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What happens when your day doesn’t go as planned?
Are you reactive, grumpy, and hard to be around? Or do you remain flexible and just change your plans a bit?
When you’re working at home with kids, interruptions happen. Things rarely go just as you’ve planned. In the past few weeks, I’ve had to readjust my plans at times because:
- My Owen had a seizure and fell into the arm of bench, and needed to go to the doctor.
- The baby was teething and needed a bit more loving.
- A bee stung one of the kids, and many, many tears were involved.
- My newly potty trained toddler still wants me to be by her side every single time.
- The electric wire keeping the pigs in failed and two of the four pigs escaped.
I could go on and on! Things impossible to plan for happen, each and every day. I never know what it will be, but I’ve learned my attitude to those things is essential. If I start moping or grumping or anything, I have eight kids watching and learning. Guess who joins in to the bad mood?
The Lord is teaching me it’s much better to remain flexible. After all, nothing that happens takes Him by surprise! So what do I do?
Teach the Kids to Be Flexible
Kids thrive in routine, it’s true! But, they must learn flexibility. You can have both I’ve learned, by having routine blocks.
Instead of a strict schedule tied to the clock, use routine blocks instead. Here are our main routine blocks:
- Table chores
- Morning chores
- 15 minute clean up
- Farm chores
- Family writing time
- Quiet reading time
- Quiet time
- Family play time
- Sibling play time/special time with mom
- Free time
My kids know what each of those blocks of time look like. They know what to do when I say do your table chores after each meal. They know the rotation for special time with mom during sibling play time.
Rearrange the Blocks
By purposefully teaching our schedule in blocks, I can rearrange them as needed.
When something comes up, I just shift the blocks around a bit. I might decide to combine reading and writing time into one half-hour chunk instead of doing both and having it take forty-five minutes.
I might scrap free time.
Or cut a subject or two out of school.
We might do school at night after Dad’s home to love on the little ones. Or play an epic game of walkie-talkie hide and seek at night for family play time instead of doing it during the day.
To teach flexibility, rearrange your blocks just because. Even when nothing comes up, move play time to after quiet time instead of before. Do reading time before lunch instead of after.
When you do this, you’re teaching your kids to be flexible. You’re teaching them quiet time looks the same no matter when you do it.
Work on Your Attitude
I still sometimes feel like a victim of circumstances. When something comes up and the day doesn’t go exactly like I thought it should, I don’t always have the best attitude.
I’m just a work in progress, and sometimes I fail.
Sometimes it’s my kids who point out my failures. Like when my teen pulls me aside and says, “Mom, why are you so grumpy right now? Do you need a hug?”
And yes, her hug helped, as did her words. It helped me remember something important.
No matter what happens, we have a choice to make. We can be reactive and grumble and mope. Or we can make the choice to roll with it. To be strong regardless of our circumstances.
Remember the kids are watching. And learning.
Have Several Work Periods
Throughout the day, I can easily work:
- In the early mornings
- During family writing time
- When it’s free time
- At quiet time
- In the evenings (my least preferred.)
When I’m in a period of freelance famine (like now…) I don’t need them all. And I make it a point to never fill up all of them. Because if I miss one, I need to be able to shift the work to another.
When I had to leave in the middle of the day to get a cut glued together, I just shifted my work around. I put in time that evening.
By leaving at least one of your work periods open each day, you increase your flexibility.
The Importance of Padding Your Deadlines
Since flexibility is essential when you’re growing your business with kids alongside you, remember to pad your deadlines. By giving yourself a due date before your client actually needs the work done, you’ve just created a buffer.
A buffer keeps you safe when distractions happen. It gives you more flexibility if you must miss a scheduled work time.
What Tips Can You Add for Remaining Flexible?
I’d love to hear your advice in the comments.
And I’d appreciate it if you took a moment to share with other moms working from home. Flexibility can help keep us all sane! 😀
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.