Challenges of a work from home mum for working on holidays

Holidays mean different things to different people – to some it may mean travel, catching up with friends, movies and late nights or simply unwinding and relaxing at home with the family. To me, as a work from home mum, school holidays pose a unique challenge which requires me to don new hats to ensure that I can maintain the delicate balance between happy kids and great productivity.

With children in the house full time, it takes twice as much discipline and focus to work from home than it does when they are in school for the better part of the day. On the flip side, it’s really not fair of me to only think about my work and keep the kids from enjoying their time off. So is there a way I can have my cake and eat it too?

From personal experience as a work from home mum the answer to the above question is yes – but only with a good deal of planning and organisation. The greatest perk of working from home is the flexibility it provides and it is this very benefit that I capitalise on when planning for the school holidays.

Here are the main challenges I encounter as a work from home during the holidays and how I tackle them so that everyone is happy.

Arsenal of a work from home mum: Schedule

To begin with, I chalk out a schedule for each day of the holidays and encourage my children to participate with their suggestions and inputs. We make allowances for bad weather days and other unavoidable situations to make the plan as fail-safe as possible. This way they know exactly what they should be doing at any given time and have plenty of great activities/events to look forward to.  This sets the right balance between work and play for both parties – the work from home mum and the children.

Setting Boundaries – albeit lenient ones just for the holidays

Another principle I strongly believe in and apply as a work from home mum is to give 100% of myself to whatever I may be doing – work or play – and not let one interfere with the other. So if I am spending time with the kids, I absolutely resist the urge to go check my emails every half an hour. And while I make special accommodations for family time during the school holidays, I do ensure that the children are also aware of the boundaries and know that they have to play quietly while mum is at the computer. Although I try not to cross the fine line between work and play, it’s perfectly acceptable to make some degree of allowances for yourself during the holidays.

Work from home mum can meet deadlines and fix a play-date

For those days when I know I am going to need to devote many hours at a stretch to complete a particular assignment, the best way out is to arrange play dates for the kids at the home of a trusted parent. Whilst these generally have to be planned well in advance, keeping in mind everybody’s availability, most parents will readily agree to “pool in” for play dates as it is a win-win for everyone.

Keeping out the noise and distractions: Having a distinct work space

This one is a given but is that much more important during the holidays as it sets a clear demarcation between my professional commitments and personal life. I have dedicated a quiet nook of my house as my work space, which is as private and undisturbed as is possible. My home office successfully blocks out distractions and affords me the peace and freedom I need to get my creativity and productivity flowing.

Take care of the erratic schedule of the work from home mum

One of the greatest challenges faced by the work from home mum, especially during the holidays, is to resist the temptation to tuck into easy-to-cook, instant foods that are convenient and tasty but not so good for your waistline. The fact that your regular routines go out the window can mean you are no longer following your usual meal times that your body might be used to. While it’s refreshing to take a break from the usual schedules, I do remind myself not to digress too much from my daily dose of healthy food and exercise.

For most people, holidays are awaited with eager excitement and impatient anticipation. But if you are a work from home mum, all you need is a bit of planning and organisation to ensure that the holidays prove just as invigorating for you as they do for everyone else. Look for opportunities that help you maintain a healthy work life balance.