The summer holiday juggle is real

Summer holidays are made out to be this wonderful type of utopia, where families galivant across beaches, parks and cities soaking up the sunshine and looking all radiant and happy. #makingmemories

Hands up who has experienced that this summer holiday?

No? No, me neither. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some nice days. We have done some lovely things. We have seen some of our best friends but still, there is always the shit that is not in the Instagram pictures or on the Facebook posts.

The summer holiday maths

However you parent, whether it be within a partnership or marriage, on your own, co-parenting with an ex or blending with another family – juggling the summer holiday is hard. Let’s be honest here as well, it’s usually the mums who have to plan it all out and orchestrate the logistics of it all. Most companies give approximately 28 days of holiday annually (FTE) which works out at around five and a half weeks leave. Most school’s summer holiday is six+ weeks and that’s not counting the other seven weeks of holidays your average state school has! So, if you are a working parent, I’m afraid you are already fucked. If you’re a single working parent your extra fucked.

crafts at art in teh park, leamington

The holiday options

You can choose to split your leave if you are co-parenting in someway but that still doesn’t cover it all. Those separated and divorced mums amongst us probably have the best set up with this. I guess, however that it would be nice to actually see your husband/partner at some point rather than be like ships in the night, tagging in for the next round of childcare as you get up in the morning. You can choose to use holiday clubs, but that can be expensive and awkward, as most do not run across a normal workday timetable so you then have to pay extra for wrap-around care. You could enlist the grandparent’s help but they want their holiday’s too or might have left the country permanently like mine are about to do. (I would go and join them for a long languid summer in France with wine and cheese for days, but even though I could work out there, my boyfriend couldn’t and my daughter sees her dad every other weekend in England.) You can also share some of the juggle with friends but you don’t want to take the piss, as you’d still like them to be your friends at the end of the summer too.

Or, like me, you can try and organise your life around a medley of all the above. You try and fit in work trips away and makeup hours here and there so you don’t have to pay £5 extra for that extra two hours childcare in the evening. You try and enjoy the small snippets of time you do have with them without losing your shit because you’re tired and so are they. You try and keep the fridge full and ready for picnics, packed lunches and BBQs at any time but end up never having the right thing in at the right time (breadsticks, cucumber, yoghurt and half a packet of chocolate biscuits is fine for a packed lunch right?).

carfts at the warwickshire museum

The MumGuilt

The weird thing is, that although you are trying to cater for your offspring in the best and only way you can see, the MumGuilt is still strong. We still have that little bitch on our back saying we should be doing it all. We should be working and providing but we should also be baking and rock pooling and cycling with our children. Whatever we do, we never win over these weeks.

Ironically my daughter keeps asking if we could just have a day at home and (although I know we’d end up screaming at each other about 2 hours in) there is nothing more I’d rather do. I would love to just sit and do crafts or snuggle up and watch a film when the British Summer decides to do it’s usual trick and rain solidly between the end of July and start of September. Our kids don’t want to be on the go all the time, they don’t want to work through a bucket list the length of my arm every day. They sometimes want to rest and recuperate just as much as I do.

What is the answer to dealing with the summer holiday? I don’t know, but I do know that there must be a slightly better way. Answers on a postcard please if you’ve got it figured out or just leave your shittiest attempt at #makingmemories below to make me laugh.

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