Holiday hell, holiday hope

I used to dread school holidays. I freely confess this.

I had my children in the mistaken belief that I was an earth mother in the making, simply because I bought myself a Play Doh Barber Shop when I was twenty, and enjoyed playing with it a great deal.

I did not realise that this was because I was merely foolish. I thought it meant I was totally geared up for what being a mum was all about. You know, making elaborate hair styles out of Play Doh, finger painting, potato printing – all that jazz?

My other qualification was that I liked cuddling other people’s babies, and playing with toddlers if one popped up in the vicinity.

Having children of my own, therefore, was a horrific shock to the system.

It turns out that being a mother is a smidge more complicated than that. And if you have a Play Doh barber shop your children never let you play with it in peace, and if you have children like mine, they eat all the Play Doh before you can even get it in the small plastic head, and you end up resenting them furiously and wanting to squash them into the small plastic head. Only you know you can’t, because you’d only feel very bad, and cry afterwards – so instead you find yourself silently weeping tears of rage clutching a pair of pathetically useless plastic scissors while your toddler gaily munches fluorescent yellow modelling clay, pausing only to proffer you a bit in a gesture of sympathy for they know not what.

So that’s motherhood.


It never stops.

And other people look forward to holidays because, you know, they’re fun, and a break from the routine, and you can sleep in and stuff.

And as a stay at home mum with small children you look at the holidays as more of the same relentless round of stuff you do every day, but with shitloads of other people getting in your way, nowhere to park at the Wacky Warehouse you didn’t want to go to anyway, and the usual routines that sometimes give you half an hour off, if the wind is in the right direction suddenly denied to you because every bugger else is off having a holiday.

And then you get really, really depressed and start plucking your own feathers out, and kicking all the millet out of the bottom of your cage.

Well, you do if you’re me.

I found holidays to be roughly akin to the fourteenth circle of hell. I sympathised with Sisyphus, endlessly rolling his boulder up the hill, only to watch with aching arms as it rolled down the hill again, and trudging off to do it again.

Only in my life there was less Dante, and more Mr. Tumble.

Which is bad.

I remember these days vividly as some of the bleakest of my child rearing existence, and as a failed earth mother, there have been some bleak moments. More scorched earth if truth be told.

It is why I am so delighted now, now that my children are older, and more self sufficient, and I can reclaim some real holiday time again.

I say to every mother out there who feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there. The day will come when you can sleep in, safe in the knowledge that the children can turn on the television and make themselves breakfast without electrocuting themselves, phoning Australia, or smearing themselves in cat pooh. The day will come when your children do not need you to pretend to be a velociraptor for fourteen hours a day, or call them Marlon, even though their name is Steve, or feign interest in oil rigs, or Massey Ferguson tractor parts. The day will come when they will make you a cup of tea instead of demanding apple juice and then crying because they didn’t want THAT apple juice, even though it is the same apple juice they have been drinking for the past four years on a daily basis.

You think it won’t happen – but it will.

Stay strong, sisters (and brothers). Stay strong.

10 responses to “Holiday hell, holiday hope

  1. My son licked cat pooh yesterday.

    That is all.

  2. I was thinking this today. We are definitely in the zone of them getting themselves up and making breakfast (i.e. eating dried rice krispie shapes out of the box leaving a trail of them on the carpet) and we don’t have to go to soft play places anymore. Ever again. Ever. For that alone I shall whoop. But I find my children so lacking in imagination that if I turn the screens off (which I do when I am attempting to be a good parent), they are zombies who can’t think for themselves and demand that I entertain them. Which usually ends with me shouting a lot and them slamming doors. So I’m not quite at the happy holiday phase yet. I think that may kick in when they leave home.

  3. There is also the likelihood that they will save all their illnesses for the first day of half term. My 4 year old has brought all the germs she’s garnered at nursery school back to the home and left us all housebound for days. I have no feathers left, or millet in my cage or even a brain cell to remember who I am anymore – thank you for your post, I WILL hang in there!

  4. This post is so very true. My little darlings are seven and five, and can FINALLY get on with having their baths without drowning, and sometimes even get dressed themselves. Crayons can now be left unattended for minutes at a time without being eaten or used to redecorate the house.

    We used to tick off the ‘baby’ things we could get rid of one by one – starting with sterilisers, bottles, breast pumps, nappys (and associated disposal bags), pottys, bumbo seats, muslin cloths, high chairs, the double buggy – all finally gone. How did we ever go anywhere without an extra Transit van full of stuff???

    Of course – now they’ll want iPads, and before you know it, the car-keys.

    • Yes, but teenage things are more portable than child things. They make child things all spiky and impenetrable on purpose. The manufacturers are probably in cahoots with people carrier sellers.

  5. It gets even better when they are all at senior school and you don’t ever, ever have to go to a carol concert or nativity play again. And then they leave school – and you realise you still need to keep tabs on when school holidays are to make sure you don’t do something stupid like take a day of your own precious leave and attempt to go shopping, or on a train to London in the school holidays and have to put up with everyone else’s horrible, bored, screaming children. It was so funny listening to my eldest whining the other day.about selfish bloody parents who take their brats to London during the rush hour instead of waiting for off peak trains.

  6. Ha!

    I cannot wait until the time of school plays/assemblies are over. Truly. The day cannot come quickly enough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s