I have two boys (6 and 4), and being able to work around them was one of the reasons I started RLC Words. This half term is the first school holiday that I’ve encountered. Now, I know that I am hardly the first person to discover what a balancing act it is to try working during the school holidays, but this week has been something of a revelation to me (and it wasn’t finally mastering a successful pancake flip). Here are five things I’ve learned.

1 – Planning a great outing on the first day is too high a standard to maintain for a full week. Do something boring for the first few days, and the rest of the week won’t be marked with unfavourable comparisons to “the best day of the holidays EVER” that you managed to achieve on Monday. Begging for another equally good activity will usually take place when I’m trying to work.

2 – If you’ve got to fit work into any bit of silence you can, don’t try and fit food shopping in as well. With children, the weekly shop takes about nine times longer than it does on your own. Supermarket home deliveries are truly the boon of the home worker during the holidays.

3 – Sending them for “Rest Time” is a good idea in principle. In term time, I have three hours every day to devote to work (and a bit of eating) while they are both safely housed in our local school and preschool. For three hours, peace reigns. “Rest Time” (upstairs in separate rooms with a DVD each) bought me maybe an hour – but it was better than nothing. Until the Thomas the Tank Engine DVD was finished, and then all I could hear was “MUUUUMEEEEEEEEEE”.

4 – Don’t listen to the little voice that says it’s a great opportunity to get back into Davina McCall’s fitness DVD, after a full year’s break. My legs are still screaming, and I still can’t chase them round the house without crying a bit.

5 – I’m going to need to do a lot more planning for the summer holidays!

Edit: For a peep into the future, find out how I got on a year later, and whether I learned any lessons from this first half term of self-employment: https://rlcwords.co.uk/2019/02/22/half-term-did-i-learn-my-lessons-from-last-year/

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