Why I’m taking off the summer holiday and just being mum.

Regular followers and friends will know I make no secret of the fact I take the summer holidays off to enjoy with the children.  Charlie is 11 this year and already started to wane from the idea of mum all summer! But things are a little different this year I NEED the summer holiday.  It’s been a funny old 6 months and something isn’t quite right.  Physically I feel fine, but mentally I’m just not back in my normal zone. I had hoped our escape to Corfu would rectify this but 7 days WiFi free have only heightened the fact something isn’t right.joanne dewberry holiday vibes

Why do I work from home? : 

I set up Charlie Moo’s back in 2008 just weeks before giving birth to our second child, Megan in order to be a full time mum, but also contribute to our family finances. As the children started school this business provided me with truly flexible family working hours I never miss anything at school, even last Friday when I managed to attend Sports Day at two different schools. Ultimately I’m doing something I love and enjoy going to work. But just lately I haven’t felt in love with my business, I haven’t felt excited going to work anymore and quite frankly there’s been a few days where I’ve vegged out in front of Netflix instead (Sorry Daddy Moo!). Emotionally things are high, you know where you haven’t processed things just right yet and find yourself crying whilst watching the GLOW finale (just love those wrestling girls!) or feeling agitated by things that shouldn’t matter to you but randomly do. Last time I felt like this I sold Networking Mummies.  I can feel there’s a big change coming but as of yet I’m not entirely sure what shape or form it will be.

It’s really important that we give ourselves “permission” and time to re-evaluate our lives and our business.  Part of your working from home self-care and wellness relies on being able to identify when things “aren’t quite right” and allowing yourself to stop and think. It’s very easy to get caught up in the “earning”, I get it I really do we’re a family of 5 our extra curricular activities mount to £200 a month (ouch).  The problem with “earning” can mean that things we want to do get pushed to the bottom of the list, developing a new workshop, writing that elusive second book, visiting more networking groups and this is what leads to a reduced enjoyment in your working day.

mums in business enjoying family life

Taking Stock :

You can’t give your business the mental space it needs when you are working in it, fact.  So utilising the downtime I’m kind of forced to take during the summer holidays, is a must but I also don’t want to disappear for 6 weeks as well that just doesn’t make business sense.

  • Schedule : I’ve already started to schedule content for Facebook and on the blog, this way it looks like you are still active as 6 weeks is a long time to fall silent.  Populating your Twitter feed also helps drive traffic to your website, using scheduling tools
  • Organise Your Inbox : Staying on top and keeping your inbox organised is a good start pointing, stick to the 4D technique daily to reduce overwhelm (Do It – Delete It – Defer It – Delegate It). Consider using an email autoresponder stating your children are on Summer Holiday and you aim to reply withing 24 hours etc … this takes the pressure off you and gives a clear directive to those who email you.
  • Pros and Cons : Make a list of all the jobs you love and those you hate.  Do more of what you love and less of what you hate, simple. For me this might mean I have to reassess what jobs I take on and who I work with or it might mean I need to employ a VA to help reduce the load.
  • Don’t leave things to last minute : I am terrible at organising myself which means I’ve been turning away projects and reviews because I feel like I’m in disarray and overwhelmed. Also I’ve not been enjoying this side of blogging much anymore.  I’m planning to get my to list up to date in July and start a fresh in September.
  • Declutter : Having a big clear out in my office is long overdue. I’ve party supplies stock everywhere, piles of books and stuff I really don’t need/want. It can be really easy in the summer to let your office become a dumping ground.
  • Clear Your Head : Bullet journaling is a great way to write down your thoughts, feelings and process things – I’m a big fan of brain dumping where you just literally write down everything that is running through your brain.

standing desk yo-yo mini

Getting through the summer :

When you’re self-employed it’s a simple equation working = money, not working = no money I’ve been slowly filling up our diary full of activities in order to ensure the summer is fun filled and ultimately budget friendly.

  • Key Events : I booked and paid for our holiday (5 days in Skegness) back in May, since then I have done a bit of research on things to do places to eat, booked a couple in advance and pitched for a cheeky blogger review. I also organised climbing Mt Snowdon as part of my #40before40 months ago too. This provides key events that everyone is looking forward too and also breaks up the 6 weeks a little.
  • Enjoy Your Surroundings : We are lucky enough to live on the edge of the New Forest which provides many a fun filled day.  Never underestimate the fun that children can have with a bike, tree to climb, river and a net.  Taking a picnic too also reduces the money spent on snacks, lunch and drinks as these can quickly add up.
  • Free Events : Hobbycraft, RNLI, PetsAtHome all have free events I’ve signed the children up to. Your local Library is also a hub of free activities as with previous years the children will sign up for the reading challenge and take full advantage of the weekly craft sessions too.
  • Team Up : Meet up with other mums in business, either to chat or co-work/co-parent it’s much easier to get things done if the children are entertained. Plus it’s nice to talk to someone who understands how you are feeling.  If your local keep an eye on my Self Employed Team Building Socials as I’ll be running some family orientated events.

Having a wall chart provides everyone (who can read) with a clear understanding of how the week is going to pan out, but it also gives you something to do each day which limits the chance of spending money unnecessarily.  During these activities try to provide the children with 100% of mummy, not half paying attention half on your phone. I call it a trade-off but Single Mother Ahoy! refers to it as “filling their cup” it basically means giving the children quality time where it’s just about them no phones and in return, they entertain themselves for a period of time and you work.  

Edited : Summer Holiday Planner 2019 added

summer holiday planner 2019

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  1. July 10, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    Great article Joanne, I hope you feel more refreshed after your well deserved break.
    I LOVE the planner , mine is printed off and I have started to complete it 🙂

  2. July 10, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    What wonderful advice Joanne, being self employed some of your points there truly resonated with me. My boy is also 11, so feel this could be a keystone summer to do fun childhood things before the teenager in him starts to emerge haha
    Thank you for these tips and enjoy your summer with your babies ❤️

  3. July 10, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    Great blog Joanne and refreshingly honest. Hope you get your mojo back soon. I love the flamingo themed holiday planner. Would you mind if I share it on my Flamingo Paperie business page? I will of course mention you and CY Wild Photography as the source.
    Ssrah x

  4. July 10, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    Great blog, it does all get too much sometimes. I’m loving work and the opportunities it gives me. But it’s full on all the time, so the kids don’t always get the best version of me.
    So this year we have pretty much 3 weeks of family time, even if some of these things are reviews.
    Enjoy switching off x

  5. July 10, 2018 / 4:35 pm

    We usually go away for the whole summer holidays and this will be the first one that we are not away. I need to start planning activities and day trips, so thank you for the reminders to start getting myself organised.

  6. July 16, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    I love this. I’d love to take the summer holidays off, but honestly I feel like if I take too much time off, it’ll be harder to jump back in! I do regularly take a week or so off though! xx

  7. July 17, 2018 / 7:10 am

    Enjoy your break, sounds like you deserve it! I swear by planner and scheduling. It’s so much work running a blog! People don’t realise all the little things we have to do.

  8. August 17, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    I too would love to take an entire summer off. My goal is summer 2019. A whole 6 weeks dedicated to having fun with my two girls who will then be 8 and 10. You blog post is inspiring. Thank you.

    • August 17, 2018 / 5:08 pm

      Aww thank you.
      I really hope you get your six weeks off next summer x

  9. October 20, 2019 / 12:44 pm

    I have wanted to visit Snowdonia for years and I was lucky enough to be taken here for my birthday this year. We decided to walk up to Snowdon via the Rangers path, it was an amazing walk and a bit of a challenge not being as active as I used to be. I actually found going down harder on the knees!

    The views are amazing! We started the climb at about 7.30 in the morning during the week so it was lovely and quiet, we only met a couple of cyclists on the way up until we reached the rail track where other paths merge. We did the obligatory selfie at the summit and were lucky enough to time it when it was quiet but when the trains arrive the queue to touch the summit can get silly. I am glad we walked up and didn’t get the train, you really feel like you have achieved something and ‘deserve’ to touch the summit!
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