As a successful small business owner with one employee (that’s me!), my work hours often go well beyond the end of the school day. I pick up my kids each day at the end of their day, and we chat about their school day all the way home. I set them up with their homework and an after school snack, and then I return right back to my office upstairs.
It is not ideal. Of course, I wish I could complete my full day of work before they return home so that I could spend some quality time with them. And some days I can! But most days, I need to keep working until at least dinner time and more often than not, I am back at my desk after bedtime.
So they often hear “Sorry girls, mommy is still working.”
Sometimes this causes me guilt, but the majority of the time it does not. Let me explain why. My girls are fairly self sufficient at 5 1/2 and 7 years old. They can get their own snack, handle most of their homework, and do some light reading on their own. And when left to their own devices and boredom, because mom can not be their one woman entertainment parade, they become incredibly creative. Boredom almost always leads to creativity. They act out plays and shows on their own, create dance routines, practice playing teacher and student (more learning, win / win!). My girls love creating pieces of art and often shower me with drawings and elaborate 3D flowers and scenes that they learned how to make at school. They write their own stories, set up camps on the trampoline, build forts in their bedroom.
Their minds begin to wander and explore ideas, all on their own.
Sure, there are days that they spend some time zoned out in front of the television or their kindles, watching cooking shows or those toy review videos on amazon (why are these things popular?). And that is okay too, in moderation of course. I think the downtime is just as much needed as the creative time, especially after a long day of schooling. Besides, half the time they forget to put their kindles back on their chargers so they spend a week being dead and forgotten about.
For me, it is important my girls see that my sole purpose is not to be at their beck and call.
Children do not need to sit around and wait to be entertained. They do not need me to plan out every minute of the hours between school and bed. All of their basic needs are met, and we do plenty for them, but on a Wednesday at 2:45pm, Mom has work commitments, even if I am doing them out of our home. And that is good for them to see. It shows them responsibility and commitment. They enjoy watching me work sometimes too, and they even have taken it upon themselves to take on little jobs in my office, like tidying up the fabric that spills out or lint rolling out orders for the final touch.