Summer lovin’: Entrepreneur life with young kids

As a business owner, a wife and a mom of four, I am often asked this question in June, “How do you work and get things done during the summer?”

Now that my boys are 9 to 17 years of age, it is much easier than it used to be. My boys no longer want ‘mom’ hanging around or telling them how to live their summer days. And the summer of 2019 will be even easier because my oldest is driving and our 14-year-old can take the bus. But if I had to look back and study how I ‘did it all’ over the last 16 years, I would call myself a Rockstar. Well, I would call my husband, R.H., and I Rockstars because it wasn’t just me. 

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My take on running a business during the summer when the kids are home 24/7.

Entrepreneur life with young kids is never easy. I remember when Nate, our oldest, was born in the summer of 2002. I was in my first year of business and I was so excited to have a baby in my life. But it was impossible to balance a newborn while working on projects, meeting clients, and balancing (which doesn’t exist) being a wife, mom and let’s not forget trying to take care of myself. I went back into my office four days after Nate was born. Four days!

I remember nursing while talking on the phone, working on the computer or when using the washroom. Nate had a lot of tummy time, bouncy chair time and swing time in my office. I also worked as efficiently as possible when he slept. I made it work – I did what needed to be done.

entrepreneur life with kids – the young years nursing

The truth be told for the first 16 months of Nate’s life I suffered from post-partum depression. I loved my life, but the responsibilities were just too much too quickly. After finding the right balance of medication, learning self-care and moving into our first house (we lived in an apartment when Nate was born) things started to come together. Nate had more space to play, and the baby gate was our best friend until I tripped over it and landed on my face. But that is another story.

The entrepreneur life with young kids

When we had our second child, Wil, I was relieved because it meant that Nate would have a buddy to play with. Though I did forget that I needed to go through the infancy stage all over again and this kid wasn’t going to come out of me walking. Having two boys under the age of three, was a challenge. I remember a lot of tears and sleepless nights as I would work through the night so that I could be with them during the day. This meant I would sleep when they napped. I did what I had to do to run a business and raise kids.

But it became too much for me.

We ended up doing what was best for Nate, and we placed him in daycare for three days a week. Nate had a rocky start but then loved being at ‘school.’ The daycare was only a two-minute drive or 10-minute walk from our home. I remember popping over and checking on him, and him telling me to leave. Placing Nate in daycare was the hardest decision, but the best and most rewarding decision for everyone.

entrepreneur life with kids – the young years summer working mom

The entrepreneur life with multiple young kids

Fast forward to when the boys were four and two, you find us in a new home, larger than the first, and me pregnant with baby number three. The business grew so much that I was working days and nights to fulfil client projects. I remember nights sitting at my desk, watching the sun go down and then rise again, without leaving my office, unless for a pee break. The business became so successful that I decided that I needed help, and that is when my husband joined the company.

That summer, with R.H. working with me, you would think that life got easier, right? Wrong! At first, it was harder because I was so used to doing things my way. I was so used to raising the boys my way and taking care of the house my way that when R.H. started working from home, it caused friction in our marriage.

I remember one day we put the boys in the backyard to play and the gate was locked, so we had no worries…until we looked out the front window and Nate and Wil were playing in the front yard. Bring on the panic attack! Nate figured out how to pick the lock on the gate. That is when we knew we needed to be more hands-on as parents. 

Figuring out what works

With young boys at home and another on the way, we decided that we would switch up our schedules. R.H. would work from 9 am to 5 pm (like most people in the world), and I would work from 3 pm to 12 am. This way, our boys would only be ‘on their own’ for two hours. Those two hours were spent watching cartoons, playing in their rooms or paying in our office.

On paper, figuring out what works for my entrepreneur life with young kids seemed easy, but it was hard to pull off. Clients wanted access to me during the day, and I was trying so hard to be a full-time mom. It posed a few challenges; I lost a client (a young man who didn’t get it), and I was tired. But in the end, I got to be a mom. I did whatever I had to, to make it work, and it did work. You can make it work too!

Tips for entrepreneur parents who have their kids home this summer:

  1. Create your work schedule around them.
    The best thing I did was to work around my kids’ summer schedule. I created my schedule to fit into theirs. I was able to spend time enjoying the summer with them, and it removed any resentment that I would have had for them interrupting me while working.
  2. Inform your clients.
    I would create the summer schedule in May. This way, I could give my clients 4 to 6 weeks notice as to what would be happening in the months to come. This saved my business, and I know because the first year I switched things up without telling my clients, well let’s just say things went a little sideways for a bit, which added stress to my life.
  3. Daily schedule for the kids.
    Create a daily schedule and hang it on the fridge. This way, Nate (Wil was too young) knew what was happening. It would show the time for T.V., naps, reading, going outside, and when Mom and Dad would be working. We trained the boys to understand the schedule. I always tried to do something fun once a week, something we all would look forward to.
  4. Camp!
    One simple, small word that can change your stress levels, guilt levels and give you sanity. There are always two weeks during the summer that are crazy in our office, and this is because of deadlines. These deadlines were and are still, to this day, unchangeable. During these two weeks, I find a camp for the boys to go and enjoy. They maybe don’t always love it, but I always make sure they are fun-filled camps that exceed my expectations.

    Summer Camp - Entrepreneur Life - Young kids
  5. Grandparents and family.
    If you can, ask family members if they can help out for a few hours one day a week. Choose a day where you may need some focus-time to complete a project, meet with clients or take the time for self-care. If possible, give the family and kids the home, and you leave to work elsewhere. This takes the stress off of the family members to think of something to do.
  6. Let go.
    Remember, summer is a crazy time, with no fixed schedule. You need to be okay with the kids getting extra screen time, sleeping longer, being messy, staying in their pyjamas and sometimes driving you bonkers. Just let thoughts of perfection go. Enjoy the messy times and know that life goes back to normal in only two short months.

Entrepreneur life with young kids is never easy, especially during the summer months, but it can be done! Next week, I am continuing the conversation about the middle years and how things change as you raise six to 12-year-olds during the summer, while you work and grow your business.

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