Harvest Festivals, Halloween Parades, Pumpkin Patch Field Trips, Thanksgiving Feasts, Christmas Plays, Fall Break and Winter Break…if you’ve got school-aged children in school then the holiday season can be a time of both joy and stress! Managing your child’s hectic schedule during the fall and winter months can be a huge challenge for working parents. Depending on your work situation, there are multiple strategies that you can take that will allow you to keep your job while sharing your little one’s precious moments:
The “Tag Team” Approach
If you live in a two-parent household, you and your partner can figure out a way to share the special-event appearances. Perhaps you can alternate dates, or maybe one of you has flexibility during the day and becomes the “Field-Trip Parent” while the other commits to evening activities. Spreading the love this way will ease the pressure of one parent or the other repeatedly needing to take time off of work. The obvious bonus to this approach, of course, is that your children will get the benefit of both parents (or even Grandma) actively participating in their events.
The “Quality Not Quantity” Approach
You can’t possibly make every single event without losing brownie points at work or running yourself ragged. So, you can decide to choose a handful of events that you can commit to and make it to those. This works well in helping you maintain your sanity, keeping your boss (mostly) happy, but can also bring on the Mommy Guilt in heavy doses. Though your physical presence may be less, you can make sure that it counts by going the extra mile to volunteer during the events you attend, whether it be working the register at Turkey Bingo Night (been there) or taking the photos for the Costume Parade.
The “Make It Work” Approach
If you feel comfortable talking to your boss about alternative work arrangements, this method could provide a perfect solution to a difficult problem. On days when you’re on pie duty for the Holiday Party, plan to work from home; that way you can prepare your dish at home before heading out to the event (instead of the mad dash to the grocery store before zooming into the school parking lot). Also, chances are the commute to your child’s school will be easier if they attend school close to where you live, allowing you to miss less of the workday. You could also try a compressed work week and work extra hours Monday through Thursday so that you can take Friday off to help set-up for the Kwanzaa Play.
No matter what approach you choose (and it might be a combination!), the key is to be flexible, do what works best for you and your family, and most of all, experience as many of these special moments as you can.
How do you balance your children’s many school activities during the holiday season?