Spring Break Drama Mama: Navigating Work and Kids with Compassion and Collaboration

Spring Break Drama Mama: Navigating Work and Kids with Compassion and Collaboration

I am dreading my children’s upcoming spring break. In the past, we have gone on family vacations or they have gone to their grandparents. However, this year those options are not available. I work from home and am swamped which is one of the reasons we are not taking vacation. The thought of my children (8, 10, and 14) at home while I am working has me freaking out! I am totally stressed about how to keep them busy and out of my hair while I get some work done without them wreaking havoc and chaos in the house. Can you help?

No Spring Break Drama Mama

Dear No Spring Break Drama Mama,

Navigating the dynamics of working from home while your kids are on spring break can be really challenging. It's completely understandable to feel stressed about managing both your work responsibilities and ensuring your children are occupied without bringing down the house. Leaning in with a compassionate and empathetic approach can help you create an understanding and collaborative environment.

Let’s start by encouraging open communication and understanding between you and your children:

  1. Connect with Empathy: Before diving into expectations and plans for spring break, take a moment to have a heart-to-heart connection with your children. Start by really listening to how they are feeling about spring break. What are they excited about? Do they have any worries, including about you and your work schedule? Have they given any thought to how they would like to spend their days? Acknowledge their excitement for the break and express understanding for any concerns they may have about your work demands.
  2. Express Your Needs: Share your own feelings and needs with honesty and vulnerability. Let your children know that while you're excited to spend time with them during spring break, you also have work commitments that require your attention. Letting them peek into your world helps them better understand your needs such as focused quiet time to get stuff done with trust and peace of mind that they are safe and engaging in activities that are supporting their wellbeing. 

Now, let's explore some strategies to keep your children engaged and minimize chaos during this time:

  1. Co-create a Schedule: Partner with your children to create a flexible schedule that balances your work time, time together, and time supporting their activities and interests. Encourage them to contribute ideas and suggestions, creating a sense of ownership and collaboration.
  2. Empower with Choices: Let your children have a say in the schedule (for example what activities they want to do and when they want to do them, what snacks to have, if and when they would enjoy hanging out with friends, etc). 
  3. Respect each other's space: Set clear boundaries around your workspace and their play space. Encourage open dialogue about honoring each other’s needs, and be willing to adjust as needed. It is helpful to let your children know of times that you have no flexibility around space and quiet as well as times where you can stretch a bit (for example, go to a room farther from where they are or work from a venue outside of the house). 
  4. Problem-Solve Together: It can be challenging to share space and conflicts will inevitably arise. Agreements may be broken. When this happens, approach the situations with compassion and empathy. Aim to identify underlying needs and together find creative solutions to meet them. For example, if noise is distracting during calls, consider creating a more detailed calendar highlighting times that require quiet. You can also highlight (using a different color) times where there is absolute freedom with noise and other times where the volume can be somewhere in the middle. 
  5. Celebrate the Wins: Take time each day to celebrate what went well - whether it’s learning something new, finishing a task, sharing a connected moment, or successfully keeping an agreement and how that made life more wonderful for you. By acknowledging these times, we can strengthen our family bond and show appreciation for each other’s efforts. 

So, there it is - a blueprint for what I am hoping will be a wonderful and fulfilling spring break. With some understanding, open and honest communication, compassion and empathy, and of course a whole lot of fun, you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime. 

Wishing you luck and remember, webe in this together!

Best wishes,


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