Summer Holidays: The Reality.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the reality of the summer holidays has well and truly hit home. You’d think by now I’d be fully prepared for the children to be home for six weeks well in advance. Surely by now I should have the answers, I should know all the tricks for beating the boredom and what to do when it all gets a bit overwhelming, but I don’t. If I’m honest, as much as I, and they, love being at home, we’ve all struggled with the huge change in routine over the past couple of weeks.

I wasn’t sure whether to write this post, but I know I’m not alone in feeling like this, so I’m just going to come out and say it… the summer holidays are far from easy, and I haven’t enjoyed every second like I always tell myself I will. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some wonderful trips out and made some amazing memories, but the children have struggled massively with spending so much time together.

Now that they are in different schools, they only really see each other briefly in the mornings and evenings during the week. Being around each other from the moment they wake until bedtime has proved too much for them at times. There has been shouting, screeching, they’ve physically fought and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard the words ‘I’m ignoring you’ and ‘your the worst brother/sister ever’.

Money is tight, I count every penny to make sure we have food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and a little left for treats. In the summer holidays, my budget is stretched more than ever. I consider myself very lucky to be able to give the children experiences they wouldn’t normally have through blogging, but at times even a simple trip to the supermarket ends with me riddled with mum guilt because I’ve had to say no, yet again.

Sometimes it just feels like my best isn’t good enough. Theo in particular has struggled to adjust this summer, and every time he moans or lashes out, I take it to heart. I know it’s not my fault, but us mother’s always shoulder the blame don’t we?

I think we all start the summer holidays with good intentions, I even created a summer holiday bucket list, but the reality is, we are putting too much pressure on ourselves. Our presence means so much more than what we can provide with a bank account. It’s so easy to scroll through social media and see so many seemingly idyllic summer holiday photos and wonder where you are going wrong.

I have spent the first few weeks of the summer holidays struggling with the inability to just jump in a car and take the kids out. I’ve felt like a failure because they aren’t spending every single second laughing and smiling.

Seriously, how ridiculous is that? The fact that they are clothed, fed and entertained is enough. The fact I can be at home with them every day, is enough. I am enough for them, who needs rollercoasters and sandy beaches when there’s a paddling pool and swing-ball set in the garden? I’ll take cosy evenings watching a movie over being stuck in a traffic jam any day. I guess this post is a reminder to myself, and to anyone else who is feeling the same, that it is totally normal to feel out of your depth. It’s okay to hide in the bathroom with a bar of chocolate, just for five minutes. It’s okay to say no to a new toy because they have enough already.

Be honest with yourself, what will they remember more, your time and presence or how much money you spent?

I’m not saying presence is everything, sometimes I need to be the exact opposite of present, just for a short while, in order to get through the day without losing my cool. What I am saying is, it’s going to be rubbish at times, they will get bored, they will fight, they will make a mess, and you will feel like a shouty mum on a regular basis. I know I do, and I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve changed the time on their clock more than once so that they are in bed a little earlier. Motherhood is the most amazing and yet the hardest job in the world. Cut yourself some slack, we’re all in the same boat!

summer holidays, parenting, motherhood, mental health, stress, anxiety, kids, school, education