and play mummy as two different people.
- Don’t try and take or make phone calls when the children are about. Mine talk to me constantly when I’m on the phone but ignore me when I’m not!! Plus I can guarentee one of them will need the toilet but instead of going as per usual they feel the need to announce this fact rather loudly.
- Have more than one child Obviously this is slightly tongue in cheek but if you do have multiple children they are always able to come up with activities to keep themselves amused. A pile of blankets, pegs, cardboard boxes and chairs are always a big hit at my house, providing hours of amusement.
- Your first child free day after the holiday DO NOT book in clients or meetings – have the day off to rest!!
If you’d like more advice on juggling children whilst running a business or starting your own business you can speak to Joanne via her Greatvine profile.
Dorset Business Mum of the Year 2010