Working and the School Holidays

Housewife Confidential-2

Is it possible to find a balance between work and caring for your children during the holidays?

Up until last year my work fit in well with the children. There was the odd morning of writing while they played but on the whole my schedule could flex around them.

Last year of course I jumped in at the deep end by founding and launching a company over the summer. It was an incredibly difficult time to launch a new venture and if it weren’t for amazing friends and our home-working set up it would have been a mountain to climb. Not to mention being incredibly boring for the children.

Housewife Confidential

We have done a few more holidays since then and with no childcare options viable for us we are learning the balance. I admire the stoic acceptance of my need to work and the wonderful way they entertain themselves throughout the day. I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t come with a sinking feeling of guilt though.

There are so many moments that I wish I could be heading out for the day every day especially when the progress I’m making with my work day to day is  s l o w. I may be ‘working’ but without uninterrupted head time, my productivity is way down and let’s not mention my inbox.

Despite my deep feelings of guilt we have built a happy rhythm since last year which keeps me from the depths of despair.

In stark contrast to last year; the children now play quite contentedly for hours. Their imagination for play, creation and exploration leads them into shared and individual games which have them absorbed completely.

We also plan small trips out each day. Sometimes we may only make it as far as the park but we get out and away from the computer. It’s clear from the attention they pay me and the pile of them frequently in my lap that they are craving more of my time.

As well as making space for daily adventures we are also investing quality time in our weekends. Last weekend we went to Winchester Science Festival (crazy awesome), this weekend we’re off to visit friends on the Isle of Wight and we also have Just So Festival booked in. I’m hoping there will be a trip to Giffords Circus, some camping and beach days to come.

Housewife Confidential-2

Is this a solution to the competing demands of work and the school holidays? Am I doing neither job well? I don’t know and only time will reveal the answer. I would love to know how you manage the juggle.

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9 Comments

  • Reply Steph July 30, 2014 at 7:05 am

    It’s a challenge isn’t it! My other half is a freelance writer so he’s at home with our boys while I’m in the office ( I work in Comms for the NHS). I’m lucky in that my boss is in the same situation as me as her husband is a freelance photographer and they too have two boys so we juggle holidays between us. I’ve just had a week’s leave and then will take a day off each week in August.

    I would love to take more. Our boys are growing so fast (10 & 7) so those single days will be really precious. I’m planning a couple of museum trips, den building in the woods, a canoe trip with friends hopefully too. My parents and mother in law are great and help us out and Woody does like you, breaks away from the computer to walk down to the river with them or a session on garden cricket.

    I love those pictures of your three having such fun. They’ll have great holiday memories to grow up with. Try not to feel too guilty ( hard, I do!) the holidays simply can’t be a halcyon stretch of endless entertainment but sounds like you have some wonderful highlights already in th memory bank for them. That’s what they’ll remember and they’ll respect how hard you work too, you’re a great example.

    Gosh -rambling as ever! Hope to see you at Just So! Steph x

    • Reply Kat August 1, 2014 at 12:22 am

      I definitely need to find a friend in the same boat to swap with as they get older.

      Absolutely see you at Just So – are you going with friends or do you want to camp in our gang?

  • Reply Bess July 30, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Gosh, you are doing well.I need to make more of an effort. So much guilt but it some ways it needs to be done. It’s not a 9-5 job where you know the salary will be there as long as you put in the required hours. I try to convince myself that it’s Quality over Quantity that’s needed with the kids
    Bess recently posted…KEEP UP YOUR A-GAME WHEN EVERYTHING ELSE TUMBLES DOWNMy Profile

    • Reply Kat August 1, 2014 at 12:24 am

      I totally agree, quality is the watch word. I can see you’re in the middle of starting up too, best of luck x

  • Reply Carie July 30, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I’ve not had to try yet but I’ll admit it’s the one thing that I just can’t figure out how I’m supposed to make work when Kitty starts school – I never thought I’d be thinking of the nursery years as the easy ones but the simple maths doesn’t balance – she will have more holidays than I have leave and goodness knows how it’s all going to work out!
    Carie recently posted…Kittyisms – July 2014My Profile

  • Reply Toria July 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I agree, it’s tough finding that balance. My work has pretty much taken a back seat until September, except for some projects I’d already agreed to, and I know that’s not the right way to run my business! On the other hand, my girls are 3 and almost 1 so I don’t want to miss this quality time with them. I figure it’ll get easier finding a balance as they get older. Or at least, I hope it will.

  • Reply Tin Box Traveller July 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    On the days I do work at home I really rely on nap times. My daughter is now 18 months old so I know I’m not going to have that two hour solid work slot for much longer. When nap time goes I’m going to have to seriously consider my options: add another day or half day at nursery or reduce my hours. Neither helps to bring in the pennies. You sound to be doing a great job!

  • Reply Jennifer July 30, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    I feel guilt every school break. Two months is a long time in the summer and we also get 2 weeks for Spring Break and at Christmas. I generally work 3 days, sometimes more, a week and while I’m at work my kids are with my parents. I am blessed with amazing parents who often take them for walks or to the park or occasionally to the beach for the day but there are other days where I come home to find them in front of the tv looking bored to death. On those days, I feel overcome with guilt but I must work. It’s hard even with the best of childcare. If you pictures could talk, your kids are doing superbly. They look healthy and full of joy so I think you are doing something very right. The last photo is precious! What beautiful souls!

  • Reply Becky August 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I get up at 530 in the holds so i can work really peaceably till they get up about 8…we do something every morning and then mid afternoon they watch a film or entertain themselves and I work for 2 hours then i do another hour or 2 when they are in bed. Its a juggle but i feel i get the best of both worlds. I also have a lot of playdates here in the how peeps return the favour!
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