Why We Need Working Playdates
Summer can be a tough time to get work done when you’re a working mom, especially if your kids are at home. In my case, my kids have half-day camps, so I naturally have half the time to work that I do during the school year.
For some moms, that is how their summer is designed – it’s a slowdown work-wise. I would love for that, but this is a busy summer and I have loads to get done to prepare for my book launch. And I have client work that must be done for my marketing consulting business. I can slow down to a certain point.
And, even if it’s not summer, there might be days during the school year when your kids are off, like Columbus Day or a teacher work day, and the rest of the world is still working. My clients still expect work to be done and deadlines to be meant, even with the random days off for my kids throughout the year.
And, if you’re a working mom, especially a part-time working mom, you need your time and efforts to be productive. You need your work time to count. And you’re looking for ways to be as efficient and effective as possible. I know that’s hard to do with your kids trying to get your attention or interrupt your work groove to let you know they’re bored.
How can I keep my Kids Entertained while I Work?
What solutions are there? You can sign up your kids for summer camp. In my case, I did that, but for half-day camp, because they’re still young. You can hire a summer nanny, sitter, or mother’s helper. This is an amazing option and I don’t want to discourage this. You might be in a situation, where you can’t find someone to help over the summer or maybe it’s financially challenging. You can ignore your kids, but that might backfire (at least it does in my situation). You can certainly set up activities for your kids, which is another great option. That is a bit of a challenge with our younger son, who is still pre-school age. He can’t be fully self-sufficient and entertain himself, even with activities set up for longer than about an hour at most. So, what else?
The Working Playdate
My recommendation is working playdates. Yes, working playdates! What is a working playdate, you might be asking? You and another mom or dad work and your kids play. It’s that simple. You and the other parent get work done and your kids have a playmate. Win-win, right?
The key is not to socialize with the other parent unless you’re taking a short break. You’re there to work. I recommend you set up in different parts of the house if you’re prone to chit chat. When I do working playdates in my house with a fellow working mom, I put the other mom in my husband’s office and I work at my desk in the alcove in the master bedroom. We aren’t even close to each other. We can take a break from time to time to chat and check up on kids, but we’re working 90+ percent of the time.
5 tips to get the most out of your networking playdates:
- If your kids are the about same age, great. If not, do your kids play with kids who aren’t their own age? Skip the working playdate if your kids won’t play with kids who aren’t their age.
- Make sure your kids aren’t tired or hungry and try to avoid times when this will be the case (e.g., skip afternoon get togethers if your kids need a nap). You know what your kids need and need to avoid, so don’t fight their natural rhythms.
- Have consistent access to the internet and a quiet place away from kids for both moms to work.
- Share where everything is upfront: restroom, cups, coffee pot (if either of you needs it), general rules of the house (e.g., no sliding down the banister, kids can play in the fenced in back yard, etc.).
- Make sure there are snacks for all kids at your home. And make sure snacks will appeal to all kids (e.g., cut up fruit and animal crackers). It seems like anytime kids start playing, one says “I’m hungry” and they all nod their heads, even when they’ve just eaten. The idea is to take something to give to all the kids, not only yours, whenever they do get hungry. Because they will.
Bonus: You can use this same idea for a networking playdate. Learn more about the networking playdate from my recent blog.
I hope your working playdate is productive and oodles of fun for your kids!
Have a tip on how you’ve made working playdates work for you? Leave a comment and share your good and bad experiences so that we can all learn.