Working from home during the summer when the kids are out of school can be quite difficult. Over the years I have tried to figure out the best way to handle these summer months. Taking the whole summer off has never been an option for me. Some years, my husband has been deployed or away at some training adding in another aspect to working from home. When he is gone, I no longer have that extra person to help me with the boys or to be there to encourage me in my work.
Here are some work at home tips for the summer when your spouse is deployed or not home during those months.
Low-cost daycare programs
Look and see what is available in your community. We have a free summer program here which has been a lifesaver for me this summer. We can’t all afford daycare, but there could be options in your communities that will fit your family’s needs. Even just a week-long camp can be a nice break for you to get ahead on your work.
Hire a mother’s helper
If you do have the money to do so, look into hiring a mother’s helper for the summer. They can come and take your kids to the pool, the park, or even bring them to day camp. This will give you some kid-free hours to work, and you know your children are out enjoying summer.
Decide what is important
Take a look at your workload and decide what is important. Is there anything you can put off until the fall? Is now the best time to start a new project? This will depend on the type of work you do at home but keeping things simple during the summer will make life easier for you.
Wake up early
One strategy that has worked for me every year is to wake up at least an hour before my kids do. It’s summer, and you want to sleep in. . . but don’t. Get up early, get started on your day, and you can get a lot done before the kids get up and are ready for a fun summer day.
Stay up late
If you are more of a night owl, try to stay up late to work. Put your kids to bed, get out the laptop, and get going. The house will be quiet, you won’t have your spouse to spend time with so you can get your work done.
Staying organized is a must during this time. During the summer ,there will be a lot more activities going on. You will need to keep everything straight from where your kids have to go each day to what work tasks need to get done. Write down everything and make a daily schedule every night before you get to bed. Staying organized will be key in keeping up with everything.
Let your kids know why you work
If your children are old enough, let them know why you work. Have a discussion about bills and how much certain activities cost. Let them know that to do the things they enjoy doing, you have a job to do. You can even talk about how your spouse is overseas doing their job, and you are home with them, working your job.
Let them help
If there are things your kids can do to help you out with your work, let them do so. They can assist you with packages if you have to mail things out or even help put stamps on letters. If there isn’t anything they can do with your business, have them step up more with the chores around the house. This will take the pressure off of you and allow you to have more time to be with them once all the work is done.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need to. Whether the help is from a neighbor who would be willing to help you mow your lawn or a family member who will come to stay with you for a week or two. As military spouses, asking for help can be quite the challenge, but sometimes that is exactly what we need to do.
By Julie Provost
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.