Hi, I'm Laura and welcome to my blog! I'm a book publicist that works from home and this is about sharing what works for me while working the 'school hours.' I'll be writing about how I manage the juggle between work and parenting as well as highlighting other parents and their careers.
I woke up this morning not feeling my brightest (although who does at 6.30am?) and as I write this (it is currently 12.55pm), the feeling hasn’t really gone away. It is unusual for me to feel a bit ‘meh’ for so long but it is a feeling that I have come to recognise as it is so specific. It occurs around 3 times a year and the worst is always a few days after my daughter goes back to school at the end of August.
As I work from home, I notice the quiet that falls once she returns to school – after 6 weeks of noise filling the house, it at first is elating – peace and quiet! Being able to go to the loo without telling her, making drinks when I want etc… but after a few days, the elation disappears and I have to mourn the loss of the old routine, before I can move on to a new one.
So instead of ‘working’ through it – I’ve learn over the last few years that it doesn’t work for me, I embrace it and have a quiet day. Here’s what I do:
I eat anything and everything I want – just for that day, if I want chocolate for breakfast, then I’m having it. (I did today!)
A long, hot bath is always required, sometimes with a face mask too. (I’m in love with Garnier sheet face masks at the moment)
None of my cleaning routines get achieved. (Sorry Team TOMM)
I refuse to feel guilty for anything – for missing her, missing work or not being what I feel I should be doing. I truly wallow.
At 3pm, I shake it off, dust the biscuit crumbs off my clothes and go get her. I smile and move on.
This might seem a little strange but it truly works for me. Yes I will still miss her tomorrow but because I’ve had my moment of complete wallowing, I know I can now get myself back in gear and start with my new September routine.
ps I *may* have also eaten an entire packet of Jaffa cakes whilst writing the post…
Hello! I’m a bit out of practice with writing a blog post because I realise that it has been ages since I last posted one. I have been on “Mummy mode” for the past 6 weeks and finding time to blog as well as everything else was something I just couldn’t manage. I have missed it though and I’m back with new ideas and feeling revitalised.
How was your summer? As I type, the weather in the UK is deliciously warm after a pretty on-off summer. My daughter goes back to school on Thursday (29th August) and I’m slightly dreading it as I know that all the routines that I have been ignoring in August will now need to kick in. That means, work, house cleaning, meal planning – the lot. Everything to make my life and our household just that little more efficient and financially afloat!
I hit a pretty big anniversary this month, it has been 10 years (10 YEARS!!!) since I started freelancing and created my PR company. I didn’t even realise until the LinkedIn messages started coming through. I have let that sink in because in my head, I’ve not been self-employed for that long – but actually a decade, more than a quarter (just) of my life has been spent working for myself. Yay!
We have also lived in the countryside for 5 years now and I’m only just beginning to want to decorate the house in a significant way. It needs a bit of a refresh and I have been thinking about how I work and how important the environment around me is to working happily.
So, as with most times I have at least 24 hours to ponder on something, I’ve made a few short-term goals that I want to share with you. Nothing major, but something to get me focused. They are:
To decorate the room next to the kitchen where I work. This is Amy’s playroom and our dining room but from where I sit, I can look down the room and out into the garden. Currently it is a dirty white and I’d like to freshen it up with a more striking colour. Plus, I think it is time to declutter some of her toys as we make the slow transition from needing lots of toys around to creating space for her new interests.
Search for a new client. Ideally I would like to work with another client on a longterm basis – this not only helps to give me more financial stability but I find the work more rewarding – I get to see over a longer period how I have helped the client.
Get back to Yoga everyday. This makes such a difference to my health and happiness but in August, I’ve definitely not kept this up. I use the Yoga with Adriene Monthly calendar which is great. I print it out and pop it on my fridge – holding me accountable everyday.
And that’s about it! I’ll write about how I intend to start my search for a new client on another post later but I think these are all do-able. I just need a bit of determination and focus!
What are you focusing on once the children are back in school? I’d love to know – it really helps to keep me on track.
I’ve been meaning to review this book for sometime and as always, work and life have gotten in the way! I was initially introduced to the author via the lifestyle editor, Erica Davies. She hosted an event with the author that I attended.
The book’s sub-title “Simple Steps to Streamlining Your Life, at Work and at Home’ really does explain the book. There is no stone that is left un-turned, not only does it feel like a conversation with a close friend but it actually gives you the tools to actually follow what she is saying.
Broken down into chapters with clear headings and illustrations, you can dip in and dip out of this book when the need arises. I found the diary, budgeting and planning your working day sections really helpful. I’ve implemented a few of the suggestions and they have made a massive difference. Anna uses her own working life as the example to which you can apply to your schedule. She, like me, works from home and is self-employed. She needs to plan, remain motivated but also accepts that from time to time, she’s going to want to read a book all morning instead of answering emails. Her honesty is refreshing and reassuring at the sametime.
I am defiantly applying some of her rules to help me become more disciplined with this blog. I feel that in my working life, I do plan and schedule for work projects but with this blog, it gets a little…hazy. She’s also a big fan of bullet journals, something I’m considering but one baby step at a time.
Lastly, the book is truly about the process of editing – editing your day, your home and your work life – choosing the elements that make you happy, keep you less stressed (there is a big chapter on financial planning) and also removing any of the ‘stuff’ that doesn’t add to your situation.
I found it really helpful and I can often be found heading back into it on certain subjects. I’ve subscribed to Anna’s You Tube channel and love her honest approach. She’s somebody that we can all learn from.
When I started this blog, I was keen to connect with other parents who were passionate about finding solutions to the parent/work juggle. I was thrilled when I became a follower of Beyond the School Run which is ran by Louise Webster. Working in publishing, I make it my business to be aware of books in an area that I am particularly passionate about and I’m looking forward to sharing a review of her book, A New Way for Mothers in another post. I was delighted when Louise agreed to be part of my How I Work series because she is so determined to help those who are looking to work but have children too – something you may notice I am a strong advocate of too!
I run the platform during school hours and in the windows available during school holidays. My role involves, sharing content daily with our community, we have a weekly schedule ranging from Monday motivation, to wise words Wednesday and Fashion Friday. I communicate via our FB pages, Twitter and instagram. I also focus on preparing our fortnightly newsletter and making new connections, speaking with people in this space and potentially finding ways to work together. The Beyondtheschoolrun website features links to various connections and opportunities and I am regularly engaging with those connections or identifying new ones. I work on the PR of my book ‘A New Way for Mothers’ which often involves speaking events or working with the media. I am currently working on a program to support the workplace.
3. Where do you work?
I have a small office at the top of our house. I love it. It only has my work in there and items that inspire me. As soon as I walk in I feel like I could be anywhere.
4. How did you get to this point in your career?
Before children I worked in PR and ran a PR agency that I set up. About a year after having my first child, I sold the company and took a year out- at which point we moved out of the London and had my daughter (my second child). It was during this time that I started to see for myself and others the barriers for parents in working alongside caring and that’s when I started to develop Beyondtheschoolrun.
I have been growing it in the hours available to me – which is what Beyondtheschoolrun is all about. I have a deep passion for the collective potential of parents when utilising their skills in the hours available to them.
5. The best part of my job is…?
I love hearing from people who have somehow benefitted or been inspired by my work in some way – whether that’s connecting with a flexible job role via the platform, an opportunity or reading my book. Beyondtheschoolrun has also taken me to places I would never have imagined, No.10 Downing Street and has connected me with dreams I never imagined possible such as writing my book ‘A New Way for Mothers.’
6. The worst part of my job is…?
Working out how to make the business model work. I am working in this new way that I explore in my book ‘A New Way for Mothers’ and also growing a business in a new way.
7. Favourite time-saving trick?
It may be contrary but taking time to exercise – the 30 minutes you put in can give you so much back. I find so much clarity after I have exercised, whether that’s yoga, running etc. It is not so much about the time that you have but what you achieve within that time and finding your flow is really important. I write about this in more detail in my book.
8. Best advice for anyone working 9 to 3?
Be kind to yourself. It’s not a race we’ll all get to where we dream of just focus on your steps, don’t compare and try to collaborate.
I don’t know about you but the forthcoming school holidays always fill me with joy and dread. Joy that I get to spend time with my gorgeous girl but dread because I still need to find time to work.
Full disclosure – I take a financial hit during the holidays. I’m not truly working – instead I reduce my hours massively and take on new projects that start in September. I posted about how I save before the holidays in this post and I’m currently beavering away to try and set up work from September.
I do this because I never want to feel torn between choosing work over time with my daughter. I am really LUCKY that I can do this because of my freelance lifestyle. My work tends to be on a project by project basis. I’m not forgetting this and we all know the benefits AND the negatives of a freelance gig but it is a choice I am currently choosing to make.
So during the holidays I do:
Check my email – everyday and I answer anything pressing from my phone.
Work for an hour every morning and in the evening.
Check in with clients – wish them a happy summer or just remind them that I’m ready to start in September
Network through meeting with ex-colleagues for a drink or coffee when I’m child-free.
Plan a day every fortnight when I am child-free and can binge on work stuff/admin
Revise any plans/goals for the Autumn
Assess my financials – where am I in invoicing/earnings.
I can thoroughly recommend that you have a look at the article here by Skills you need website.