It happened again. A group of moms I hang out with met for coffee after school along with the kids for an impromptu play date and my daughter and I weren’t there.
With school starting, this is something that I experience often. Why? I can’t be around for impromptu, spur-of-the-moment play dates and other after-school activities since we have a home-based business and are usually tied up with something work-related.
As Mandi Ehman writes in How to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too , “You’ll have to make sacrifices along the way. You may have to say no to play dates or invitations. You’ll have to plan your schedule around the things you need to get done for work.”
So, yes, missing out on after-school play dates is one of the small sacrifices that we make when choosing to stay at home and work. Does it bother me? At times, yes. Will I want to change things? Of course, no! So, I strive to find a balance. Note I say “strive”.
Here is how we, my husband and I, try to give our daughter after-school activities that she enjoys while managing our business as well.
Choose After-School Activities with Care
Our daughter loves to color. Well, scribble with crayons really. But she loves it. So, we’ve signed her up for coloring classes thrice a week where she goes with a friend of hers. She gets to do an activity she enjoys, meets a friend after school and since the class takes place right across the road, we don’t waste time commuting to pick and drop her.
So, choose an activity that your child really enjoys and will look forward to. See if you can team up with another mom so that your little one has some company as well. And if you’re lucky enough to find a class close to your home, well, sign up now! **laughing**
Play Date Planning
Our daughter, being the sociable toddler she is, loves to meet her friends after school. So, we put a little thought into planning for play dates and schedule them either once every other week or on the weekend.
During the week, the play date is scheduled on a day when I don’t have much work lined up for the evening and she doesn’t have her art class to attend.
It does mean that I may have to work a bit extra to finish off work the day before, but like I said, there are small sacrifices to make when you want to be a mompreneur.
Make After-School Activities Easy on Your Kids
Don’t just sign up for any after-school activity for the sake of giving your toddler something to do. Think about what they’re good at or what do they need to work on and then decide.
Weave the activity into your school routine and ensure that your toddler naps before he heads for class else he’ll only be cranky and you’ll be irritable. Ask me how I know!
Make After-School Activities Easy on You
It isn’t easy being a work-at-home parent or mompreneur. We all know that. So, when you sign up for an after-school activity, plan to make them easy on yourself as well. On days you have to take your preschooler for art, music or sports, don’t schedule unnecessary work. Do only what’s essential.
See if you can take turns with another mom to pick and drop the kids. That way, you can use the time your toddler’s away to work or do your household chores.
Plan your meals and cook in advance if possible. So, you don’t come home from an after-school play date or art class with a ravenously hungry toddler in tow.
Part of being a work-at-home mom is realizing that we cannot do the same things as other moms. So, if you know a mom whose child goes to yoga class, followed by piano lessons and then, to a play date, don’t try to be her. Along with managing your home, family and yourself, you have a business to run. So, make it easy and don’t cram SO much into your day that by the end of it, you’re glad its ended.
How do you deal with after-school activities and play dates as a work-at-home mom?
Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt