03/08/2016 12:49 BST | Updated 26/07/2017 06:12 BST

Why 5.30am Is the New 9am for Home Working Parents


thriving families

Aside from perhaps the odd week of sun, sea and sand, the majority of home working parents I know dread the summer holidays.

Whilst envious employees dream of being able to lounge in the garden in their shorts; iPad in one hand and something refreshingly alcoholic in the other, the reality is quite different.

Firstly, I can count on the fingers of two hands, the number of sunny days we've had up here in Northumberland this year. The sun, it seems, is for southerners.

Secondly, it appears that our house is in some kind of wifi no man's land, and the signal doesn't stretch to the garden.

So there you have it. My husband works on the dining room table whilst I make use of the desk upstairs, suffering slightly from lack of oxygen; unable to open the window in case the cat takes it upon herself to attempt suicide again.

The situation is generally manageable however; until you throw a bored twelve year old girl into the mix for seven long weeks.

Experts would advise that we dedicate certain hours to work and other times to family life, perhaps going for a bike ride together or having a picnic on the beach, which is on our doorstep. You know, quality time stuff.

Unfortunately, my husband needs to be on call and next to his laptop during office hours whilst I, being a PR consultant, am a whore for the media, which means being surgically attached to my iPhone 24/7. As for our daughter, she apparently has a medical need to remain close to a wifi signal at all times.

Assuming then, that as a home working parent, you don't wish for your productivity to suddenly plummet, your clients to be dissatisfied and your income to dry up over the next couple of months. What do you do amidst constant demands to be fed, pounding music and frequent declarations of boredom?

The answer, it would seem, is to take full advantage of a sleeping household. This is of course, reliant upon whether or not you have one of those children who insists on rising before the birds. In that instance, you may prefer to work late into the night, bolstered by half a dozen Espresso shots.

No-one could accuse me of being a night owl. By 9pm my brain has shuddered to a grinding halt and within half a minute of my head hitting the pillow, I'm sound asleep. No, much to my husband's annoyance, I'm one of those morning people who awaken exceptionally early, full of energy, creativity and great ideas.

Having spoken to other home working parents, many of you reap the benefits of this early start, not just during school holidays but every working day. 5.30 am seems to be the most popular time for opening up the laptop and I suspect it has become the new 9am for our breed of workers.

So now, instead of lying in bed and wishing myself back to sleep, I've begun writing articles, blogs and social media posts. That way, when my darling daughter eventually rallies at around 10.30 am, I feel like I've actually been productive that day and although my iPhone is always close at hand, I can actually spend some time discussing the finer points of Pretty Little Liars and the Kardashians' collective cosmetic surgery with her, over a cuppa.

Whether or not a 5.30 am start seems quite so attractive during the colder, darker months remains to be seen but for now, you know what? I think it's actually working.

This summer The Huffington Post UK is spearheading an initiative helping families thrive, with a focus on parent wellbeing, the challenges facing stay-at-home and working parents, friendships and navigating the landscape of modern parenting beyond the 2.4. To kickstart the campaign, Jamie Oliver guest edited the site, bringing a focus on feeding healthy families.

We'll be sharing stories and blogs with the hashtag #ThrivingFamilies and we'd like you to do the same. If you'd like to use our blogging platform to share your story, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com to get involved.