So … this is awkward … but did you know that the school year is almost over?
Yeah, it crept up on me, too.
My husband and I are both business owners who do 90% of our work from home. This works out great during the school year. We both make sure to schedule any important phone calls or meetings during the time the kids are in school, so we never have conflicts between our work and parenting duties. In the summer, things get tricky. In fact, they get downright stressful.
Last summer, we hired a part-time Nanny. It was great! She arrived each morning around 10:00, and my husband and I got to work. This year, we just don’t have the financial resources to do that again (those fees add up quick). So, we had to get creative.
Here’s what we came up with:
We first had the idea to both work in the shared living space of our house and just Wild Wild West it. The kids could ask us for whatever they needed, and we would take turns helping them out. But we gave it a test run, and it totally bombed. One of us (and I won’t name names) tended to get a little too involved in his work and didn’t notice the kids’ requests, so the other one of us (again, no names) ended up doing it all and getting very frustrated.
So, we decided we needed a different plan.
We used this plan before, back during the COVID shut-downs, and it worked very well. Essentially, we will be dividing the day in half. Both of us will have half of the workday to work, and the other half to be exclusively responsible for the kids. We also have to account for things like the kids getting sick of each other (it happens), so that’s factored into the plan, too. Here’s what it looks like:
6:00am (the time that our beloved little angels naturally wake up each morning):
My husband and I work together to get the kids their breakfast and spend time with them as a family. We may let them have some independent play time, or we will split them up and give them one-on-one time.
9:00am: I get started working, and my husband takes the kids
12:00pm: Husband makes the kids their lunch
1:00pm: Shift change. I take the kids, husband starts his workday
5:00pm: I make the kids their dinner
6:00pm: Husband ends his workday and joins us as a family. He and I get the kids their baths and do the bedtime routine together
From 6:00pm to bedtime: We divide up the kids, husband taking one and I the other, to give them some time apart from each other
I hope that this system is going to help my husband and I both be as productive as possible without feeling like bad parents. That seems to be the conflict for work from home parents in the summer months. You try to do your job and be there for your kids, but end up feeling like you’re failing at both. Hopefully, this plan will keep us dialed in and feeling like we’re succeeding instead.