Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Don't waste time when the kids are at school

Today is the first day of school! So just a quick blog post for my fellow working mamas before I dash off. As a work-at-home parent, some of the only time I have to myself will be found in the times my kids are at school. So you can bet I'm so excited that the school year is here! The summer's been a bit crazy because my family's schedule changed every day. I feel lots guilty because I couldn't focus on work and I couldn't focus on family. It was easier when the kids were at school because I could work and play when they're away!

Lots of moms ask me how I can juggle work and family. You know, it's really important that you find someone or something to take care of the kids. That's the real secret. From a dependable yaya or your in-laws to hours spent in school and extracurricular activities, these help a mom be more than a mom. Don't feel guilty about this, working mamas! 

I always look forward to the hours my kids are somewhere I know they'll be safe and have fun, too, because that means I have time for me. But that doesn't mean I pop open the champagne and go shopping. I wish! Instead, I use that precious time to take care of things I couldn't when the kids are around. Here's what I take care of when the kids are at school:

1. I take care of work.
I have a lot of work but the kids will always come first so I squeeze work in the hours when the kids aren't there. That'll be early morning, when they're in school, and/or when they're asleep. (So when do I sleep???) 

Work doesn't mean just my writing and editing projects. It also means taking care of the paperwork of my business. It also means doing chores and errands for home management. My husband is the one in charge of managing our money, and he needs to focus when he's doing the books. Impossible when the kids are around! But when the kids are at school, that's usually the time he takes out the whiteboard and Excel sheets and go over them with me. 

Managing money is something that makes me uncomfortable, but it needs to be done especially when you're running a household! Making small investments here and paying debt there will make our future a lot brighter. I hate that it's my husband who does this so well. I'm not financially illiterate but I'm not great at money management either. But I'm learning this year! I'm trying out free budgeting software like Quickbooks, for example, to help me me get organized. 

2. I take care of the house.
Of course, when the kids aren’t at home, this is a great chance to get some of their mess cleared up. Having kids is never an easy job. When they’re very young, chaos and carnage will follow in their wake. This results in a lot of work which needs to be done to keep the house clean and safe for them. This summer, my husband and I have had to do tidying up each day when the boys were asleep, which meant we couldn't sleep! Now that school's back, we can tidy up during the day and actually get to sleep at night!!!

3. I take care of my brain.
A lot of parents put their life on hold when they have kids. Even working mama me had to scale back on projects. But now that the boys are in school, my husband and I have started thinking of going back to the corporate world because of very expensive tuition fees (sob! sob!). Unfortunately, because we've both been out of the workforce for so long, this can make it very hard to pick up the pieces and get back to work!

To avoid this situation, I've found that networking helps a lot—whether it's reactivating old industry contacts or creating new ones in new fields. I've also started signing up for free courses which suit what I imagine my future career could be. Some people I know actually plunk down money to get a new degree or even an MA. Since I studied in a special sciences school—what a surprise, right?—I've seen some of my former classmates say on Facebook that getting a masters of science in engineering management and other science- and math-related fields helped launch their careers abroad.

I have no plans on going abroad (yet) but I firmly believe in continual learning, especially since my industry, print publishing, is dying (if not dead already). Since I'm a working mommy, all the time I can afford is for online classes, too. Right now, I'm looking at digital marketing, digital content creation, and digital public relations. But I've also been looking at journalism courses that deal especially with the internet. It's the age of fake news and I want to be equipped to fight it. 

4. I take care of my relationships.
When the boys are at school, it's easier to be married. It's easier to be a friend. Tough fact but true. Those precious hours I'm free from being a mommy means I can see my friends for lunch. My husband and I also use the time we spend in traffic picking up the kids from school as our time to talk without getting interrupted a thousand times by little voices. This summer, we were constantly surrounded by kids and constantly immersed in childcare that we hardly talked—you know, the meaningful kind. So I'm really looking forward to the school year because I want to have a marriage again!

5. I take care of me.
I know everyone says "me" should be on top of the list. You can't pour from an empty cup! I agree but my kids are small and these exhausting years go by so fast so I don't mind prioritizing them. My "me time" isn't even elaborate. A hot shower long enough for me to exfoliate dull skin and condition my dead hair is a treat. Applying nail polish while I wait for my coffee to cool makes me happy. Reading lovely articles from my favorite magazines like Vanity Fair is always a joy. Obviously, these rarely happen when the kids are around so this back-to-school school season is making me excited!

That's my list! What do you do when your kids are at school? 

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1 comment:

Thanks for dropping by my blog! It really means a lot that you spare the time to read... and comment!