Summer lovin’: Entrepreneur life with pre-teens

Last week, I wrote about running a business from home during the summer, with little ones running around. Today I am sharing my ups and downs of entrepreneur life with pre-teens during the summer. Just thinking about this all I hear in my ears is, “Mooooommmm! I’m bored!” In the beginning, day after day, I would sit at my desk and hear those famous words. During those summers, I wanted to change my name.

entrepreneur life with pre-teens - bored kid

Have you been there? Please tell me that I am not alone on this one?!

I remember breathing a sigh of relief, thinking that because the boys were getting older, I could run ‘business as usual’ (whatever that may be – who’s kidding who here?) and the boys would fend for themselves. But nope! For boys ages 6 to 12 years, they still expected mom to create a magical summer for them. They wanted me to figure out their schedule. They looked to me when they were hungry or bored, and it was exhausting!

One summer, instead of taking on the responsibility of creating my boys’ schedule so that they would be happy, busy and would leave me alone, I decided that it would be free time all summer. They could do what they want, when they want, how they want, and eat what they want when they want. For the first couple of weeks, this worked. They were independent, carefree, and every morning they would let me know what they would be doing for the day. Well, after two weeks I began to hear, “Mooooommmm! I’m bored!” Oh man, did my plan backfire!

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Creating a summer plan for an entrepreneur life with pre-teens

In the course of one evening, I created a summer plan that was sure not to backfire. This plan had to be different than the plan I created when the boys were young because our businesses were booming now. Yes, I said businesses – we built another business during this timeframe. Our businesses needed both R.H. and me to be “all-hands-on-deck” for the summer months. So, taking turns in the office was not an option. This plan had to keep the boys busy, having fun and loving their summer.

entrepreneur life with pre-teens - summer plan

The summer plan:

  1. Let them sleep in.
    I allowed the boys to sleep in. No alarm clocks for the summer. This gave R.H. and I time in the morning to get work done. We got into the office around 7 am and got a couple of hours of work done before the boys got up for the day.
  2. Fill the cupboards.
    Cupboards are always full and the boys still know I will not cook for them three times a day. It is up to them to fend for themselves. I make sure they have good, healthy choices by having fresh fruits and vegetables cut up (heaven knows they wouldn’t cut them up when they were younger) in the fridge. There are always bins of healthy, dry snacks in the cupboard. I always make sure there are muffins in the house because when there is “nothing to eat” oatmeal chocolate chip muffins are a fan favourite.
  3. Jumbo Freezies are king.
    No joke! When the boys were younger, Jumbo Freezies gave me so much time in peace because the boys had to eat them outside and because they are so big, I didn’t hear or see the boys for at least 30-minutes. This also got them outside to play because once they were done their Freezies, they were in their treehouse, playing sports or having water fights.
  4. Create tasks lists.
    Even now, we make sure the boys have something to do around the house daily. This could be cleaning their rooms or the playroom, helping each other with tasks (i.e., helping the youngest make his lunch). Washing their bikes, cleaning up the backyard, making beds, sorting toys, dishes, etc. We make sure they are involved in daily tasks to help take a couple of things off of our plates.
  5. Screen time works.
    In order to get screens, whether to watch TV, movies or playing video games, the boys needed to have their chores completed. They also had to be wearing fresh clothing (they are boys, need I say more?) and eat a meal that consists of some fruits and vegetables.
  6. Time with friends.
    When the boys were 6 to 12 years of age, they were able to hang out with their friends on their own. We made sure they had time with friends, whether outside, inside, at their friends’ houses, at the park or otherwise. And yes, even online gaming counted, it still does.
  7. Camp!
    When we could find a camp that they were interested in, we would book as many weeks as they wanted in the camps. We used these camps for R.H. and me to focus on our businesses while the boys were enjoying life, trying something new and working on their skills. For example, Nate, our oldest, went to basketball camp for many weeks to work on his skills.
  8. Family fun time.
    Even now, R.H. and I always make sure that each week, we have multiple fun activities to do together as a family. This includes going for ice cream, to the movies, out for dinner, enjoying a campfire, day trips to amusement parks and other cities, bike rides, trips to the playground, etc.

There used to come a time during the summer months where I started feeling mom guilt because I was not spending enough time with the boys. I would start hearing the negative thoughts going through my head telling me that I was not a good mom because I was not spending time with my sons. When this would happen, I would choose to take half a day off to hang out with the boys. This would fill my cup, stop the negative thoughts and bring joy to my heart so that when I went back into my office, I could focus on work and not my negative thoughts. Most of the time, the boys would say, “what do you want mom?”

entrepreneur life with pre-teens - screen time

Figure out what works for you

If you have an entrepreneur life with pre-teens, then you will need to figure out what works for you. If it is more screen time, a babysitter, more camps, multiple activity books, etc. that is okay! Don’t allow anyone to judge you for how you parent, the choices you make or for the parent you are. You are doing the best you can with what you know, have and created. That my friend is more than perfect.

Every summer is different

Now that my boys are ages 9 to 17 years of age, this summer will be even different as one is driving, the middle two are on their bikes and gaming with their friends, while my 9-year old is wandering around bored, so he is the one I will be focusing on. This summer, I will go into my office at 6 am and work on client projects until noon. That way I can spend the afternoons with my 9-year old and anyone else who may be around. The days where they want to watch a movie or they want to be on their own, you will find me close by them, on my laptop, working away on tasks that need to be completed.

This is your summer, your family’s summer and the summer that you get ahead on love, life and business. Create a plan, build the routine and stick to the schedule so that when summer is over, you can look back at your entrepreneur life with pre-teens and have no regrets.

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