HOW TO SURVIVE SPRING BREAK: PARENT’S EDITION
Thanks for stopping by.
Alright, alright. I’m joking. In reality, I’m blogging from a popular bounce house fun zone in our city because, well, it’s Spring Break for our girls, they have free wifi and my kids are confined to a relatively small area where I can find them at a glance. That’s a win-win in my book.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I find so much comfort in my work-from-home normal day-to-day (which involves kids being at school, btw) that Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break, Summer Break give me such anxiety. (okay, seriously… listing these out makes me realize how much they aren’t in school!) Legit anxiety though. Summer break being the longest, I typically put them in camps or with a sitter and pay enormous amounts of money since I can’t just hibernate from work for 2 1/2 months. Those smaller breaks are tough though – a week when there aren’t any sports or school camps and it is usually much harder to find a teenager to sit for your kids during these shorter breaks too.
So here I am. I’m figuring out, once again, how to stay up on my workload and not get incredibly behind from this week. I’ve got your survival guide of my Top 5 work-with-your-kids-at-home hacks. Disclaimer: This is about surviving, not thriving. Let’s be real.
SURVIVAL TIP #1: PLAN YOUR WORK WEEK AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.
Do you typically meet with clients in person? Do you have phone calls to make? Are there weekly deadlines? You have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done on the daily. For example, if you have in-person meetings then either load your calendar the week before or the week after so that you can avoid the juggling act – and inevitable surprises – of having to rush to and from meetings and coordinate all sorts of childcare. If unavoidable, pile your meetings back to back on a single day. This will keep your sitter expenses down and give you an ultra-productive day (since the remaining four days are going to feel like a trip to Ikea on a Saturday- completely overwhelming). As for your phone calls, again, try to load those onto the same day back-to-back… or see #4 below.
SURVIVAL TIP #2: CARVE OUT YOUR 30 TO 60 MINUTES FOR YOURSELF EVERY DAY.
How do you normally relieve stress? Is it a run through the neighborhood with gangster rap blaring through your earbuds? Is it lifting weights at the gym, or taking a gym class? Is it meditation? This is NOT the week to push that aside. No, this is the week to go all five days! Be prepared to bring those munchkins along to the gym childcare, push them in a stroller on your jog, or rearrange the time you go. Talk with your spouse, your sister, your neighbor… who can watch the kids while you get in some time for yourself? For me, it’s waking up and going to the uber-early morning class since I know I’ll be home by the time my husband needs to leave for work.
SURVIVAL TIP #3: BRIBE AWAY, SISTER.
You can totally disagree with me on this one. I’m just sharing what works for me. I love to bribe our kids on these breaks. I like to set the expectation that if they do exactly as they’re told for the entire day, we’ll do something fun together that afternoon. After all, it is a week off of school and time flies once your kids are in school (It really does, you wouldn’t believe how much faster a years seems to go by once your kiddos are in school. It’s unreal.) So, I truly enjoy getting to go have five days of fun IF they earn it. Our girls have fun thinking of what they want to do (the trampoline or bounce house places, crafting studios, bowling, movie theatre, etc.) We come up with five places and then the ball is in their court from there. Don’t let this cause you stress though. If finances are tight, you can do this for free or very little money. Consider having just one big outing at the end of the week that they have to work toward. Another option is to go for what’s free: bike rides, picnic at the park, scavenger hunt, playing games outside (dodgeball, anyone?). At the end of the day, if they’re on board with letting you get your work done so they can have fun with you later… it’s a win-win, isn’t it?
SURVIVAL TIP #4: FIND A HIDING SPOT. PLAY A GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK AND JUST DON’T TELL ANYONE.
I enjoy this one. Sometimes you’re typing away on your emails and getting into a really productive mode, and other times your kids can’t even be in the same room without tackling each other or intentionally irritating the other. Clearly, your productivity plummets if you have to referee every third minute. Trust me, I get it. So when I tell you that I’ve had to make phone calls in my garage, or from my broom closet, or that I just step into the shower and hide behind the shower curtain… I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been all of those places. The best part is that I know other women have done this too. We’ve exchanged stories on having to pull the car over to the side of the road, get out of the car and answer a business call in a super calm voice without letting the caller know that we have a three year old screaming their head off on the other side of the car window. I can’t even make this stuff up. Ask a mom. She’ll tell you her story. So that’s your job this week, mama. Find a fantastic hiding spot and give yourself five minutes to reset.
SURVIVAL TIP #5: SHIFT YOUR HOURS OR SHIFT YOUR EXPECTATION.
Alright, can we be real? When you have school-age children, you are not going to get as much done in the same amount of time during a school break. There’s no nap time. There’s no play pen. The little minions are going to bounce in your office far more than we might think and we shouldn’t be surprised by it honestly. You’ve heard me talk about it before… approach each day with intention, but have the grace to accept that life unfolds unexpectedly and we have to be ready to roll with it. It’s okay. Do your best. Set realistic expectations. For me, I often get up early and work while they’re asleep and plan to finish my work after they go to bed at night. I know that my day is not going to be as productive as it is normally. It’s just a reality for this type of week. Remember, our reactions and our decisions are a result of our mindset. Know ahead of time and do your best to plan for it. But have fun along the way. These kids are only little once. We’ll miss their chaos in the background someday. Laugh at their free spirits and abounding energy, jump in on the fun and make a few memories along the way.