It’s almost February. Which I am sure for some people means they are well-established and well-underway taking action toward achieving their plans and goals for this year. But, I’d hazard a guess that for a good proportion of working mothers, this is not the case. Yes, really.
Last week, on two separate occasions, two separate people (each a mother), confided to me that January effectively was a write-off in terms of their paid work and business. Both are mothers who run their own businesses and work flexibly, performing the majority of their work from home, in order to balance the juggle of child raising and earning an income.
As they shared this, I have to admit to feeling the same. January is, and was, a non-productive month.
Don't get me wrong. It’s lovely to have our children home on school holidays, and we enjoy spending time with them. But as a mother who works from home and is running her own business, it is downright challenging. Nay, almost impossible to get a lot of work done, or even much done, when the children are home.
What I have learned; tips for future school holiday times
The six weeks of school summer holidays have been fun, if not very productive work-wise. But I have learned some important lessons, which I would love to share with you. Some of these I have written about before, but clearly I needed to be reminded.
Here are some tips for maintaining your wellbeing during future school holiday times.
- Being kind to yourself. As always, this is key. We need to be kind to ourselves everyday, but even more so when we are faced with a period of disrupted routine. At this time, demonstrating self-compassion and self-awareness is vital to ensure we retain focus on our wellbeing.
- Give yourself permission to have time off. This is important, because without permission even from ourselves we can feel anxious and stressed at the end of the day when we have not achieved all we had hoped to, or thought we ought to have done.
- Plan ahead. There will be certain nonnegotiable items or tasks that must be completed whether you are minding your children or working. Where possible, it is wise to prepare these and schedule them in advance. The simple act of preparation and scheduling can alleviate much of the angst that is caused by being out of your usual work routine.
- Maintain perspective; time is precious. The number of days our children actually wish to voluntarily spend hanging out with their parents are limited. Recalling this when we feel anxious about all the work we are not getting done can help keep things in perspective.
February as new year
And so, as I chatted with my fellow working mum friends, we decided that perhaps February would be our January.
Sure, we have thought about our goal setting, planning and year organising whilst ferrying the kids to and from the beach, their activities and playdates. But we will actually have time to DO the goal setting, planning and organising once they are safely back into the school routine. For us, that means today and tomorrow!
Which is February.
Interestingly, once we really thought about this approach, we noticed it made a lot of sense. We feel the same thrill of excitement about starting new habits, new hobbies and new routines that otherwise might be associated with new years resolutions.
BUT, we have an advantage. No pressure! It’s not New Year anymore, so the whole New Year’s resolution piece has gone. That ship has sailed, and we missed it.
No, it’s Mum’s New Year, aka February.
How to manage February as new year - be kind to yourself
Here are some ways you can be kind to yourself now, if you are also experiencing February as your new year.
- Pace yourself. Recognise that everybody else has had 4 to 5 weeks to get into the mood of 2017. You are starting now. And that's okay. Being kind to yourself acknowledges this time lag and means giving yourself approval or permission to take things at your own pace.
- Use your time efficiently and effectively. Once the kids are back at school commit to a few weeks of focused, but nicely paced, activity to ensure you feel ready for the rest of the year. Being kind to yourself can involve getting things done so you feel a sense of satisfaction and preparedness.
Ready? Let's start the year now
And so I, and my fellow working mums, are excited. And we are ready.
Ready to tackle the new challenges of 2017, return to routine where we can manage our paid work as well as be there for the kids to do the school runs, sports and music lessons and the other tasks required.
So, when you see me and the other mum's wave goodbye to our children with a smile but without a backward glance, you'll know why. We are keen to start our year!
And so we welcome February. Happy Mum’s New Year. Enjoy it!
If you'd like to join us in kicking off your new year in February and would like some support, click the button below to book your 30-minute complimentary consultation. We can have a chat and find out if coaching is right for you.
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