School holidays. Love or hate?

I have had the best school holidays. Next Tuesday when the kids go back is coming around very quickly and I’m already dreading it.

This wasn’t always the case. I used to hate school holidays and couldn’t wait for my kids to go back to school so I could have my life back.

Selfish, hey?

I could try to convince myself that it was because having four kids at home is hard work and it was difficult trying to entertain them all the time and because they were annoying when I wanted to do something for ME .. but that’s not entirely true either.

The problem was me.

I wanted it to be about me. I wanted time to go and run and not have to do it at 4.30am. I wanted to go out for coffee and not have my kids with me. I wanted to stay home and enjoy some quiet time. I wanted to do the supermarket shopping on my own. I didn’t want to sit in play centres or in the park, go bike riding, play handball, play cards with Holly or build Lego with my boys.

Doesn’t sound so nice when you write it down does it?

Call it maturity, seeing the light, realising your kids won’t be kids forever – or whatever you want. But over the past year or so I’ve learnt to embrace all those things I listed. How many years or even months do I have left with Holly when she’ll want me to play Happy Families with her, or Uno? When will my boys stop asking me to play trains with them because they know I’ll say no or make up some kind of excuse?

These are all things that I realised a while back and so in the school holidays I have done all these things to death. My kids adore it and it makes them happy, less likely to fight, it fills their day with joy and it is what having your own children should be about. Spending time with them. Making happy memories.

I hear people whinge all the time about much their kids are annoying them and how they can’t wait for the school holidays to be over. You just need to spend a bit of time on Facebook or Twitter to see that .. and yep I probably used to be one of them.

I have a bit of a hang-up about damaging my children. You don’t have the amount of therapy in life that I have had without taking some damn good advice away from it. I don’t want my children to turn around one day and say “you know what, you never played with me. You never had time for me. My stuff wasn’t important to you”. How shit would that be?

I want, above all else, for my kids to be able to say when they’re adults, “I had a really happy childhood and my parents made it a great one”. The end.

So today I am going to go and sit in one of those germ infested play centres that my kids love so much. It’s 9am and I’ve already built a giant train track with Charlie and played handball with my big kids and as I type this Holly is setting up yet another game of Cluedo. They aren’t things that I would necessarily choose to do with my day but my beautiful kids want nothing more than for me to do these things with them. All kids want their parents to play with them.

I’ve learnt that if you throw yourself into these things and stop fighting the urge to avoid playing boring games with your kids so you can sit around and play on Facebook or whatever – it is rewarding. SO rewarding.

I won’t go to bed tonight feeling like a crap parent, because I’ve done enough of that in my life and I don’t want parental guilt as part of my world.

So I’m not trying to be a martyr. I freely admit I’ve made mistakes in my parenting journey. Lots of them! But I’m getting better at it and am seeing the things that are important.

Hopefully before it isn’t too late.



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