So, we’ve made it. The kids are back at school, and the struggle to juggle becomes just that fraction easier, but with two bank holidays, polling days, inset days and half term on the horizon, here are some tips on how a busy working mum or dad can get through the holidays.
Firstly … make a plan to work. How much work do you need to do, when do you need to do it. Sometimes there are events that can’t be avoided – I had a four day conference last week, which came right on top of the end of the holidays. If you have work commitments like that you have the chance to plan in advance. Can the children visit or stay with family and friends, can you book them into a school club? I did both of those for the younger two and a fab friend took them out one day as well.
Secondly … plan to have fun. If you know which days you have to work, book something good for the other days. With three children my crew all have different needs and wants, so for two of the days the boys were in school club I took my daughter out for some mother daughter shopping and coffee and cake! It’s a treat for me as well as her. The boys got plenty of treats too, with trips to the cinema and laserquest.
Thirdly … plan for disasters! If you’re a working mum you may be used to this part … but what do you do during the holidays when someone is sick? Inevitably it will be on a day you have to work, so make a list of emergency contacts. Do you have a neighbour, grandparents, a teenage babysitter who can cover if your first plans for something like holiday clubs don’t go as they should. On one day of school club the person running it was sick: fortunately she had other people to call on too!
Bonus tip! Get sneaky. This might work best with older kids but the holidays are a great chance to mix up your routine. D, 14, is a great cook, so she did quite a few of the meals this holiday. The picture, left, shows a meal she made … and being doubly sneaky, it was part of a review for this site too! You might incentivise kids with pocket money for jobs: if part of your work involves a repetitive task, bring in some informal child labour! Equally, some kids love a chance to do things they aren’t usually allowed to: this might include the hovering! Think laterally, because if the kids have time on their hands and you don’t, it can really help to get them involved in some of the jobs you might usually do.