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How to survive being a working parent

It’s the last day of school holidays – a joyous day for many a working parent!

Working parentThis week I’ve been racing around buying, covering and labeling school books and supplies (not 1, not 2, but 3, yes 3, trips to Officeworks!), buying new school shoes and hats, and making sure the uniforms still fit and are clean. Back to school on Monday will be great for getting back into a routine, but it will be a little sad too because we’ve had great fun doing things we don’t normally do, and staying up late!

 

Being a working parent running my own business means that I still need to work during the school holidays, so my boys have been attending Vacation Care for most of the holidays. My husband has been working away this week so our routine has been a little different. Not only have I been busy working and getting ready for school, we’re had a few appointments for my special needs child which has thrown out our routine even further. But rather than let it throw our household into a tizz, we’ve embraced it and it’s been really nice hanging out with the boys and doing different things with them. We’ve even started a new tradition – family games night. Which this week has turned into 3 nights in a row – who knows what tonight will bring!

 

How to rock this working parent gig:

 

  1. Your children are only little once. You will never get that time back with them so spend as much quality time with them as you can.
  2. Schedule your time wisely – split it between being a parent, a business owner, and a person. Each are important. Focus on your priorities for today, and tomorrow is a new day.
  3. Communication is key! With a child who doesn’t cope well when the routine changes, we have to be very aware of how we’re communicating with him to ensure a smooth family life. Same with your clients – if you’re taking some time out of your business, communicate with your clients about their expectations and your availability.
  4. Try to have set working hours. This means that your clients and your family know when you’re available. My day generally starts at 4am when I get a couple of hours work in before the boys get up. Then it’s the morning routine before school, back to work, and before you know it, it’s time for afternoon pick up. Those early hours are essential to ensuring that I can get through what I need to do before school pick up in the afternoon.
  5. Don’t feel guilty about before or after school care. I’d love to be a mum whose kids come home to freshly baked cookies and an afternoon schedule of craft activities, but it’s just not going to happen! There are certain times when I’m more busy (BAS and EOFY) and no matter how early I get up, there just aren’t enough working hours in the day. These are the times I utilise before and after school care. My kids still know I love them, and I don’t have the added stress of being pulled in too many directions at once, and can focus on what I need to do.
  6. As a working parent there is a lot to keep on top of. It doesn’t matter if the washing isn’t folded, the dishes are left in the sink overnight, or you have takeaway for dinner occasionally. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the ‘perfect’ working parent (whatever that is!) – your kids already think you’re perfect, and I’m sure your clients think you’re pretty great too.

 

Try to remember the reason why you went into business in the first place. Your WHY may have changed if you’ve since had a family. My WHY is so that I can run a business around my family and this is exactly what I’m doing. And there will be times when one or the other needs to take priority, so I remember this:

 

As long as I know what needs to be done and I have the tools in place to get it done, I can be a highly successful working parent – and so can you!

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