A little birdy told me that juggling kids and a business is hard. They are not wrong. Some days it works but most days it is a struggle. Trying to find the balance is hard and feeling guilty over neglecting one or the other comes with the territory. School holidays have proven to be an even greater task of scheduling, juggling and trying to find a balance.
First summer holidays
My daughter just finished her first year of prep so these summer holidays have been our first long stretch without consistent care. It has been fun but very challenging. Vacation care has been great for day excursions which have been everything from movies to water parks. The days the kids have been home have been a mixture of fun activities (park visits, play dates and movies) and independent play while I make phone calls and catch up on admin.
What is the payoff for spending time with my kids?
Going into January, I agreed with myself that I wouldn’t spend all day working and missing out on fun with the kids. It meant lots of late nights working and only doing essential work during the day. Early morning shifts in the kitchen (hello 3am!) so I could take the kids out for the day to the museum and enjoy dinner out. The days I have enjoyed the most are the ones I could concentrate on work and still be able to have periods of time playing with the kids.
Early morning shifts in the kitchen (hello 3am!)
Next summer holidays will be better planned and I will know what to expect. Balancing work and play can be done but it can cost money and a fair bit of planning. Here are some of the things we got up to that helped entertain the kids, get work done and run errands.
How did we balanced our time?
Last Friday, I took my kids to Ikea. I had to do some last minute shopping and it was the perfect opportunity to get some down time for me. Ikea has a little kids play centre (Smaland) where you can sign them in for an hour while you shop. Now, I will say, if you are doing a serious Ikea shop, 1 hour is not enough time. I had a specific list of things to get so I didn’t hang around considering different fabrics for a chair or sit with a consultant to choose a kitchen. But it took almost an hour to walk from beginning to the end and pay for my items. The upside is that I was able to relax and get all my shopping down without worrying about my kids breaking anything or running off.
Second thing on the agenda was Lollipops Playland at Springwood. This is normally too far from home to bother but since we were in the area I figured why not? For $25, the kids were occupied with a variety of climbing activities and play areas. It is an enclosed space where they can’t get out without my matching ID. My kids can mostly look after themselves for short periods so it was the perfect place to set up camp for a few hours. I worked from a table (with coffee and food being delivered when we needed it) and the kids came and went. The only downside was it was too noisy to take phone calls. It was a small sacrifice to keep the kids happy and me working.
Closer to home
My local go to is McDonald’s. Not my favourite place to take my kids as after a few visits they start asking to go regularly. But I mostly only order a coffee or a coke for me and nothing for the kids (I know, I’m a terrible Mother). Here’s what I love. The playground is enclosed (music to my ears) and there are always other kids their age running around. Coffee is only two steps away (if you position your table right, depending on the particular restaurant, you only have to take a step to reorder on a machine without leaving your belongings!!), free Wi-Fi and aircon. It’s good for an hours worth of work.
Our local Cafe 63 has a kids play area. It’s only good for occupying them for about 30 minutes and I usually have to buy them a cookie or baby chino. But to keep on top of emails while running around town with them, it is worth it.
I look forward to when my kids are older and we can go to a park or the local swimming lagoon. I can sit and work and the kids can come and go as they please. They won’t need constant supervision or an enclosed space that they can’t run off from)
What are your go to activities that enable you to work and play?