A lifetime ago (just over 9 years) I held my newborn firstborn in my arms at my “back to work” interview and told my manager that I wanted to put my notice in. It wasn’t planned, or terribly well thought-out however it just felt right. I left the interview feeling lighter than I had for weeks and went to see Roy at his work to tell him what had happened. He was overjoyed as he loved the idea of me being at home with K however hadn’t said as much because he knew how important my career was to me and didn’t want to colour my decision.
Fast forward to 2016 and I’ve been self employed pretty much since, full-time for the past 6+ years as a freelance copywriter.
I love my work, I really do but above all I appreciate the flexibility being my own boss offers me as a Mum. It’s this flexibility that I’m writing about today, and how it enables me to continue working while being on hand for the boys and enjoying days out and more.
This long Easter/end of term break (18 days door to door) has been my testing ground to see whether or not I’ll be able to continue working over the long summer holiday without using childcare, which I always have in the past, even if only for a few days a week. Kieran is nearly ten so doesn’t need to be in childcare (and has outgrown the local holiday play scheme) and Taylor would prefer to be at home at the same time.
It has been a juggle however I’m pretty sure I’ve got my holiday working routine down to a fine art, from how to manage a working day and be “Mum”, to fitting in important appointments such as finding and booking in with a local orthodontist (see here), the optician and of course the back to school hair cuts as well as swimming, days out and everything else while still clocking enough client hours.
The Work From Home Holiday Plan
The Night Before (usually 7pm after the boys have gone up / to bed)
Check my emails and update my bullet journal with everything I need to do the following day.
Make any packed lunches, sort out any clothes and do any chores that I would usually leave until the morning.
Enjoy a leisurely evening (unless of course I have time scheduled in to finish work, however if I do I limit this to 1hr max) as I need my “me” time and my time with Roy.
First thing during the holidays really is first thing. I’m up, have coffee and am at the PC for 4am. This is not something that works for everyone but I am much better in the morning than I am in the evening and enjoy the quiet, uninterrupted time.
From 4am-8am I write, and I do mean write. I don’t write social media posts. I don’t email people. I write. These four hours are the only guaranteed quiet hours I have during the holidays. It doesn’t sound like much but a minimum of four hours five days a week is a minimum of twenty hardcore writing time hours. It’s amazing how much you can get done under these early morning working conditions!
I am Mum now. I play, I referee, we go out for day trips, walks, to the park, we bake, draw and generally have fun. Being one of those mean mothers I limit digital time and scheduling what they do have is working to my advantage. If we are in the house in the afternoon I let the boys have an hour of digital time. This is quiet time. This is when I send more emails, check messages, make notes, sort my social media accounts out and what not.
If we are out all day and so the boys don’t have their digital time and I don’t get that extra hour I tend to take this now (7pm-8pm), prep for the next day and I’m done. Again, it is rare that I work during the evening as by this point my brain isn’t in writing mode and besides, a little self care is required after a 4am start.
That’s it. This is my “working really well and being pretty flexible” holiday working routine. Could I work like this full time? No, although elements of it are incorporated in my usual working pattern, such as prepping the night before.
Is it Working?
So far, so good! This works for us and so will be what we do for the rest of the hols and over the summer.
If you work from home over the holidays how do you manage the juggle? I’d love to hear!