The summer holidays used to fill me with absolute dread when I worked full time because they meant that my childcare juggling skills were pushed beyond all limits. In fact, a particularly disastrous summer eight years ago was a huge factor in me deciding to give up work for good. I only had two children then and they were set to go to a holiday club that was run in conjunction with their primary school for the whole six weeks. I was already racked with guilt at the thought of palming them off for the whole holiday but then two weeks before they were due to break up, the club was cancelled due to lack of demand. Just like that. I had zero childcare for the long six weeks ahead and a full time job to keep hold of. Absolute nightmare. We muddled through of course – we had to! But I swore never again. The summer holidays never fail to remind me how giving up work was the best thing that I ever did for us all as a family.
We have gone on to have two more children of course but I now love the school holidays! Life couldn’t be more different and I absolutely cannot wait for my whole brood to break up for the summer. I have seen them all flag in these last few weeks and have been counting down to the day they finally finish. They so need this break. It feels so good to finally have that long summer in sight and I love that we are now lucky enough to enjoy the freedom that it brings.
All four of my children are in full time school now and it feels like every minute of every day is structured in some shape or form and being able to shake off these shackles makes for more relaxed children. And a much more relaxed family life. I’m never going to be the kind of parent who draws up a spreadsheet of scheduled fun ahead of the summer of holidays. I actually embrace the freedom that comes with six long weeks off, knowing that we will have plenty of time for (hopefully) a holiday by the seaside, lots of days out and even more lazy days at home. I think children need time just to be. I come from the school of thought that boredom isn’t actually a bad thing. In fact, I’m quite convinced that giving my children the freedom to be bored means that they rarely are. That last sentence made more sense in my head but it’s true.
So goodbye being tied down by school runs, forgetting to sign forms for this that and the other, battles over homework, school uniform to iron, PE kits to lose and not to mention every after school activity under the sun and HELLO SUMMER!