Do you ever get working parents guilt during the school holidays? Today’s post is all about how you can survive the Summer Holidays as a working parent!
I first published this post about three years ago but after seeing a couple of posts on Social Media this week about the Mum guilt some people are feeling I thought I’d share it again. My two are 19 and 17 now so whilst I do absolutely understand the Mum guilt and also the feeling of counting down the days until they’re back at school at times, I encourage you to make the most of every minute as you’ll miss these days in a couple of years! These days we’re at a slightly different stage of Mum guilt – the one where all their friends are going on family cruises and city breaks and they want to be travelling places too.
This Summer, for the first time since the kids started school, I actually don’t have any time off for the first four weeks of the School Holidays! I’ll be working from 9 am until 4 pm, Monday to Friday until the last two weeks of the holidays when I have two weeks off.
Which means that the kids are going to have to pretty much entertain themselves for the most part.
I’ll be out of the house before they get up and back home around tea-time and depending on Mr Frugal’s shifts, he’ll be the same on most days.
That means that the cupboards and fridge are stocked with food they can easily prepare (I did add some Supernoodles to the trolley when we went to Costco last weekend) and they’re going to have to be independent for the next month which in the past, might have made me feel like a bad parent!
These days though, I don’t buy into the whole working Mum’s guilt thing!
I work because (a) I really enjoy it and (b) I want my family to have the lifestyle we have and for that, we need the money. I’ll be honest and admit that I have let myself fall into the Mum guilt trap in the past but these days, I’m much easier on myself because I’ve learned that I can be a great Mum and go out to work.
I’m much happier in myself since that realisation.
I know that I’m lucky as my two are a little older now and are very capable and self-sufficient but it’s still not easy to juggle work and school holidays without planning and organisation. I’m starting to plan this years holidays now and I thought I’d tell you about how I do it so that I can have a great Summer work life balance.
While I’m at work, the kids can do what they want to a certain degree but they have certain things they need to have done before I get home. It’s nothing too complicated but I expect them to be dressed and washed and have tidied their rooms and done their daily jobs.
I might also set them a task or an extra job too depending on what needs doing around the house and they also know they need to do their Summer Holiday homework too although I let them choose when to do it with just a gentle push every now and again to make sure it’s not all left to the last minute.
The kids understand that they need to make sure they do their jobs and if they don’t there’ll be consequences (see the electronics prison below) and I know I might sound mean making them do jobs but the jobs are all pretty simple. Having the basics, like hoovering, dusting and tidying means that there’s generally nothing too big that I need to do when I get in from work. Which, in turn, means that I have more time to spend with the kids doing fun things.
They’re normally pretty good when it comes to their daily jobs but, just in case, as a backup, I’m considering bringing back the electronics prison again this Summer so they know if they don’t do their jobs, they’ll lose their electronics.
It’s important to me that they understand the importance of helping out around the house, not least because I want them to do their daily jobs without me nagging at them as I’m fully aware that me nagging at them will almost always cause a teenage sulk and a full-on teenage sulk is not particularly conducive to a happy family afternoon.
So that’s the first part of how I cope as a working parent in the holidays – I delegate small jobs to the kids who keep on top of the general house tidiness while I’m at work freeing up my time after work to spend with them. The next part of how I do it is plan, plan and plan…
I try to fit as much in with the kids as I can when I’m at home with them after work and on weekends
The long Summer nights generally mean that we can still have a lot of fun before the day is over so at least twice a week we’ll head to the beach, the local forest or even just one of the parks near us – usually with the dogs and always with a football.
We might even go for an ice cream or bowling or have a picnic tea somewhere.
Meal planning over the Summer is a whole different board game which I’ve written about here if you want to see how we do it in the Summer!
Sometimes the kids will be out with their friends when I get in and that’s OK with me as long as they’ve done their daily jobs before they go out – it’s a great incentive to get them up and everything done early. And believe me, at 13 and 15, they most definitely need any incentive they can get to leave their beds before noon!
Some afternoons we won’t go out when I get in from work and on those days, we’ll generally go to the beach for a walk with the dog in the early evening when it’s usually deserted.
We have plenty of family board game nights and have lots going on in our garden to make sure that we can have family fun without going anywhere if necessary.
Not so much now, but in the past, I’ve also tried to prep a few educational-based activities to do together – making Gloop together was a favourite back in the day. Very back in the day, judging by the photo quality from the blog post I shared about it.
We’ve also done things like making a volcano and obviously the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment! I don’t always have time to prep these kinds of things when I’m working though so I do tend to buy in a few things to supplement my own efforts. Things like some of the kits you’ll find on a site like Myer.com – crystal growing kits, a volcano making kit and all kinds of other stuff will give the kids hours of fun but also keep their brains engaged. I always do some extra activities around kits like this to get my money’s worth while they’re interested. Google word searches, colouring pages and other activities to do with whatever you’re learning about and you’ll keep them occupied for longer without them even realising that they’re learning! Then we have the weekends which are the days when we have the most fun as we can fit in longer trips out – we try to plan in 1 or 2 biggish trips out over the course of the holidays and a couple of smaller trips so we have one day to look forward to each weekend but it doesn’t always work out that way and sometimes we’ll just want to chill at home and do nothing.
So that’s how I manage my whole work-life balance in the Summer Holidays. Blogging is usually done in advance with a few early mornings and late nights thrown in there too. 😉
Don’t miss out on future posts like this – receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address here and hitting subscribe. You can also follow me on Twitter or BlogLovin and I’d love to see you over on my Facebook page and on Instagram. If you’re interested, you can find out more about me here and while I’ve got your attention, if you’re wondering why some of my posts lately are a little bit less frugal then have a read of this post. 😉
This is a collaborative Post.
Do your future self a favour – Pin this post for later: