July 18, 2017

The School Summer Holiday Juggle & How I Attempt To Maintain Some Balance

maintaining work family balance


Maintaining work family balance in the school holidays


Note the use of the word attempt in the title…because I truly believe in this and other similar situations, that attempting to maintain a balance is all you can do.

If you run your own small business or are a team of one and have a family life too, I don’t feel that the term work life balance can really apply. In fact I think the same goes if you don’t have a partner and/or kids.

I believe there’s no one set degree of balance we should be aiming for. We should be designing our own.

I love my family and I also happen to love what I do. Both are in my life and therefore both have become my life.

Sometimes one needs me more than the other, sometimes they both pull me in opposite directions at exactly the same time.

Sometimes one feeds and benefits the other in the most unexpected and satisfying of ways.

I blog about life and a lifestyle I aspire to. I also live life so its no surprise that family, love, values and relationships will all overlap into, and sometimes drive the direction of my work.


attempting to maintain a work life balance in the school holidays

hay espresso mug and mango suede clutch


I came across this quote on Damsel In Dior’s About page recently and having read it, pretty much banged my hand down on the desk uttering “Damn that woman is one smart cookie – she just verbalised what’s been in my head all along!”


“My work does not exist without
my life & my life is incomplete
without my work, so there is a
constant flow of energies
being put into both.”

I think that pretty much sums up what I’m waffling on about above!

I’m also fairly sure that one day, Jacey and I will become best friends, drink Margaritas and hang out with our dogs.

But that’s a whole other blog post…

Back to the practicalities of getting through six weeks of school holidays with your sanity and self-made career still in tact. Just.

In the end it comes down to my Three P’s Strategy…

Plan
Practical
Play

Read on to find out what that
looks like in real terms…


Plan Ahead

Any parent knows that finding good childcare in the six week summer holiday requires military planning skills and some serious determination.

If your kid has a favourite holiday day camp then you need to book well in advance. Try packing them off to somewhere they really don’t want to go and the Mum Guilt will hang over your head all the live long day!

I diarised in January to check out what our local resource would be offering this summer as the days get booked up pretty quickly. As luck didn’t have it, they seem to have reduced their offerings down to half days and H only found one particular activity afternoon that appealed.


morning coffee in bed with the laptop


So knowing that in the course of six weeks I had only one half day where I can be child free, I’ve called in Mr OS to take a day off here and there.

This way they get to spend valuable time together by themselves and I get to focus on work. Having him step in for a day once and a while gives me some breathing space too.

I fully admit that I don’t find spending six weeks trying to keep a constantly bored, pre-teen happy very easy! This does not make me a bad mother. It makes me an honest one.

I also plan in a couple of organisation days for new uniform and school shoe shopping etc too. Being an autumn fan, I LOVE that whole back to school, new notebook and pencils vibe and so relish these days.

I’m not sure H experiences quite the same level of enthusiasm as me…


Be Practical

This year I’ve inadvertently given myself a bit more of a challenge. Together with maintaining some form of regular blog content I need to finalise the details of the new look #TOSrefresh2017 for early September, keep a handle on the day to day admin and focus on some behind the scenes planning for the season ahead.

When fate conspires to put you in a situation where you physically cannot handle the work load, it has to come down to what can you drop. Seeing as dropping being a mum and the blog launch is not an option, content is the only candidate.


Avoiding the dreaded F word…

For the summer holiday I’m aiming to post once a week with the exception of when we’re on holiday in Cornwall and then I’m taking the week off.

Note use of the word aiming. I have my editorial calendar organised to work towards launch but fully appreciate that in order to avoid the dreaded F word, (no, not that one… although…), failure, I may need to be flexible.


yin and yang

monochrome flat lay with kinfolk magazine and laptop


Play

Scheduling in playtime may not seem all that spontaneous or fun and probably makes me sound like Monica from Friends. Which by the way I’m perfectly fine with.

By play I mean our days off. The ones where H and I get to do something together, either by ourselves or with friends.

I’ve learnt that if we don’t plan those days and what we’re actually going to do when they come around, then we just end up wasting them.


Last minute play dates
are like gold dust…

If our girl days are planned in I can work towards and look forward to them. If extra desk time is needed ahead of a day off then thats what early mornings or late nights are for.

The other play here refers to those off the cuff play dates. You know the ones, those last minute saving graces when your kid gets an invite to come over for a few hours – they’re like gold dust right?


kinfolk magazine and coffee


When that happens I always use my time wisely and will walk over washing piles, shun dirty dishes and ignore the ironing with intent in order to get to my desk.

Come to think of it, I do that that last one anyway…

H and I also plan in a couple of pyjama days too. We wake up late, stay in PJ’s all morning (apologies again to our postman) and just generally veg around the house with no agenda.

I see no issue with this at all – everyone needs a day like that here and there. A gazillion slow themed Instagram hashtags tell me so!


So those are my best laid plans for juggling the next six weeks. As we know, the best laid plans don’t always run smoothly so I’m stealing myself for that up front too.

over to you…

How do you plan out your six week school holiday to feel that you’re maintaining work family balance?

And what would your own design of a good work/life equation look like?


STYLE CREDITS: Blush Suede Bag – Mango | Lacquer Tray – Set Of Three from The White Company | Espresso Cup – HAY | Kinfolk Magazine | MacBook | Watch – Cate & Nelson c/o | Hand Cream – gift from Jennie’s Sicilian holiday! | Prescription Glasses Frame – RayBan


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