Six whole weeks home alone with my children. Sounds delightful to some parents. Yet each year I dread the long holiday. Counting down the weeks, checking the dates to see if the school have slyly taken a seven week break. (Oh yes! They have done that.)
Maybe its because I’m not a ‘working mum’? I say the term ‘working mum’ loosely, as in fact I run three business. As we know fantasy writing can be created from the comfort of our homes. A comfort that turns into a battle field at holiday times. My job isn’t the issue. Its the pressure of pleasing my children. Trying to avoid the inevitable words ‘I’m bored’ from suffocating me.
As a child I roamed free, from dusk till dawn. A magical world, the land around me my eternal playground.
Now a days I keep a short leash on my children. Its not that I fear invisible child predators. Its more of being afraid of bad parenting, of the judgement cast from other parents.
So I line up weekly swim sessions, theme parks, sleepovers, picnics, camping … the list goes on. I’m ready, organised but twitching with a prickly dread.
I wonder if I’m truly the only parent like this. Dreading the day in day out monotony of reward charts, sibling rivalry and using excessive house cleaning as an avoidance method.
A mum on social media asked: ‘How do you cope with the kids in the holidays?’
I replied: ‘Put my I-pod on and pretend they aren’t here.’
She thought I was joking. But truth is by week 5 I’m on the brink and what ever stops me from strangling a raging teenager has got to be good.
I’m starting to realise I have in fact become my own nemesis. My children rely on me for entertainment. Missing the freedom of the great outdoor without me to hold hands. They aren’t street smart and are too timid to go it alone.
Then I counted how many more summer holidays I’d have left to endure… The surprising answer is, nowhere near enough. I realised that for all the stress and heartache of raising children their time with us is a gift. The holiday drama is a small price to pay for a loving family.
So lets relax, release the reins a little and enjoy our summer!