Navigating Parenthood and Professional Demands During the School Holidays

In recent years, balancing the demands of work and family life has become a greater priority for many of us. The school summer holidays can be a tricky time for any employee to achieve their expected work outcomes, given the amount of annual leave taken at this time of year. Moreover, the added stress for parents trying to manage the school holidays on top of this can make it particularly challenging. Rutherford Cross Consultant, Jonathan Donnelly, explores this topic in more detail below.

We typically look forward to the better weather (although this is Scotland) and the kids look forward to getting a break from school, so we feel summer should be a really happy time. In reality, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year. The summer holidays can bring a sense of dread as many parents look to lean on their wider family for childcare, or sending children to summer camps – sometimes under protest – leaving us feeling guilty and anxious.


From the online research we’ve conducted, these are some of the best tips we’ve found to support working parents during the holidays:

1. Forward planning: One of the best ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance during the summer holidays is to try and plan in advance as much as possible. Start by marking important dates, such as family outings and holidays on a shared calendar. Likewise, make the effort to diarise self-care too – whether that be ten minutes of daily meditation or blocking out 30 minutes every other lunchtime to go for a run.

2. Explore Childcare Options: Summer camps, day-cares, and other childcare resources can be a lifesaver during the summer holidays. These activities do not have to break the bank; for example, local authorities often put on affordable sessions for children during this period.

3. Communicate with your Employer: The probability is that you will not be the only person in your business who is a parent with school-age children. Therefore, your employer should understand that there may need to be a certain degree of flexibility during this period. Trying to pretend your kids are not a priority is often more stressful than being upfront that you may be stretched with your childcare. Most reasonable employers will allow some flexibility to accommodate the need to pick up from a camp or a grandparent’s house, as long as the work gets done at some point.

4. Make the Most of the Evenings: Work commitments will limit your availability during the summer holidays; however, the lighter evenings present an opportunity to go to the park or play in the garden after work. Be present during your interactions, whether it’s during meal times, days out, or bedtime routines. Put away distractions and give them your undivided attention.

5. Plan Creative Days out: If you are able to plan days out during the summer holidays, they don’t have to cost the earth. Children care more about spending time with parents who love them and who can offer them fun experiences, than about how much something costs.


There is no getting away from the fact that we feel like better parents when we get to spend more time with our children, but it’s important to remind ourselves that our investment in our careers will benefit our children too. It’s important that when we start our working day we aren’t distracted by guilt and we are able to dedicate ourselves fully to our work; that way, we can engage properly with our children in the evenings and at weekends without being preoccupied by unfinished work demands.

Life is never straight forward; but like many challenges, planning, communication and a bit of creativity are the best ways to cope with the summer holidays as a working parent.


If you are reflecting on your career over the summer break, and are looking for a new finance role, please get  in touch with Jonathan for a confidential discussion: [email protected]. If you have staff members moving on after the summer and you are looking for support to recruit any finance positions, please reach out to our team to see how we can support you: CONTACT US.