Let’s just put it straight out there: if you’re a working mom at home, school holidays are your worst nightmare. Not because you can’t get any work done. Not because you feel guilty every time your kids want to spend time with you and you have to work instead. Not because you’re constantly distracted and the idea of playing in the pool instead of working sounds like heaven. Not because you feel like your brain is being pulled in 4 directions at once. Not because the days go by in a flash and then you feel like you’ve had 14 days in one. Not because you have moments when you want to run away or throw a child in the bin. Not because it’s over too soon and you forgot to have fun. It’s because of ALL of these things at once.
I recently babysat my brother’s kids for a week and agreed to this BEFORE I found out that they were on school holidays. It was too late to turn back and run for the hills. I’ve got this’, I said, ‘I’ve got this’.
And I did. I can’t say it was the easiest week of my life, but I GOT IT (perhaps the snap below doesn’t prove this point, but hear me out).
If you followed my “social experiment” of this week on Snapchat (find me as popcorncandi_za), you will have all the inside info, but for those who didn’t come along for the live ride, here’s the post-mortem of what I learnt from this process:
- Bribery is EVERYTHING. When kids have some sort of goal and there are sweets involved, everything changes for the better.
- The only way that you get to do everything that you need to do in a day is by planning. And then very quickly re-planning when the first plan is derailed (you’re more likely going to be operating in Plan B mode more than Plan A mode)
- You won’t get any work done. Even if they’re occupying themselves at home, there is no silence and you’re still distracted by keeping an eye on them. They’re sneaky little buggers and before you know it, it’s been quiet for too long and they’re syphoning all the chocolate out of the kitchen while you’re busy drafting invoices. The only time for concentrated “real” work is in the evening.
- No matter how hard to try to juggle all of the balls, you’ll still feel like you lost one along the way, or managed to lose one, even if you didn’t. (As long as you didn’t lose a child, I guess this is okay).
- Play dates save lives and businesses. If the play date is at a friend’s house. You’ll have to reciprocate at some point, though, and have a house full of screaming kids to look after in return. It’s worth it for that ONE day of actual work.
- These little humans rely on us and look up to us so much. It’s not fair to shun them in the name of “I need to work”. Giving them focused attention, even in small amounts, helps to ease the “work guilt”.
Their time to grow up is so short, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a big part of their lives (as much as I may or may not have wanted to strangle one or two of them at some point). I guess it’s all part of the adventure 😉