Working Holiday?

I’m not going to lie these last 4 weeks have been tough (has it ONLY really been 4 weeks?) and I’ve still got 3 more to go – YIKES! That is, 3 weeks until it’s time to go back to school – YAY! Although, I should say “go to school” as there is no back for my little one, this is her first year – YIKES AGAIN! I can’t believe my baby is heading off to school for the first time in September, it really is true what they say, it only seems like 5 minutes ago since she was so tiny wrapped up in my arms… sigh.

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But she is ready, she NEEDS to go to school. Hell, I need her to go to school too. I can no longer keep her little mind busy, or wear her out enough by the end of the day to allow her a restful and easy sleep. Well, that’s not true – I can do those things, but I can’t when I am also trying to run my business.

This summer holiday has been tricky, I always find it hard to get the balance right (I really hope she doesn’t noticed) It is so difficult as a parent who set up their own business to stay at home to be with the children, but then work takes off and it is no longer a case of working a few hours here and there around other commitments, it is more than a full time job. So the question really is:

How do we keep both our kids and clients happy?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say there is no right or wrong, just what works for you. Please do correct me if you KNOW the right way – I am all ears. But before the holidays started I decided there would be a few ground rules I put in place to help keep my daughter happy and keep my sanity, unlike the Easter Holidays previously.

Working Holiday Rules

1. Don’t take on ANY new clients. Controversial, I know. What kind of fool turns down work? Although, I must admit I am breaking this rule slightly as I have taken on 1 or 2 new web design projects but this is way less than I would normally do. Plus, I have an existing eCommerce project which has been delayed until September – so really I’m just filling a gap – right?

By easing up my new workload, I have been able to ensure all my existing clients are still receiving a good solid service whether for regular SEO updates or little refresher redesigns. The benefit of this has been all my existing clients know and understand my family commitments and are happy with how I need to work during the holidays.

2. Some days don’t do any work & DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. It’s the summer holidays, my kid needs to have fun. I don’t want her earliest memories being stuck inside the house all day everyday while mummy sits at her desk. So, yes while some days I do pretty much sit here all day typing, coding and drawing, other days I do nothing at all and I am totally fine with that.

3.Work when my child is busy. Although R doesn’t often get totally absorbed in games and toys by herself, it is happening more and more. When these rare moments occur I basically run to my laptop and start typing as quickly as possible before my time runs out!

4.Talking of time, If I absolutely need to get something done, but she isn’t playing ball and NEEDS me to play dollies, or playdough or balance on my head while dressed up as a ballerina, I set a timer on my phone. When the buzzer goes off I am all hers to do with as she wishes, and then when it rings again I go back to work.

This is good for us in two ways: firstly, it makes sure I step away from my screen to be with her 100%. Secondly, it helps her to understand that she needs to learn be patient and sometimes other things need to take priority – dollies aren’t the be all and end all.

5. If I’m on the phone with a client – just nod yes! My child may only be 4 but she is no fool. She basically waits until I am on a phone call to ask for a second yogurt bar or more biscuits. If I try to resist she kicks up a fuss and I have to end the call (not the most professional, thankfully I pick the best clients!) Therefore I have learnt to smile and say yes to practically anything – she has yet to learn that this WILL result in extra broccoli at tea time *feel free to insert your own evil laugh.

That is basically, how I am managing to cope with being self-employed and a mama over the summer holidays – I’ve got to be honest some days it works better than others – but we are bobbing through. Although this week I have had to work a fair amount as I have made some big changes so to make up for it we are now off to the cinema!! Yay – popcorn time!

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If you are self-employed and work from home with kids, how are you managing the working holiday? Do you have any other tricks and rules I could benefit from?

I do still have 3 WEEKS TO GO!!!

Jo