Tips for the single working parent in the holidays
HOW TO KEEP KIDS OCCUPIED WHILE WORKING AND SINGLE PARENTING WHEN SCHOOL IS ON BREAK
Whether you are a working, needing to get a grocery shop done without little rascals at your feet, having to get some last-minute Christmas shopping or whether you need a moment for silence, getting through the school holidays can be a tough request. Rachael Scharrer, single mother, business owner, Life Change Counsellor and divorce expert, shares her tips for surviving 6-8 weeks with primary school aged children under foot!
“During the holidays I feel like I am wearing my ‘hats’ badly – I feel as though I am not being an attentive parent, I can’t invest the time that I want into my business and the house is perpetually a mess,” says Rachael Scharrer. “Some days, I don’t even get a chance to check my emails. Other days the kids spend the entire day on the ipads and TV, which is terrible! The washing seems endless and I start to wish that the children were back at school.”
Suggestions for keeping the children busy in the holidays and get what you need done include:
- Local councils have subsidised events for 90mins-all day which are free to incredibly affordable
- Taking it in turns to exchange playdates – ask a friend to have your children for half a day or a full day and you, in turn, have your friend’s children a couple of days later. With this option, having the children together for two full days (and regularly exchanging) may result in the children becoming tired of each other and squabbling
- Take your computer to the park and let the children play. Grab a picnic table, have some snacks and get some work completed while the children burn some energy. Remember to charge your computer before leaving for the park! Alternatives to the park are indoor play/climbing/jumping centres or the movies.
- Get up at 4am and invest a solid 2+ hours into your business. At least you will have got something done. If you need a nap for an hour, then the kids will be happy to accommodate.
- Get into the rhythm of ‘spurts’. Spurts is about finding high energy activities that you participate in with the children and then take an hour or two to have low energy/rest activities where you get a little work done. This way the kids can’t say to you ‘you never do anything with me’.
- Share the cleaning of the household. My two kids love cleaning the bathroom – lucky we have two. I divide the household chores and we all get in and clean at the same time. With many hands, the work is done quickly. Everyone feels good when they have pitched in and are a little more house-proud. Remember, there are household chores that children of all ages can help with.
- Prepare ahead. With my blog posts and articles, I try to pre-create and pre-load them on to my website so that I can focus on the other parts of the business. I schedule my consultations and Strategy Sessions during the quieter spurts of the day.
- Ask your employer for flexi-time where you plan to get your role or designated hours completed from home over the entire day. This way, you can respond to internal work calls and emails while with the children and manage to fit in your working day.
- If your children spend time with their other parent, spend that time working hard and getting ahead so that you can afford to be more present when the children are with you.
While there isn’t an easy solution to working and juggling family, social time and home, it’s a matter of just trying to get through and make it work. The saying “you can be a great mother and a great business woman” just isn’t true. It’s not possible to be both at the same time, especially when you compare your ‘good parenting’ to the ever available and ever ready mothers from one or two generations ago. Try to be kind to yourself and try, try, try. If you don’t succeed reaching your goals on one day, try again the next day.