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Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at Swistle.com.

Tips for Surviving the Work/Summer Combination

Categories: Life balance, Managing stress, organization

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It’s too soon to call it, but I think summer is going to finish me off. Every day I think, “Here are the projects that need to be worked on today.” Every day, I fail: either I put in an insufficient amount of time, or I don’t get to any of them at all. I’m getting that “the water is rising” feeling.

This is WITH my usual techniques: signing up the most difficult child for day-camp; buying a few fun new things; breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.

(Bananagrams ((photo from Amazon.com)) is the biggest hit so far. )

I think there’s a feeling that everyone (especially kids) DESERVES to have a 3-month vacation with tons of fun things every day: beaches! amusement parks! camping! And so it’s easy for parents to feel really bad that they’re not delivering on that—and maybe resentful, too, since they’re not getting it for themselves, either. But sometimes it doesn’t work out to spend a quarter of the year that way, and that’s okay too. School is out for the summer; work is still in session. And “Sleeping in, then playing outside as long as you want, then coming in and having lemonade, then reading comic books and playing video games all afternoon” IS a wonderful fun-fun-fun kind of summer, as is “Going to day-camp.”

Still, so far my work is not getting done, even after dropping the feeling that every day should be packed with summer fun. One trick I’ve had success with lately is imagining if someone else came to me with the same problem I’m having—what would I suggest they try? I’ve made a list of ideas:

1. Set up a separate work area. Right now my computer is in the same room with the kids’ computer. With four children taking turns, someone else is nearly always in the room with me wanting to show me something in Minecraft or playing a distracting cat video. I could theoretically move my computer to another room. Cons: It would take a pretty significant amount of house-organizing work to make that move. Also, ideas that involve “Going to a different room than the children” have so far resulted in the children gradually all joining me in the new room. Also, then in the evenings when I theoretically LIKE us being in the same room, my computer would be separate from everyone else’s.

2. Set aside a designated work time. There’s no reason the children ALWAYS need access to their computer. I could set aside certain hours of the day when I close the door and they need to find something else to do. Cons: I’ve tried this kind of idea before, and what happens is they bicker and crash around and cause problems I have to keep dealing with, and it sends me directly to a blind rage because WHY can’t they handle themselves for FIVE MINUTES?? So this seems like a bad plan, and yet I think it’s worth trying if I go into it realizing I shouldn’t get my hopes too high.

3. Get up early to work. I get up at 5:15 now, but I could get up at, say, 3:00, and work while the house is still quiet. Cons: Two of the children seem to have internal sensors: if we are up, they get up. Also, if I get up 2 hours earlier, I’m going to need to go to bed 2 hours earlier—but already our bedtime is only half an hour after the last of the children’s bedtimes. I don’t want to go to bed while the kids are still up, and I don’t want to go to bed before Paul. This one’s out.

4. Acquire a portable computer. This might let me work in, say, the locked bathroom. Or I could work at the pool while the kids have swimming lessons. Cons: Acquiring a computer; I hate new things, and of course it’s an expense. Also, figuring out how to connect my regular computer to the portable computer, or else switching over entirely; I find that whole subject overwhelming. Also, there is such harsh criticism of parents working/texting rather than gazing adoringly at their otherwise-occupied children.

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What would you add to the list? Have you found strategies that work for you?



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