It might as well rain until September
PUBLISHED: 15:34 11 September 2015 | UPDATED: 15:34 11 September 2015
We creep towards the end of term, dragging our shattered bodies to school and back, aching for a pyjama day, a less frazzled morning or a homework-free weekend.
Edging nearer to freedom, I get a sense that I too am going to be on holiday: a fleeting liberation reminiscent of my own childhood July Bliss.
I sort of forget it means I am expected to constantly entertain them - bound in summer slavery. Continually compassionately nurturing them, all day every day. Not a split second to let go of that responsibility. For six weeks.
This month’s confession is: I suffer with summer holiday blues.
Maybe I will never eat anything except ham sandwiches outside – ever again in my life? Maybe nobody will employ me, because all I do is stick names on uniform, wash up and go to the splash park. And wipe drippy ice cream off children’s chins. While my chins multiply. And my CV gets older. And my ovaries run out.
These thoughts overwhelm me by the third week. The start is wonderful. Oh the joy! The relief! The time spent together will be fabulous! We will explore St Albans’ every nook and cranny.
We will climb the Clock Tower. We will see old friends from childcare settings we no longer attend, and barbecue and swim and dance in bubbles. Paddling pool pleasure will be ours until sundown.
By mid-August, I am almost ready to chuck myself in Verulamium lake.
The weight of all the shoes, bags and lunch boxes to buy, worries about the new teacher and the fear of increased academic pressure comes heavily over me - right as my patience runs out, from being surrounded by my brood of stir-crazed mini maniacs 24/7.
The zoo is done, the farm is done to death, the museums are hot and queue-y. Trains are dusty and crowded. Don’t get me started on soft play in a heatwave. My ‘emergency’ ice lollies have lost their bribery appeal and Disney Junior doesn’t even work.
I want a break from the same old faces. But I don’t want to be stuck inside being climbed. And since when did you need a mortgage to go to the cinema? A trip to Legoland is as expensive as Disneyland and Peppa Pig World will cost more than two hundred quid, by the time petrol, snacks and souvenirs are factored in.
There’s such a lot of time off. Every year I have the same dilemma: should I pay for some childcare or ‘summer clubs’? It’s school for the holidays, Kids. Let’s be quite clear about that. I can’t do it to them. They need a rest too.
I’m not one of those overscheduling mums, who books up every morning, afternoon and evening. It turns my stomach when children are forced to do swimming, ballet, theatre school, karate class, Scouts – and that’s just Tuesday.
It’s nice to have a hobby (mine is picking toys off the floor). But don’t put them into so many activities that every microcosm of their existence can be timetabled.
My son disappeared upstairs earlier. He was on his iPad. Pretending to be a goat. For two hours. Goat Simulator is apparently cool for a six-year-old. There are several animal simulator apps, for free or pennies. This could prove to be invaluable. Thank me later. It spared some whining and kept him happy.
Even the washing machine is moaning. Glue, chocolate sauce, sand, sun cream … Twice the laundry. At least it occasionally gets a rest from the spin cycle that is my mummy brain. Since the kids moved in, the cells moved out.
My grey matter went on vacation about the same time I became pregnant. It’s no wonder kids’ brains seize up and they forget what they learned last year. It is so very long.
Yet I feel I should try to enjoy the summer ‘break’ <Insert manic laughter here>. It’s already half way through. They’ll soon be back at school.
Now that our lives are ‘seasoned’ into four termly boxes, it all flies by. We are only a few lost PE shorts, parents’ evening and two vomiting bugs away from the thrill of Santa queues.
Before we know it, they’ll be perusing the Argos catalogue, circling everything for present ideas. Wonder if they sell mummy brains…
Goodbye summer blues, erm, hello festive fun?