Here we go…yet another post on school holiday distress syndrome, the pandemic currently hitting the social media headlines. And you don’t have to tell me, I know I should be relishing this extended block of time with my three boys. I am. To a point. But here’s the thing, most families are a mere three weeks in, five at the most. In that time they’ve jetted off to an all-inclusive in the Med or glamped in a Devonshire tipi (I’m not bitter). But we my friends are SEVEN weeks in. And we still have three to go. The boys finished at the end of June – which feels like sometime in the nineties, we have no summer getaway planned due to the big move and I’ve been flying solo for most of it as the husband has been packing up our life (while squeezing in some wakeboarding and festival jaunts hmmm…). To date the boys have done a three hour camp. Three hours out of 1176. This must make me some kind of mothering marvel. Or just downright crazy.
Our summer break had a promising start. Kicking off with a final week trying to bottle up the Swiss sunshine. Followed by a spell in Yorkshire enjoying time with family. But after a week with my dad we started to get twitchy with one another, falling into our moody adolescent versus parent days, with spats about lights being left on and what time I’d be home for tea. We made a truce over our evening red wine ritual but three weeks of living at home made me yearn for the freedom of our own routine.
Then there was the rain. It arrived one day and hovered around ready to pounce if we looked like we were having too much fun. Yorkshire was mocking me for over-sharing our Geneva escapades. You were bragging Bainbridge, so take that! I came to the swift realisation that wet weather activities with three boys are rather limited. Cinema and swimming were out with the toddler, so I resorted to the sweet hell of soft play. With the older two wiping out dainty girls on the slide and the smallest licking the gruffalo mouse he kindly rescued from the ball pool I lasted half an hour. Not before being coerced into buying quavers and fruit shoots, while sobbing at the memory of ice creams a la piscine.
But soft play was like bouncing on clouds compared to the nine hours in a car we endured a few days later. After losing power on the M1 we had to drive at 20mph through the back streets of Derbyshire, trying not to get out and punch the smiley face signs congratulating us on our perfect speed. Rescue found us at a roadside fast food joint in Loughborough, eating battered sausages. An all time family low was declared. This was definitely in the two zone. We continued on to Surrey, me shamelessly popping the toddler Haribo happy pills. I whooped when we finally reached home. A home with beds in bits and boxes blocking the door, but miraculously with a bottle of wine that wasn’t French.
Now we’re in our little corner of the Home Counties the trio has adopted a routine of Netflix binges, sandwich snacks and trips to the village rec to run off their boy steam. I meanwhile am rediscovering the delights of online food shops and the middle-class garden centre – though my bank balance isn’t such a fan. Of course there have been plenty of joyful parenting moments, but my patience is being tested with the toddler not letting me out of sight after being traumatised when I got locked in my bedroom and he decided to poo on the landing and me having to say ‘use your words’ a gazillion times a day – the 5 he has! I have to admit that right now I am one Paw Patrol episode away from booking myself a mid-holiday spa retreat. No kids, no husband, just me and The Girls. Who knows I might even get to the end of it.
But of course I must sit it out. Try and magic up some child-thrilling excursions to fill our days. Thank goodness the toddler still naps – for four hours if I let him though that means I’m still watching Peppa Pig at 10pm. During his naps I try to get the other boys to partake in some school work. I panic booked a tutor but her second visit was met with the middle child mumbling ‘oh not this again’. Unsurprisingly she wasn’t so keen to return. So now it’s over to me with a daily mixture of bribery and threats, followed by twenty minutes of my best encouraging voice while seething inside.
I’m sure that in a few weeks time I’ll be weeping on to their freshly ironed uniform and cursing the early starts. The house will seem hollow and I’ll be wondering what to do with all my time. Though I’m sure the teething toddler will have some ideas. Next summer I’ll probably be working and it’ll be camp central, and no doubt I’ll be complaining about that too. So I’ll suck up my grumpiness and make a list of our must-dos before the holidays come to a close, keeping it cheap cheap for the husband.
Anyone for a bike ride to the postbox? It’ll be great fun!
I am rapidly running of patience and funs