Practical Ecommerce

Sounds of Summer for a Mom-preneur

Ahh. Sounds of summer. Crickets chirping. Birds tweeting. Waves crashing. Children’s laughter. Wait! These are the sounds I only dream of hearing all summer; not the sounds I actually hear.

“Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I’m bored. Mom, she touched my stuff. Mom, can Allison come over. Mom, can you take us to the pool?” These are the sounds mompreneurs truly hear during the summer.

How do we balance productive work time with mothering time when the kids are off school for 10 weeks? If we spend too much time working, we feel that much dreaded ‘mom guilt'; but if we don’t spend enough time working, our business suffers.

The plan: work in blocks of time. My children are older (17, 14. and 11) and therefore; like to sleep late. I have found that if I wake up early, I am able to get a lot accomplished before they even step out of bed. Thank goodness they are old enough now to feed themselves breakfast (and hopefully clean up) and they are thrilled to watch TV for a bit on those lazy summer mornings. By late morning, the conspiring usually begins. Texts are flying back and forth in anticipation of the day’s activities. That’s when they enter the office….. Notes with suggested plans are written and stuck under my nose while on the phone with a customer. Somehow, the girls think that if they whisper loudly, it is not a distraction. I know that my effective work time is over at this point….there is no use trying.

I have finally realized that I need to stop and make arrangements for each of them. The oldest one has been asked to babysit. The middle one wants me to pick up her friend and drop them at the mall. The youngest one wants to go with a friend to the pool. I trudge into my room, put on my swimsuit, load the kids in the car, pick up friend A, pick up friend B, drop friend A and middle daughter at mall, then go to pool with friend B and youngest daughter. While there, I attempt to respond to emails on my I-phone (thank goodness for technology). After I’ve done all I could, I succumb to the shining sun, the heat, and finally, the sounds of splashing and children’s laughter. Periodically, I check my email again, but mostly try to be in ‘mom mode’ for the two or three hours in the middle of the afternoon.

After a bit, I inform the kids that it’s time to leave and we go back to our house. I sit back in my office and return to bona fide productivity. I typically work until dinner, and then often times, return to the office late at night, once the kids are all settled. I have discovered after working at home for several years, that if the kids know that they will have their blocks of time with mom, they are more likely to leave me alone during my office times.

Sure, it’s exhausting. Sure, I could find a million other things to do to occupy my time rather than hanging at the pool with my daughters. But, in the end, I know how much those fun summer afternoons will mean to my children. So, if you receive an email from me at 1AM, now you know why! At least at that time I can finally hear the crickets chirping.

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Elizabeth Ball August 19, 2013 Reply

    This is great! I don’t have kids but I’m curious if you’ve ever considered costing the sums on hiring a part-time nanny/assistant to drive the kids around from say 11am-4pm to let you get through more during the working day and then completely switch off and be with them (minus your iPhone and emails) from dinner time onwards during the weekdays and obviously, completely during the weekends too. Or having an assistant to take over your emails etc while you run around?

    • Melissa Chelist August 20, 2013 Reply

      Thank you Elizabeth! Actually, I have thought a lot about that. In lies more guilt. My oldest one is 17 and gets paid to babysit and nanny other kids. I feel guilty having her nanny her sisters the entire summer (even if I pay her). Not to mention that sisters don’t listen to her as well as other kids do. I don’t want her to miss out on the money, experience, and future babysitting jobs.

      I also feel funny paying a different nanny when I have one myself.

      On those days when my kids are actually doing something in which I can join them, I WANT to join them and participate in summer fun with them.

      My children don’t really need a nanny, they just need a chauffeur! So I have struggled with the idea of paying an assistant when I am gone 30 minutes here and there just driving and dropping.

      Summer is so inconsistent. That is really the problem. I hate to pay a nanny or an assistant when I don’t really need one. Trouble is, there is not routine, so I don’t know in advance when I will need one or the other or neither.

      For mompreneurs with younger children, nannies and/or assistants are great ideas! As stressful as summer can be when trying to work, this has worked for me with the kids at the ages they are now.

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