Summer is here and I’m completely unprepared for working at home with kids. Yep, as much as I love a good plan I am totally winging it this year. Now, that’s not to say I have nothing going on for the kids. They start swim team in the evenings next month, we’re taking a nice week-long vacation in July, and they are signed up for one week of half-day VBS the week before school starts back.
But as a work-at-home mom I am used to having so much more in place by now. The last day of school was Friday and because of the holiday weekend, it hasn’t really set in that summer really is here until this moment. Or rather, the moment I had to stop and deal with a distraught child right in the middle of an email I was working on.
Mom life, y’all.
This week I am going to try and add 2 different weeks of camp and Oscar helped me work up a daily schedule so they aren’t on screens 100% of the time. But you can keep your 2 hours, because that ain’t happening either.
The funny thing is, I’m not panicking at all. The boys are at an age where they are really independent and I don’t HAVE to do things with and for them all the time. I like having them around and for the most part, they are content to be here with their stuff (and each other some of the time). We’re gonna make it work.
I do have a few tricks to keep the peace though so I thought I would share. Nothing groundbreaking here but if you’re like me and and the sound of the same questions over and over again turns your insides to molten hot lava, read on.
Working at Home with Kids Tip 1: Here’s Your Sign
My kids can read now and it’s b-e-a-utiful thing. For some reason, the written word holds more meaning than the sound of my voice so I write things down. All the things. And they are posted everywhere. Questions are enemy #1 when working at home with kids so my goal is to minimize the questions or at the very least, my need to answer them.
What’s for dinner? Look at the menu board.
What can I do? Look at the schedule. Side note, I mentioned to Oscar that I would be making some kind of schedule and he asked if he could help. He came back with this and I’m going with it!
Can I come in (it’s 6am)? Look at the flow-chart. *OK technically my husband made this one, but it’s been on our bedroom door for at least 2 years and we reference it almost daily.
Working at Home with Kids Tip 2: Don’t Negotiate with Terrorists or Children
My kids are very clever. My oldest especially has found a way to ask the EXACT same question in 46 different ways so technically, mom it’s not really the same question. *brain explodes*
I read an article a couple years ago that suggested the phrase “asked and answered” each time the same question is proposed. As much as you don’t like hearing that question again, they don’t like hearing that answer. It’s not trying to beat them at their own game. It’s simply a tool to remind them that your answers are real and binding. And they aren’t changing any time soon.
Further, I’ve decided to answer questions the first time I hear them. Moms, we are bad at this. We say, let me talk to dad or maybe or “we’ll see” in order to prolong the decision process. But this backfires so quickly, ya’ll. Because you have given your tiny tyrant hope and added about 300 questions to your day.
Question>Decide and Answer>End of Story
Same Question> “Asked and Answered” > Repeat as necessary
Working at Home with Kids Tip 3: Take some Play Breaks
I’ll be honest that this one is hard for me. When I get in the zone I want to keep working and play breaks really aren’t high on my list of to-dos. But it’s summer and I work from home for a reason. I’m lucky that my kids still want to spend some of their time with me and I want to take advantage of that.
So a couple times a day I’m going to take some time with them to hang out, work on a puzzle, do bubbles outside or whatever else we come up with. This is a win all around because they need my attention and I really need to take more breaks.
When you are working at home with kids around there really isn’t going to be a set stop or start to anything. The line between business and family is never straight and the name of the game is flexibility. The sooner we working moms can adapt to that, the better summer will be for everyone. Also? Use paper plates.
Want more tips? Read How to Work from Home and Keep Your Sanity this Summer.
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