Our Office’s Family Summer Survival Guide

Author: one tough job

"Necessity is the mother of invention." — Plato

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, and many of us at One Tough Job are adopting the “good enough” approach as we juggle working from home with kids. We surveyed our team to see how their families are adapting to more time at home together. Here are their creative solutions and advice for other parents.

What are your plans for the summer with the kids in your life?

  • The self-structured approach: “My child's schedule includes sleeping in every day and doing nothing. Hey, it worked for our parents!”
  • Activities galore: “I’m teaching him to cook and bake, and we go for scooter and bike rides around the neighborhood. We also ‘camp’ in the backyard with campfires and s’mores!”
  • Vacationing responsibly: “We have booked a few 2-3 day mini-vacations to go camping or to a lake house, to break up the summer. We will be the only family there, so we’ll be safe but get some much needed outdoor and water time.”
  • Getting outside: “As much as weather permits, we encourage as much playing out in the yard as possible.”
  • Classic summer staples: “Fishing, BBQs, hitting up as many ice cream places as possible, and walking the kid and the dog.”

What are some of your strategies to balance being a parent and working full-time?

  • Communicate schedules: “I put a post-it note next to my workspace that has my schedule for the day, which lets my older child know when I’m free and when we can take a break together.”
  • Prioritize family time: “We make lunchtime a family activity/family time, making sure to set this time aside from work. I also structure my work time to be as productive as possible so I can take short breaks and spend time with my child.”
  • Reassure yourself: “Remind yourself that it’s hard, but not impossible to do it all. Just do the best you can. Also, expert use of mute and video for Zoom calls is totally a thing, especially to manage when you need to be fully present for your children.”
  • Set boundaries (and save time with emoticons!): “I work at the dining room table because my children needed me to be a part of the family during the day. I only head into a closed room for important conference/video calls to show my children which calls are interrupt-able and which ones they can think a second time about. If my daughter knows I’m on a call, she can pop her head in and let me know I have a message waiting from her on my phone. Replies with emoticons have been good for in-between communication.”
  • Make the most of milestones: “I'm teaching my son to walk so he can fetch me paperwork and lunch while I’m working.”

What are the things you are looking forward to the most?

  • “Drives up to the beach at the end of the day.”
  • “Camping and spending more time outside, finding new things to do with my child, and eventually reconnecting with family and friends (in small doses).”
  • “Long weekend hikes early in the morning and drive-in movies.”
  • “Take-out dinners, eating outside, and on occasion, ice cream for dinner!”
  • “Visiting the zoo… ours has a drive-thru safari!”
  • “Heading up to Maine for my son’s first birthday.”

As you navigate challenges this summer, don’t forget that it’s normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed. We are all doing our best in unusual circumstances, and resources are available to help.

Do you have any tips or advice to add to our list? Email us at onetoughjob@childrenstrustma.org.

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