Written by Tracey Blake
We’re all struggling to get through the Summer holidays, juggling childcare arrangements and work commitments, but which parent type do you identify with most?
You sorted out your childcare for the summer holidays way back in March. Your children’s school uniform is already bought, ironed and labelled (not the iron-in labels, the proper stitch-in ones) and hanging neatly in their wardrobes ready for the start of the new term. You’ve pre-booked your Clarks school shoe measuring appointment for 20th August. Your child’s Summer homework project was done in the first week. Your October half-term holiday is booked, you’ve made plans for Christmas (and, crucially, you know where you’re buying your organic free range turkey from) and you’ve put down a deposit on a cottage in Cornwall for next Easter. Yep, that’ll be April 2017. Enough with the to-do list, start having fun!
You work full time and you’ve survived the first week of the school holidays on a wing on a prayer, and are currently phoning round friends to see who can help you with childcare next week. You think you’ve booked Sport Camp for a week mid-August, but you can’t find any details of the booking on your email. Ordering the new school uniform is on your To Do list, it’s just that before you get to that you need to buy a birthday present for a 6th birthday party your daughter is invited to this Saturday, put a load of washing on and empty the dishwasher. Oh, and tackle the fruit bowl that’s full of bills and the dining table that’s a mountain of pressing paperwork, half empty carrier bags and rucksacks. And make the 8.21am train into work.
The ‘where’s my office gone?’
Your home office is usually a haven of tranquillity when the kids are at school and you can get an awful lot done in that short 9.15am – 2.30pm slot. Unless they’re at home during the holidays that is. In which case you’ll be constantly interrupted to referee fights, administer drinks and food, and jump up and down to cater for demands for paper, colours and glue, and answer bizarre questions like, ‘Where do butterflies sleep?’ (I have no idea – do you?). Trying to send a single email can take up to 20 minutes. The solution? Turn the lounge into a soft play room by putting all of the sofa cushions and cushions scavenged from throughout the house on the floor. Then scatter a tube or two of Smarties or Minstrels over the top and tell them to find them. (A seriously high achieving business woman told me this tip – if it worked for her I say go for it when you reach peak stress and you just need to answer that email!)
You don’t allow your children to watch more than 20 mins of screen time a day (yes that includes TV and tablets combined), so the summer holidays do present quite a challenge for you – and your children. You plot out activities for the day that are all based outdoors. In an ideal world you basically want your children to turn feral for six weeks. Hell, they can bathe in the paddling pool, forage amongst the raspberry canes for a berry snack and go to town in the mud kitchen. And you don’t really care how dirty they get, as long as they make camps, climb trees and gather firewood for a pretend fire. It’s all about fostering that independent spirit!
Stay at home – but now wants to leave home
You loved week one of the holidays but come week two the novelty of not having to rush out to school at 8.30am every morning is wearing off slightly. In fact, you’d quite like to take them to school this week because this couldn’t feel less like a holiday. There is more washing up, more tidying up (all the fun stuff makes mess – baking, painting, junk modelling), more laundry and more fighting and shouting than usual. You’re staring down the barrel of another four weeks with your children and it’s making you panic.
The organised chaos theorist
You work so Summer is a complex web of arrangements that change day to day. No week is the same. Just trying to keep the logistics under control involves constant low level stress, a very detailed family planner and lengthy conversations with various aging relatives you’ve roped in to help you. Heaven forbid you forget who is going where, who needs to be picked up from where, when, who requires fancy dress or swimsuits and who needs a packed lunch. You and your other half are even tag-teaming your holidays and taking different times off to cover 14 days – it’s divide and conquer.
Whichever style of summer holidaying you identify with most, all of the above could benefit from some help from a Student Nanny. Become a member for FREE today to discover a support network you never knew was there…