It looms on the horizon and pokes at you endlessly for weeks. You debate in your mind what to do about it. You weigh up the pros and cons, do your online research, ask others and you still feel confused, guilty, torn.
February half term …duh, duh, duuuuuuuh!
It’s coming…. So, what are you going to do? Last year, I wrote a piece on top tips for parents during the summer holidays (the BIG one) and it was bonkers how much people related to this and shared it with others. It’s such a massive thing when you run your own business. And there are practical things you can do to make it easier.
But do you want to know a secret?
Whatever you decide to do…it’s ok (gasp!)
Yup, whether you take the time off, ask parents for help or book a week-long club – it’s all good. The key is to accept your decision, make peace with it and (hello) enjoy it! Embrace the week of bonding and day trips, dive into the week of client meetings with gusto or thank your stars that you’re the boss and YOU get to decide how you’re going to mix it up.
It’s why we do this, right? So that we can choose and make things work for us. So why beat yourself up about it? Enjoy the week, whatever you decide.
This is my first February half term with a child at school, so I know how it feels. I’ve decided to jiggle my workload so I can take the week off with her. I have done that for one simple reason. Because it felt right. Now, that’s not to say that I won’t be missing my work, but I would have felt the same if I had decided to work for the week and opt for childcare instead. It’s the working mum’s guilt and it comes with the territory.
Here’s my advice:
Make it work for YOU – Whatever that looks like. You’re the boss. YOU decide. Don’t be swayed by other mums, your peers or social media. Only you know your workload and the dynamics of your family.
Embrace it – Ditch the guilt. The decision has been made so it’s a waste of your time and energy to debate it any longer. If you’re with your child – throw yourself in. Otherwise what’s the point? And if you’re at the office or working from your dining room table – soak it all up. You love what you do so don’t beat yourself up. Be proud of yourself!
Plan for it – If you do decide to take some time off, taking practical steps to ensure there’s nothing niggling at you will ensure you can really enjoy time with your child. Stick the ‘out of office on’, record a new voicemail greeting or give yourself 20 minutes to look at emails every night. Or, if you’re working, why not think about changing your hours so you work for a few hours at the weekend when your partner is home? That way you can have time with your child during the week. If that’s what you want? I know many, many parents who have an amazing childcare provider which their children can’t wait to get to every day of the holiday!
And finally, remind yourself why you are doing this. Think about YOUR ‘why’. What are your reasons for being self-employed? What’s your motivation? Hang on to your ‘why’ and cherish it. And during those times when you dip in motivation and start looking at perfect family posts on Facebook or feel the urge to log on to your emails or make “one quick call”, take a moment to think about the reasons you decided to run your own business. Hopefully, that will act as a reset button which brings you back to the moment and helps you really appreciate your position.
This post was written by Laura Duggal. Laura is a Career Coach, she has worked within organisations, with individuals and as an associate supporting women through different stages of their careers for almost 15 years. She’s a qualified and accredited member of the European Coaching and Mentoring Council. Her background in HR, her skills in coaching and her experience as a parent mean that she really understands what’s happening from all angles. She lives in Cheltenham with her husband and young daughter and works online as well as in person with clients nationally.
If you would like more information on how her return to work coaching programmes might benefit you or your organisation you can contact Laura below: