I’m often asked, when people find out that I’m a blogger and a mom and a homeschooler, how I get any work done. As summer approaches, I know many other mom bloggers are wondering how they are going to keep up blogging with the kids at home. So, along with four other moms and bloggers, I’m sharing my summer survival tips for work-at-home moms (or how I manage to write 5 posts a week while the girls are running around the house).
Encourage Independent Play
I’ve actually found that blogging has been easier this year while I’ve been homeschooling. The reason for it? The girls play really well together (and homeschooling has helped that). My secret to blogging frequently is helping them learn to play independently (or together) and using quiet times to encourage that.
Some kids are good at entertaining themselves. Lily is one of those. When Sunshine was at preschool, Lily would disappear into her room and play quietly with her stuffies until it was time to go get Sunshine again. I was guaranteed a couple hours of quiet to write, and Lily enjoyed having a bit of time to do whatever she wanted without Sunshine telling her what to do. I still often see her off in her own world of play, whether we’re at home or at the park or swimming pool, and I enjoy watching her entertain herself with whatever story she’s telling. (Maybe she’ll be a writer someday…)
Sunshine is the opposite. She’s the child to come up to me asking, “Mommy, what can I do?” or “Mommy, will you do this with me?” For her, it helps to have a list of ideas to suggest, even though she usually discards them; then I check her room and ask her to clean it up and she’ll keep herself busy there for several hours (without doing much cleaning). She’s good at organizing her sisters into a game of something, whether it’s dress up or playing with their stuffies or racing their HotWheels.
Implement Quiet Time
Quiet times have helped them learn to play by themselves better. I have a friend who implemented a quiet time when her son stopped napping; during what had previously been nap time, he could play quietly in his room. This is great if younger siblings are still napping, as it keeps the house quiet. It also helps encourage quiet, imaginary play. The girls have a few toys in their rooms for this, including PlayMobile, LEGO, dolls, stuffies, or books (using the Sparkup Reader if they aren’t reading themselves yet).
I don’t use a daily quiet time but rather implement it as its needed. Some days, the girls get into a game or new toy and spend all day entertaining themselves, while I just serve snacks and write and do the housework. Other days, they seem to have woken up on the wrong side of bed and need a bit of help getting along. That’s a good day for a quiet time, as usually a bit of time playing by themselves helps them play better with each other.
Quiet time is not a punishment; it’s just a recognition that maybe they’ve seen a bit too much of each other lately and need some time apart. I’m an introvert, so I’ve come to recognize that I need a bit of space at times or else I get grumpy. Lily takes after me, though she’s still learning to express that, so suggesting a quiet time can help her calm down and be ready to play again. And it’s a good chance to encourage Sunshine (my social butterfly who’d love to have friends over all day every day) to learn to play by herself.
Give Them Time First
That’s not to say, of course, that I just ignore my kids all day long. We play each day by ear. When I’m homeschooling, we usually spend parts of the morning together working on school. If they aren’t homeschooling, we plan something else together, like a craft or trip to the park. If I’ve given them some time with me before I start work, then they are usually happier to find ways to entertain themselves while I’m writing.
I find it’s a balance between doing things together and doing things on our own, and both are good for all of us. Staring at a computer for too long isn’t good for me, so having an excuse to read a book or do some baking with them provides a nice break. If you’re just starting the summer out, it might take a few weeks to find that balance and recognize what your kids need. And they, of course, need to adjust to being at home after being in school.
My biggest tip: go with the flow and take advantage of times to work. Right now I’m working on scheduling my blog posts at least a week ahead, as I find that gives me more flexibility each day. Some days, as I mentioned, the girls will ignore me and play happily all day long. Other days, they need a bit more attention from me. If I can be flexible, instead of glued to a post deadline, then we’re all happier.
I’m always thinking about what to blog, so that when they are busy, I can sit down and just write. And I find a blog schedule also helps keep my on track, as I look at my schedule, see what I need to write, and do it.
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For more summer survival tips for work-at-home moms, check out these other bloggers:
What summer survival tips for work-at-home moms would you share?
My tip – send your kids to summer camp! That is where DS will be sending most of his summer. Your city offers a great selection of camps at a very reasonable price that is totally worth my sanity.
Those area great tips! The quiet time after lunch is working really well for us too. There are lots of toys to be rediscovered when kids have time to do their own thing.
These are all very helpful tips. I like going with the flow and taking advantage of times to work . I have little ones here at home, They are not home schooled, but they are very demanding. I load them up with lots of activities and when they’re busy, that’s the time I take advantage and work on my blogs.
Camp and day camp are my only secrets right now. My kids are 11 and 14 and there’s no way they just are hanging around here sitting in their rooms or gravitating towards iPads and computers all day. My girls do best when kept busy so I load them up with day camps and activities. My oldest just finished a leader in training program that was two weeks long and was the first two weeks of her summer holidays. It was good for her and she loved it. I do wish I understood more how homeschooling works with kids and a business. My kids can be helpful occasionally but they both have some special needs and they really would focus entirely on a computer all day if I didn’t schedule camps, or say hey it’s time to swim and move your body around the get some exercise. Then all of their anxiety and what not gets worse if they are not super active and doing camp. I have tried so many different ways to do summer. I wish we could just be the family that goes with the flow. My kids cannot manage that. They need what’s happening next mapped out all day long or their anxiety hits astronomical levels. Camp helps them with that.
I think it’s important that you know what your kids need and what works for you, Paula. These are all just ideas… but I always say, what works for me might not work for you! I’ve also got my girls in several daycamps too, because my oldest is very social and needs to get out of the house once in a while. So we did a bike safety camp last week (trying to encourage my 5yo to get rid of her training wheels!) and they have an arts camp coming up, plus a theatre camp for my oldest. I’m hoping to get lots of work done during that time too! 🙂 If a routine and a plan for the summer is what works best for you, then go with it! 🙂
I love all the great tips, very helpful 🙂
Great tips! I’ve started implementing quite time as well this summer and as you mentioned, just on a needed basis, not everyday. The kids are getting better at playing together without me. Sometimes though, that can end up with a big mess in the play room lol.
Salma – yes, we’re still working on the cleaning up skills… 🙂 I keep hoping someday they’ll inherit my neat-freak genes and figure out how to clean up their rooms without me standing over them saying, “Pick up that doll and put it in the red toy bin. the RED toy bin. Now pick up that truck and put it in the blue toybin. Put your the doll clothes away. Put that away…” 🙂
This is exactly what I needed. Balance is key and I feel like when I give so much love on one priority, the others suffer terribly (mainly between home and work, cooking/cleaning vs blogging). My daughter takes front seat so I find myself spending a lot of time worrying about entertaining her and making sure she’s stimulated at all times. I need to let go of some of the guilt I feel when she asks me to spend time with her and be okay with her playing on her own and giving more love to my blog schedule. Balance is something I def need to work on. Great post!
DeBalino – yeah, that balance can be hard. 🙂 I do think it’s good for your daughter too, to learn to play by herself. You won’t always be around to entertain her or help her figure out what to do with herself. She needs to be able to come up with some ideas on her own. 🙂 Plus, I know that I tend to be a happier mama if I get a bit of time to myself, to invest in my interests and projects; then I can come back to the girls to do something together and we’re all happier because I’m not stressing about a deadline or something I need to do. 🙂 Good luck!
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