I've been working from home for about thirteen years, most of that time as a single mom. Summer has always been something I look forward to and dread all at the same time. I still get that excited feeling in the pit of my stomach (just like I did when I was a kid) during this time of year, when we start counting down single digit days until school is out (as of today, it's 2!). I love the weather, activities, and the chance to spend time with my boys in a carefree world with no real deadlines or school activities demanding our attention (or that I nag them to finish their homework). On the other hand, Summer has always been a challenge for me because I'm not independently wealthy, so I can't take a three month vacation from my business.
So every year since I started this blog, I've written a post on keeping your sanity during the summer, when your house is busy, your kids demand more of your attention, and your schedule changes (so the way you work does, too). As I read back over the posts I've written in past years today, I decided that my best advice is already there, so there really wasn't any point in writing a new post this year. Plus, I don't have much fresh material on this because I no longer have to worry much about this issue. My oldest son Sam is 17 and driving, and he and his brother Eli (who is 14) are great buddies so they spend lots of time together. They're really independent, responsible kids (for the most part), have cell phones, and check in when they're not here (a hard and fast rule with us).
If you do happen to still be in the trenches as a mom of younger kids, here are a few posts you may want to check out (and these will all open in new windows in your browser):
A post I wrote last year that gives you my "Top 5 Tips for Getting to September with Your Business In-Tact and Your Kids Still Loving You," including letting go of the guilt, modifying your schedule, and making work time play time with your kids.
Believer it or not, these five tips are different than the ones in the post above, and I covered keeping your commitment to your kids, helping them understand the importance of what you're doing, some great tips for finding things for little kids to do (besides watching T.V.), and a great idea for using a timer to keep yourself and your kids on track.
Several years ago I found a great post by my peeps over at WAHM called "Working At Home With Kids During The Summer" that's still active and relevant. They share some very creative ideas for keeping younger and school age kids occupied.
Finally, I thought I'd throw in one for you, too (since so much of your focus during the summer is on your kids). It's called Self Care for Busy Direct Sellers (because when momma's not happy, NOBODY'S happy)!
For me, the days of hanging out with my kids, going for bike rides as a family, or heading to the pool for the day are pretty much history ("Nothing personal, Mom, but we'd really rather go hang out with our buddies or ride long boards"). Last summer I ended up asking them when they'd be home so we could spend some time together instead of them wanting me to stop working to do the same for them. Honestly, it's a little bittersweet. So my best advice is this: If you do have little ones, enjoy them. It seems like yesterday that mine were pulling on my shorts and nagging me to come play. Truth be told, I miss that time in our lives more and more every day. Don't take one minute of it for granted and, when in doubt, take a break and give them some time. I wish I'd done more of that when I had the chance.
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Julie Anne Jones is direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.