There is no doubt that being a working mum is difficult but throw in school holidays, add in a pandemic and it gets a little bit stressful. I thought that it might be helpful to give you my top tips for staying sane being a working parent.
Top tip number one is to plan.
For example, I’ve known for the last few weeks that half-term is coming up so, I can plan my work around that time. It’s difficult if you are a working mum and you are going to an office to work, as you’ve got to juggle that around kids and stuff, but if you’re employed you can probably take time off or arrange childcare.
When you are self-employed or when you work at home, it’s all just thrown into one, so planning is key in order to stay sane.
Knowing that half-term is approaching I can figure out what work I’ve got on and make sure that I do the majority of that work before half-term arrives, so that I can really be flexible in what I’ve got coming up.
I create lists. Who’s not a list lover? I use something called ‘Asana’, which is a really good tool for project management and writing tasks and keeping you on track. I also write lists of all my different clients and all the things I need to do. Then I write a daily list, so I know exactly what I’ve got to do each day.
Planning and being organised is definitely the best tip.
Turn off the Tech
Top tip number two is to turn off the tech.
When the kids are at home and when I have got my dedicated time with my little girl, I make sure that I turn my devices off, put my phone on silent and out of reach. This doesn’t always work; I have to say. It’s just so I’m not distracted by emails and social media.
Now it’s not always easy, is it? Especially if you’ve got important things to do. If there’s something urgent then fair enough, go onto your computer and have a look. But generally, if you are organised, and you’ve planned your time, then you shouldn’t need to be checking emails or checking social media all the time, and that time with your children is really precious, and that’s what I try and do.
If somebody rings me when I’m not at my desk and I’m with my little girl, I just don’t answer it. I know that if I answer a work call when my little girl is there, she’ll be like “Mummy. Mummy. Mummy.” I can’t give my client the full dedication and attention that they need during that time so, I just don’t answer my phone when I’m with her. I catch up with work during the time I allocate for just that so I’m not distracted.
At the end of the day, if I don’t answer an email straight away, nobody has died. An old boss of mine once said that to me. “How important is it? Has anybody died?” It gives you a new perspective on the way you look at things. Turn the tech off if you can.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Tip number three, which I think we are all guilty of, is don’t feel guilty.
One of the things I think about being a working mum is that I am setting a good example for my children for the future. They see me busy, that I work hard, that I’m making money and understand that’s how I can afford to take them to nice places and do nice things. I want them to feel inspired by that. I know that those times that I need to work, that I shouldn’t feel guilty for it.
If I was answering my phone to my client, whilst I was meant to be with my little girl I would feel guilty. However, I take dedicated time to work and say “You’re in childcare, you’re with your Dad.” We split mornings and afternoons at the moment. I’m not going to feel guilty about working, and my daughter understands that I do it to make pennies to buy her toys.
We all do it. We all have Mum guilt, we all have parent guilt, but we have got to “Let it go!”
This week was particularly challenging for me because my little girl is also self-isolating from somebody in her school who has got COVID, somebody that she has been in contact with. So all our plans for half-term have gone out the window. I have lots of juggling going on.
It’s not as bad at the moment because my husband is at home, so we can do mornings and afternoons between us, but next week he’s back in the office, so I’m literally on my own. I’m going to try my hardest to make it work and just go online in the evening and do my work then.
To reiterate my top tips to help you stay sane currently… Plan, organise your time and forward plan for when you’ve got things coming up, and then you know to do the majority of your work, so you’re not stressing about it during half-term and the school holidays.
Top tip two is turn off the tech. Try and leave it aside when you are not working, and then you won’t be distracted with it. Turn off your notifications and don’t have the temptation to pick up your phone all the time.
Tip three, don’t feel guilty. You’re rocking it being a working mum, a working dad and we are all just doing the best we can to crack on and make some money, and give our children a good example of what it is to be a hard worker.
So, today wasn’t a marketing tip, but it was just tips that I’ve learned over the years that I’ve been running my business, how to juggle… because it is a juggle, being a working mum and running a business.
Do check out my blog which has a variety of topics and tips to help you with marketing and your business.