It’s hard right? I know. I get it. You are trying to build a business and a future for yourself and your family but at the moment it is frickin hard. Most of us are confined 24/7 in the one space that feels like a prison and not a home and cabin fever set in in Lockdown 1. Now it’s Lockdown 3 and you try your best to work in sporadic moments but the kids start world war 3 just at that moment you sign in to a networking zoom with “professionals all nailing it” (trust me they are not). Those beautiful little cherubs of yours interrupt you when you are finally in the flow and now you can’t remember that brilliant idea you have had. All you know is that you are losing your hair because you are pulling it out.
Well today is the start of a new day and I am going to share with you what has worked for me in the past and is still working. I still have days were I want to throw it all against the wall, give up and go back to bed and sleep my life away. But most days I am in control and even though winging it at times, I really do feel that I will come out of this successfully stronger and my bank balance in the black and not in the red.
So here goes. Are you ready?
1/ Make that morning routine easier.
Setting up the perfect day all starts with the making your mornings shine, even if it is raining outside. You can do this by:
- Getting all the outfits ready the night before. Even the kids.
- Getting up at the same time. Even the kids.
- Putting on happy music to start the day positively. No T.V.
- Having breakfast together and chatting about the things you will be doing that day.
2/ Get dressed for the day ahead.
Don’t work in your pyjamas (even though some days I say sod it and do just that. Zooming in a onesie, yes done that too). It is so unproductive, unprofessional and do I need to say more? It helps if the kids are dressed too. Especially if you have to run to the shops for milk or bread. You get what I mean.
3/ Start the working day with a pretend commute.
Kids love playing pretend. That is how they grow and learn. It doesn’t have to be far. It could be to the corner shop for bread, milk or whatever or it could be to post a parcel or a letter. It could even be part of your daily walk together.
4/ Be disciplined and stick to your routines.
That way you and your family will have structure and it will teach them discipline too. It takes roughly 21 days to form a good habit and discipline is a good habit to form.
5/ Plan ahead.
Planning ahead helps us to stay in control of our lives. All those little things that can feel huge if we are not organised about like: planning the meals for the week, chores, activities, workload for both you and the kids can make all the difference. You know where you are when you have your days organised and mapped out. Remember though, you are not an army major and you can be flexible too. Kids get ill, things happen.
6/ Is childcare an option?
Have you got the funds or the means to have someone take the kids off your hands for a while? This can be hard at the moment because of the pandemic and Lockdowns but it might be something you can plan ahead for. The schools and nurseries will open up again and childminders will need to work too. If you have a partner maybe you can have a chat with him/her and see if you can come up with a plan to share the childcare.
7/ Reduce distractions.
This can be anything from scrolling mindlessly through social media, mobile phone alerts, television and YouTube (especially with the kids). Have a think of all those distractions and come up with ways to put them to sleep.
8/ Find a workspace that works.
I am lucky to have been able to convert the dining room into an office and I can shut the door when I don’t want to be disturbed, but you may not have that luxury. So let’s say that you have to work from the kitchen table or the coffee table in the lounge. You could have a large box to store all your work from home stuff in so that it is portable enough to be packed away at the end of the day and easily brought out in the morning. You could do the same for each child, so they have their own home-school box.
9/ Stay organised with calendars, to do lists and planners.
10/ Invest in a family planner.
Having a planner for the family is also a great way for the kids to play their part. They can add what is important to them and appointments, classes they need to be at, especially when Lockdown is reduced. Keeping the family planner separate from business helps stop confusion setting in too.
11/ Connect with other working mums.
This is a great way to get hints, tips, advice and support from other mums in the same position as you. You can have virtual catch ups in the evening when the children are in bed and it is a great way to network too. There are plenty of mum’s in business groups on social media. Just google it and you’ll find tonnes of information.
12/ Share the housework.
Having a chore list is a great way to give your kids responsibility, taking their age into consideration. Or you could allocate a time at the end of the day as a tidy up time. You can then play fun music to get them going and make a tedious job into a fun one.
13/ Lower your expectations.
Don’t expect too much, especially in these hard times. Your kids are probably having a hard time with all this too.
14/ Let go of mum guilt.
Don’t beat yourself up if some days seem to be a write off. Maybe you snapped at the kids or felt like giving up. Communicate with the kids and let them know that you love them but sometimes even mum’s get unhappy or upset. It happens to everyone and don’t let any one say it doesn’t. NO-ONE IS PERFECT
15/ Try to eat with the kids at each meal.
- At breakfast have a chat about the things they will be doing that day
- At lunch ask them how their morning has been
- At dinner ask them what the best part of their day has been and how they can make it better tomorrow
You will get to know your kids so much better this way.
16/ Get the kids involved with choosing the special activities.
A great way to this is to decorate a box (art lesson) and fill it with ideas written on slips of paper.
17/ Have a weekly game night or movie night.
This is best done at the end of the school/work week (Friday) and can be when the treats come out and you order a take-out too.
18/ Have a happy and calming bedtime routine.
Let the kids know that at a certain time in the evening, they all have to be in their bedrooms preparing to go to sleep. A reward chart would be good here and the winner could get to choose one activity the next week. Also make sure they know the cut off point to be awake and when it will be lights out.
19/ Don’t waste your spare time when the kids are in bed.
Catch up with friends virtually, read, make plans, relax, watch a movie.
20/ Self-care is so important right now, so don’t forget to look after yourself and take care of your mental health. Put on your own oxygen mask first.
My favourite way to unwind is to have a bubble bath, hair mask and face mask followed by clean pyjamas a hot chocolate and a good book that I read in bed.
Most important is to know when to turn off completely from work, especially at the weekend if possible and have fun in your life just because you can.
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