The sun is setting on the first day of summer holidays for 2016 (who am I kidding? There hasn’t actually been any sun!) and already my four year old spent most of the afternoon in his bedroom on ‘time-out’ while I took deep breaths and tried to keep a handle on my temper. He’s bright, energetic and has been likened on occasion to the Tasmanian Devil, in a word, he is challenging. Challenging at the best of times, but all day everyday for eight weeks, quite honestly, has me reaching for the gin bottle. I know I’m not the only Mum to be frantically booking every summer scheme within a ten mile radius, because summer, for some of us SAHM’s is a colder version of hell.
Oh, I know I should be grateful for these long summer days with my boys – it’ll go all too quickly and I am privileged to be spending it with them. But the reality is sometimes it’s much more appealing to be walking out the door for a day at the office, or somewhere – anywhere that is quiet, where no one is being punched or wrestled to the ground, where there are no constant shouts of ‘Muuuum’, or groans of ‘Noooo’ as soon as I suggest something I’d like to do, or that the dog needs a walk, or that maybe they should peel their eyes from a screen and actually converse instead!
Familiarity breeds contempt; fact. It would happen to anyone. Can you think of anyone you could live with and happily spend all day, everyday with and not feel the odd pang of irritation? I find summer holidays the perfect breeding ground for a healthy dose of motherly abuse – I hope I’m not alone in this. The days are long, its usually raining, they’re usually tired, or pimped up on sugar; it’s a lethal combination. I know if they saw me less they would be nicer to me – I see proof most evenings when their Father comes through the door.
And so forgive me, call me a bad mother, call me ungrateful, but there you go, summer holidays do not mean endless blissful sun-drenched days of fun with my children. They mean hardcore negotiation and more juggling than ever as I try to keep everyone reasonably happy.
So, for what it’s worth, here are my top tips for surviving the frontline of motherhood that are the summer holidays:
- Early bird catches the worm – or at least a wormhole of time before they get up. Summer nights mean late nights and in another week (and with a bit of luck) both of mine will be snoozing late which means I can get up early and get my day started my way.
- Plan – have a plan for each day and make sure everyone knows what to expect the night before so there’s no fallout in the morning when you suggest oh, lets say a family dog walk (are you seeing a theme here? Young boys have enough energy for a trampoline 24×7 but none apparently to walk a dog!)
- Holiday schemes – use them. That’s all I’m saying.
- Bribery – Always works.
- Gin – after 5pm its perfectly acceptable any day of the week (it is the holidays after all).
- Smile – These are the days of our lives. These messy, chaotic, loud, busy, hassled, exhausting, long days are the ones we’ll always want to return to. Love them.
Please share your holiday hell or heaven with me. I’d love to hear them.