Hols

Am I the only parent in the world who looks forward to the school holidays?  I was in a shop the other day, buying children’s things, and a brief conversation was struck up with the assistant. 

“I can’t wait for the holidays” I said.
“Ooh, are you going somewhere nice” asked Assistant
“No,” said I,  “I’m just really looking forward to spending some time with my children”.
She looked at me aghast.  “You are the first person I’ve heard who’s said that.  Everyone else has been in here moaning about how much they’re dreading the school holidays.  That’s really nice.”

My only problem with the holidays is finding childcare for the days when I’m obliged to be elsewhere.  During term time, everything is such a rush; rushing to school, trying to remember all the thousands of things they seem to need and all the insidious and constant amounts of money requested for this and that, rushing to clubs, rushing to finish dinner before choir/scouts/football, trying to get them in bed at a sensible time.

I love the holidays because we don’t have to get up so early and we can stay up late watching a film and eating chocolate because we can sleep in.  I love going places with them or just staying in and chatting or playing a game.  I like being able to have their friends round without being stressed to the gills because I’ve got too many other things to do and therefore resent their presence. I like having the time to do cooking with them or ‘crafty’ things.  Also, we really get our moneysworth out of our English Heritage and National Trust cards and, with English Heritage, I can take a couple of their friends along as well.

This last term has been a nightmare.  We have moved house, tried to negotiate the financial minefield that comes with moving, failed to get the house into a decent state yet which is driving me insane, started the long, arduous and stressful business of trying to get Boy the Elder into another school (as yet unsuccessfully) and watched my car slowly deteriorating because I have no money to repair it.  Oh, and whilst this is all going on, I have been trying to lay the groundwork for a new business using a computer that was run by one-legged, shell-shocked goblins.  I’m sure I’m no worse off than anyone else, but it’s all been a bit of a slog.

The Boys and I are knackered and I cannot wait for Friday afternoon and the start of the six week summer break.

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17 Comments

Filed under Family and Friends, Indoor Activities, Leisure, Life in general, Outdoor Activities

17 responses to “Hols

  1. Rebecca

    I too cannot wait for the holidays for the same reason – I also feel in the minority when I say that!! And I get upset when they go back to school. Surely you want to be with your children? Isn’t that the reason we had children!

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Rebecca. Can’t agree more. I’ll be putting some ideas for activities on over the holidays, so do keep reading.

    • Sue

      Well, I don’t know about that Rebecca :o) Some of us had children so that they could give up working for a living. Seriously, though I don’t think we all choose to have children because we want to spend time being with children. I wanted children simply because my instinct to have babies had kicked in, but as they grow up I see the purpose of having children to be primarily to make good people, confident, self-reliant people.

      I remember telling my mum once that I hated the bathtime-bedtime routine with my children when they were little. She looked at me as if I had said I hated my children. It is quite possible to love your children but not love all the time they take from you. I guess I’m a lot more selfish than others.

      • Sue

        That smiley face was unintentional by the way -it was supposed to be one of these 🙂

      • wartimehousewife

        It’s interesting this child thing. For a long time, I thought I might not be able to have children and I remember thinking “Oh my God, what am I going to do for the rest of my life”. I’m not someone who has ever gone gooey over babies, but I knew I wanted my own. I adored them when they were first born and then completely went off them again until they could talk to me and have opinions ie. about 4. It was a phase that had to be got through in order to reap the benefits later. My mother finds this incomprehensible, but then she prefers babies (unconditional, unchallenged love and obedience I fear).

        Like you Sue, I believe my job is to turn out two, thinking, feeling, decent men who can look after themselves and be an asset to the people round them. I suppose I’m lucky that I really like my children, especially when I have them individually. One of the things I find extraordinary is that Boy the Elder defers to me on everything and I keep saying to him “You must have your own opinions, your view is valid. What do YOU think?” He will then give an opinion then ask, “Is that right?” It won’t last long!

  2. Sue

    I’m not really sure about school hols. I used to loathe them when the children were younger. I really, really value my solitude during the day. My children are all very self-sufficient though-the boys need no entertaining and my daughter ‘plays out’ all summer long with the girls next door and various other friends. We don’t do lots of different things in the hols-just carry on as normal pottering about. In three weeks time my husband is taking them all for ten days camping with his sister and her kids. I don’t camp. At all. I look forward to this time immensely. It is my holiday from everything. I buy myself special things to eat-scallops, steak and the like, stock up on the Rosé d’Anjou and enjoy the silence of the washing machine.

  3. Project50

    I used to view the onset of school holidays with some ambivalence. However, when you say: “I love the holidays because we don’t have to get up so early and we can stay up late watching a film and eating chocolate because we can sleep in” it takes me back to the lovely times when I wasn’t desperately trying to juggle work and childcare and could simply enjoy them.

    When my children were small, my husband had the following rhyme written out and framed for me:

    “I hope when my children look back on today,
    They remember a mother who had time to play.
    There will be years for cleaning and cooking,
    Children grow up when you’re not looking.
    So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep:
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

    As an empty-nester, that always makes me feel wistful. I’m not sure that is how my children remember me! So you make the most of these lovely, long summer days, WH. The boys might forget the details, but they will never forget the way you made them feel. x

    • wartimehousewife

      Project 50: you have a husband who writes poetry?

      Sue: I had you down as a holiday enjoyer. I completely get your thing about being on your own when they’re off camping. The Boys go to their dad every other weekend and I would go insane without that respite, much as I love them.

  4. Project50

    I wish! No, WH, I’d seen the poem somewhere (probably a women’s magazine) and clipped it and he had someone write it out in beautiful calligraphy, then sent it off to be framed.

    Trouble was, the person who had written it (a teacher) misspelt “remember” as “rember”, which rather spoilt it for me, or it would be up on my wall to this day.

    I do wish I wasn’t so pedantic!

  5. I look forward to the school holidays. I really love spending time with my kids – but I’m lucky because they’re tremendously easygoing.

    I have a theory that the half of the mums who moan about the kids being at home only do so becuase they think it’s the proper thing to do: one mum moans and it seems wrong for the other mums she’s with to contradict her.

    • wartimehousewife

      DD: I wish everyone would just stop moaning. I know other single mothers, many of whom, including myself, made that choice for whatever reason, but they never stop banging on about it. Hopefully we’ve made a conscious choice to have children so jolly well get on with it. Everyone needs to let off steam sometimes but actually in the great scheme of things, we’re all doing alright. We should make the most of what we have.

      And don’t rule out the possibility that your children are easy going because you’ve done a decent job with them DD.

  6. Project50

    I think when you’re in the thick of things it’s easy to rush along and not take the time to get to know children as people. Mine were great fun, but I was always so exhausted I don’t think I ever really appreciated it.

    It’s so important to do so, though. I saw the light as they grew into teenagers and I realised it would take time and effort to navigate through the years from 14-19 and redefine relationships once they were adults. I think I was better at that bit – I can honestly say that there’s no one I’d rather spend time with than any one of my children as I actually like them all very much. But I still miss the little people they used to be.

  7. Sue

    What an interesting conversation this is. It’s really made me think about my relationship with my children. WH that’s a very good point about children being easygoing because parents have done a good job with them.

    I’m finding, against all expectations that the teenage years are proving the most rewarding for me as a mother. My two teenaged boys are delightful, funny and interesting people who are becoming more independent and resourceful every day. My daughter is 10 and I do hope her teenage years are as rewarding. I’m not so sure they will be though, I see trouble ahead especially if she doesn’t start putting her clothes away and cleaning her teeth!

  8. I too am looking forward to the school hols. I’m looking forward to being able to take time to do things with the children, to give them the freedom to decide for themselves the pace of their day. Our life is organised around when school starts and finishes and we all look forward to being free of that for six precious weeks.

    • wartimehousewife

      Welcome Claire – that’s a very good point about allowing the children some freedom. Nowadays they don’t get nearly enough; they have to spend time away from adults in the company of their peers in order to learn social strategies without us putting our sticky beaks in left right and centre.

  9. Project50

    I could not agree more – a little benign neglect gives them (and you) a chance to breathe. When did we start thinking we have to micro-manage every part of our children’s lives? How will they ever learn how to find things out for themselves if Mummy is constantly there to do it for them or, worse, standing ready to criticise when they get it wrong? You’ve got me started now!

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