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Juggling balls in a heatwave can be a messy sweaty business!

Anyone who believes all women can multi-task naturally haven’t met me yet! In my quest to be a ‘super woman’ rather than the cape-wearing Superwoman in the movies, I’ve finally accepted that I am not perfect and one of the skills I’ve had to consciously develop rather than pretend to have in bucketfuls is the ability to do many things at once – on the occasions I try, I generally do a few things badly and wish I’d just focused on one at a time!

But as a working Mum, there isn’t always the luxury of only having one goal. This week is a classic example – it’s half-term (again!). My husband works away 50% of the time, there are very few holiday clubs that would suit my three children (and who has a second mortgage to pay for them anyway?!) and one of my major goals with launching my own business was to spend more quality time with them – but there’s so much to do in these early days and I can’t justify a whole week off – yet! Whether you run your own company or work for someone else, it’s tough to fit in all of the childrens holidays with the never-ending list of ‘to-do’s’ so I have finally learned to do the thing that used to come so hard for me – ask for help and accept every bit I get!

I’m lucky to have retired local parents who love spending time with their grandchildren – but they’re not as young as they used to be and I want them to enjoy the time with them, not see it as an unpaid job. So this week, for a couple of days, they’re here with me at home for a few hours – those half-days are scheduled in my diary as ‘work-time’ and I can focus 100% (with the occasional interruption of nosey little people coming to see who Mummy is ‘zooming’ with!) on achieving the day’s tasks. When they are done, I can shut the office door and take out quality time with the children – not always as easy as it sounds, there’s an age gap of almost six years between my eldest son and twin girls – but that’s where the best most generous Mum friends come in! For two days this week, my son has been asked on playdates at friends houses, and I’ve stopped feeling guilty about biting their hand off at the invitation knowing I may not be able to return the favour in the near future. My best friend gave me the best advice when I first became a Mum. She said two things – ‘choose your battles’ and ‘rent a friend at any given opportunity!’ – and I do both, with pride!

They say it takes a community to raise a family – the modern community may not be a village of selfless individuals these days but if you look hard enough, there are always family, friends, neighbours and school Mums that can share the load – so take what you can when you can!

If that support isn’t so readily available for whatever reason, be kind to yourself. Look at the next school holiday (blimey, it’s the long one!), get out your diary and plan your days in blocks.

When you’re at your most productive, work and find the children something they can do without too much adult supervision. Make your eldest child the supervisor and pay them pocket money! When the work is done, take time out with your little people and embrace every second. Talk to your family about why Mummy works and what you’re doing so that instead of feeling guilty about not being with them for a couple of hours, they can feel proud of what their Mum is achieving and how it will positively impact them now and in the future – they are watching everything you do and will take so many life lessons from you that seeing how well you can juggle (even when the occasional ball drops!) is just one of them (and between me and you, that one extra sweet or hour on the ipad won’t do any harm, they’ll be back at school next week!!)

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