[More than] Surviving the School Holidays
The start of the school holidays can bring about mixed emotions for mothers…on the one hand we get to spend more time with our children and the days don’t have to feel so dictated by the school runs, on the other hand working mums or mums who run their own business, might not have the luxury of being able to take all of the school holidays off and this can make school holidays feel like there is even more to juggle than usual!
If you are a business Mum, and you still need to continue working with your clients and keeping your eye on your business during the school holidays, here’s my Top Tip for “more than” surviving the school holidays. I say “more than” surviving, because nobody should aspire to simply “surviving” in their life! If you’re a mother and you’ve started your own business, the chances are you decided to create your own business so that you could have more flexibility and choices to make sure their was a good fit between the work you love doing AND when and how you spend your time with the ones you love, right?
Balance, flexibility and choices are some of my favourite words when it comes to being a Mum in Business. So my Top Tip for any school holiday incorporates all of these:
Put you own needs alongside those of your childrens’
We all need to recharge our batteries, and if you’re running your own business, the chances are you are already working hard on your business (let alone all of the other responsibilities and commitments we have as mothers) during the term times, making the most of the time that you child (children) are at school. So it’s only logical that the school holidays represent just as much of a needed break for you as they do your children.
Of course, we want to make the school holidays full of special, relaxing times for our children, but as loving mothers, it is very easy for us to forget ourselves and our own vital needs in the equation. So let go of any guilt about putting your own needs alongside equal importance of those of your children. I like to replace the word ‘selfish’ with ‘self-ful’.
You’ve possibly already heard the comparison with the flight safety instructions; “put your own oxygen mask on, before attending to those of your children”. Why? Because if you are not in a good, strong, resourceful position where your own essential needs are taken care of, you will not have the strength, energy or capacity to be there for your children in the way that they need you.
I’m not talking about disappearing on a week long retreat and leaving your children to fend for themselves, but I am talking about being mindful of your own needs and finding simple, sometimes creative ways, of building some ‘YOU’ time in to each day of the school holidays, to give you a little something of what you need as a Woman, friend, daughter, lover, and of course mother, which will help to recharge your batteries, and help to recharge your physical, emotional and mental batteries.
We all have different needs, but here are a few examples simply from my own experience and what I often come across in my work with business Mums:
***If you’re tired explore ways to get that extra hour’s sleep you need. It’s ok to take time out of your schedule to sleep when your children sleep, or to take a power nap while they play with a partner or perhaps amongst siblings. It’s Ok to have a lay in, even if you have forgotten how to sleep that late, sometimes just to give yourself permission to lay in bed an extra 30 minutes with a book can feel so relaxing.
***If you’ve missed having grown-up time with friends and letting your hair down, think about how friends/family/babysitters can help look after the children for a few hours.
***If you’re in a romantic relationship, make some special time for you and your loved one. It doesn’t have to be a full day or night away from your children, perhaps a hand-in-hand stroll in the sunshine, or cook a special candlelit meal at home to eat together once the children are in bed.
***If you have a passion, interest or hobby you don’t always seem to be able to enjoy as much as you would like, the school holidays can be a great time to reconnect with something you enjoy and which lifts your soul, and if you can do it with your children too then it’s a double winner!
***If you’ve come up with this super-charged holiday schedule, with lost of ‘fun for kids’, catching up with this and that, and staying on top of everything else. Ask yourself ‘honestly’, how realistic is it and do you really need to be doing all of this in the school holidays? Where is YOUR relaxation and fun in the mix?
***If you’re not in a position in your business to ‘close shop’ during the school holidays, but you can slow down the pace, look for ways you can organise your schedule so that you can bring things down to ensure you are covering ‘the bare essentials’, and allow yourself to get comfortable with taking your foot of the gas. You’ll find you’re a lot more creative and energised, and will achieve far more, once you’ve had this much needed break from your business.
***If you’re in a phase of your business where it’s important for you to maintain momentum, it’s important for you to choose a work schedule over the school holidays which works for you, your business goals and your family. You, your business and your professionl/personal situation are unique, and there is no right or wrong here. Perhaps your children are older and you are able to find a good balance in your schedule without any additional childcare support, perhaps you’ve organised childcare with family or professional (e.g. summer camp, aupair, childminder, etc.). Again, every situation is unique, there is no right or wrong answer, but once you’ve made the choice about how much time you want to spend on your business during the school holiday, and that choice is right for you, your business and your family then get comfortable with those choices in your head and your heart; let go of any guilt, don’t start ‘beating yourself up’ and perhaps comparing yourself to what other mothers and families are doing. Enjoy your business when you’re working on your business and enjoy your quality family time when you’ve done your business time.
Finding balance between your needs and your childrens’ needs in this way has so many benefits: you’ll ensure that you are able to recharge your own batteries which is essential for your own health and well-being, you’ll be the best version of yourself for your children, you’ll be a positive role model to your children teaching them that it is important to respect and look after yourself as much as others, and you and your family will all be able to enjoy the school holidays (and life) to the full.
I feel very strongly about Mums looking after and loving, and caring for themselves as much as we all do for our children! And I’ll give you a personal example, I’m somebody who needs regular, quality sleep and the school holidays give me a chance to recharge my batteries. The children enjoy the slow pace on the mornings I choose to lay in and we all wake up to a relaxing family brunch. It helps us all to be energised for the rest of the day and for the days where we all choose to do something more ‘full-on’.
Last night I also asked my daughter, who is now 17 to cook supper for the youngest and to babysit so that I could go to a party and meet up with old school friends I hadn’t seen since I was 16 (it was a house warming party but turned out to be quite a school reunion, it was wonderful)! Now I know not everyone has older siblings to help out like that, but I absolutely would have hired a babysitter or asked family, because even at the age of 41 this girly night out was very important to me.
It’s so easy to fall in to that trap of thinking that a good mum is one that ALWAYS put her childrens’ needs first and her own needs last, but this is a long-term formula for unhappy, burned out mums and unbalanced children…so come on mums, let’s follow this Top Tip and ‘thrive’ rather than merely ‘survive’ during the school holidays!
Happy Holidays CEO Mums <3
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