This week is really crazy for me. Our 3-year old son Leonard caught some incredibly infective virus, so that all family members had the disease in these 5 days. The only encouraging thing is that the acute period is rather short. Still this little madcap has to stay at home during the week, and it’s getting extremely hard to concentrate on anything serious when the house is full of loud sounds and you are constantly asked to do something: “mom, warm some food”, “mom, open the door”, “mom, wash my hands”, “mom, play with me, pleeeease”.
When at last you find a minute and try to work at least a little, another catastrophe happens, and it happens over and over again. Sometimes I think that getting older Leo brings me more fuss and bother rather than in his infancy, and I feel happy that January is comparatively slow. It appeared to be a serious problem to combine an extremely active kid with freelance business. It’s one thing when a babysitter or grandparents can help from time to time, but it’s totally another when your kid attends the child care for a few days and then stays at home for a week because of another virus. You cannot ask for someone’s help because you don’t want to share the infection, and you cannot take a sick day because you work for yourself.
What is the way-out? How to get through this period with minimal losses?
From my personal experience I worked out only some tricks which help me to carve out time for work and rest:
- A kid should be as independent as possible. My husband and I are constantly trying to teach Leo how to do the most important things by himself. First of all, it prepares the kid to day-care and school, while parents get more time for work and other daily routine.
- Midday nap. It is a real help for parents. Although my son is not a sleepyhead, even an hour of his nap gives me some energy surge. Moreover, during this quiet hour I can do the most important tasks requiring complete concentration. Cheerful child is one more bonus of the nap.
- Do household chores together with your kid. I cook, clean the rooms, and do all other daily routine together with Leo. Sometimes he even helps me. This trick helps me to reserve all quiet hours and minutes (when my son is asleep or is looked after by his father) for more important things.
- Teach your child to entertain himself/herself. It’s a great achievement if your child is able to sit some time alone looking through books or building castles. While it allows parents to breathe freely, it also plays important role in forming kid’s creativity and imagination.
- Love your child and enjoy spending time together. Probably this is the most important thing. Sometimes I have to remind myself about it. When you relax and don’t perceive your child as a burden, it becomes easier to balance your working day. On the contrary, when the only thought in your mind is how to get rid of the kid and start doing all those necessary things, your kid starts claiming more attention than ever and becomes the most petulant child in the world.
All these methods are rather effective when used together, however they are not so easy to implement and require much efforts and will-power. Finally, there are days when you are tired, sleepy or moody, and this masterful game called ‘freelance + child care’ becomes a struggle. How do you manage in this case? You cannot postpone all your projects or expect understanding from all your clients. Do you have some other tricks? I am especially interested in your experience with 3-4-year old children who are already unbelievably active like small tornadoes, but at the same time they are too small to be left alone for a long time. Comments regarding other ages are also welcome: my son grows up by the second, and I have one more child in my plans for the future, so advice from experienced freelance parents would be valuable.