Working life after your youngest child starts school

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So it’s finally arrived, that time in your life when your last child has started school. While there’s bound to be a part of you that feels sad, if you’ve been running a business around preschoolers there’ll be another part of you that’s very relieved!

My children are now in year 1 and 2, so I’ve had a full year with both kids in school. And although having the whole school day to myself to work has made life very much easier, it hasn’t been quite as straightforward as I expected. Here’s why and what I did:

1. You don’t have as much time as you think you do

Yes, you have a lot more time than you had before, but those hours from 9am when you get back from the school run to 3pm-ish when you need to set off again go by in a flash. And you’d be surprised how many open days, parent consultations, school assemblies, Christmas fairs etc you are invited to. Then there’s playing catch up after one school holiday and preparing for the next, as well as all the routine stuff you need to do around the house like washing, cooking and cleaning. Many of these are ‘invisible tasks’ that you can spend half the day on but still feel you’ve not achieved much.

True, it’s much easier doing this without a preschooler in tow, but your productivity isn’t going to go back to where it was before the kids were born unless you have help, and a lot of it. I’m thinking help from your partner, a cleaner and after school clubs.

2. You may have some catching up to do

You may well need to allocate some time to the backlog of jobs you haven’t got around to for the last few years. This could be anything from shopping around for a better deal on insurance, to taking a load of old kids’ clothes to the charity shop or giving the house a lick of paint.

After a few years of baby and toddler-based mayhem, you deserve a break, too! As mums of young children we put our needs at the bottom of the priority list, so try to give yourself a little ‘me time’.

3. You might no longer what you thought you wanted

I was so looking forward to having all that extra time when the kids were at school that I just assumed I’d just take the business I already had and do more of it. What I didn’t realise is that your last child starting school is a pretty big life transition. Not as big as having babies was, but a change nonetheless.

Any kind of life transition means you may wake up one day and realise you’ve had enough of the way things are. I didn’t want to simply do more of what I’d done before, I wanted to drop some things I didn’t like and try some new ones.

I also noticed some business activities that weren’t really bringing me results, but that I was still doing out of habit. It was time for a spring clean and a refocus.

Looking back a year on my life isn’t radically different, but I definitely needed to take  time to adjust to this new phase in my life as well as adjust my expectations of what is possible when your kids are at school!

Are all your children at school? What’s it been like for you?

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