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Working Mom 3.0: Managing the summer home office

Stephanie Taylor Christensen writes about personal finance, small business, and consumer issues. She is the founder of Om for Mom Prenatal Yoga and Toning in Columbus, OH and Wellness On Less, a site dedicated to prioritized living and c...

Plan a summer that works

Unlike moms with obligations at the office, stay-at-home working moms have the freedom to enjoy summer pool days, library outings, and bike rides with the family -- every day. Of course, there is that little issue of getting work done from home in the midst of all that summer chaos. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how to plan for summer as a stay-at-home working mom.

About Working Mom 3.0

Mom reading with her daughter

Unlike moms with obligations at the office, stay-at-home working moms have the freedom to enjoy summer pool days, library outings, and bike rides with the family -- every day.

Organization and the work-at-home mom

Of course, there is that little issue of getting work done from home in the midst of all that summer chaos. In this issue of Working Mom 3.0, writer Stephanie Taylor Christensen explores how to plan for summer as a stay-at-home working mom.

The key to a stress-free summer as a stay-at-home working mom? Getting the family involved and committed to a new schedule that’s just as seamless as the one they follow in the school year. Here’s how.

Family on beach vacationWhat’s your perfect summer?

In a misguided attempt to keep summer "easy breezy," many families scrap their established routines. Unfortunately, that well-intended action is exactly what leaves us scratching our heads during August back-to-school shopping, wondering where the time went. Before summer begins, have each family member write down or describe what his or her ideal summer looks like, and make a list of the top summer priorities. When you’ve established a clear vision of what everyone would like to do this summer, you’ll have a road map for what needs to adjust, including finances, workloads, household chores, and daily schedules, and a "selling point" to get the whole family involved in sticking to a new summer routine.

Prioritize for summer plans

You likely prioritize your workload and client obligations during the school year around school and afternoon activities. Just as kids' daily schedules change with the end of school, so will your work routines. Considering the list of summer "wants," identify what in your routine can be adjusted, so that you can continue to maintain a rewarding work-life balance. For example, the stress of trying to work in a houseful of kids begging to go to the pool can be avoided by perhaps beginning work earlier on certain days, or devoting more hours to late-night projects than you do in the school year -- with the agreement that kids and your partner will help more with certain chores that you normally do, like making the beds, feeding pets, preparing food for dinner or picking up toys. If you have days with established client calls or deadlines, make arrangements with a neighbor to take turns hosting a play date or trip to the park, so you can both benefit from an empty house when needed.

Plan for new expenses

Though summer brings family fun, it can also mean more expenses, thanks to pool memberships, vacation planning and the fact that you may be more inclined to eat out when you’re at the park or pool. If you know that your workload will be affected by the summer schedule, thanks to more kids in the house or vacations, adjust your spending before you blow your summer budget and identify expenses you may be able to whittle down, including fuel costs, child care, gym memberships and housekeeping.

Working Mom 3.0

The modern woman is redefining what it means to have a successful career. Rather than feeling torn between climbing the corporate ladder and having a happy family life, many women are choosing to merge the two and transition careers from a traditional role to a more flexible one. Working Mom 3.0 is reinventing the definition of "working mom," as office hours are held at home and revolve around nap times.

This column begins by chronicling the experiences of Stephanie Taylor Christensen, a former marketing professional turned self-employed stay-at-home mom, writer and yoga instructor, as she strives to redefine "having it all" on her own time and terms.

More tips for working moms

Working Mom 3.0: Make your money work
Working Mom 3.0: Find the right job
Working Mom 3.0: Spring cleaning sanity savers

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