We’re finally here! The end of term that seemed a million miles away, that has been tick-ticking down, the time when we can relax and spend time with loved ones and rediscover lie-ins and luxury…
It’s taken me 20 years of teaching to properly identify that the transition from full-on term-time mania to holiday-mode is actually quite tough, and can take as long as two weeks. Actually, I’m kind of grateful I’ve got a week of summer school ahead to make it all a bit less abrupt.
I’ve never been great at swathes of ’empty’ time. For someone naturally not particularly organised, I must admit to a certain comfort in the tetris-style organisational complexities of the week; in having every moment of my time (and more) accounted for; to being actively ‘useful’. Periods of illness have driven me to distraction. I really struggled with the unstructured elements of my first maternity leave.
So these days are usually a bit of a flashpoint for family tension. It’s a different sort of tired… the type which has built up over weeks and months. And it’s not just me; it’s the kids too. They’re still in term-time pace, so require constant entertainment, are quick to bicker, and seem to have lost all independence (and courtesy). Mummy, can you open this? Mummy, get me a drink? Or, this morning, ‘Mummy, I need Daddy’s hair gel so I can push my hair back and make it stick to my neck!’
The house is in post-nuclear disaster state, and all the domestic duties that I’ve put off until the holiday, the broken chairs and overflowing wardrobes, the stuffed ‘random sock bag’, and piles and piles and piles of Stuff, are leering at me and making me feel quite inadequate. Not to mention all the friends I’ve neglected over recent months who I want to contact and arrange to see.
If there were ever a time for a bit of patience, and kindness – to ourselves and those around us – this is it.The housework can wait for a bit. I’m turning down yet another invitation for a night out, as there have been many this week, and, whilst they’ve been delightful, I have to admit to being a little goodbyed-out.
So, it will be a lovely holiday. One of the best earned in a long time, and with the kids at a truly delightful age, and with family time and time with excellent friends to indulge in. I will accustom myself to not having to feel that I’m ‘achieving’ something with every single action. The kids will be content with one piece of entertainment in a day, and will be happy to mooch and bug-hunt and play with the hose. There will be plenty of lying on sofas covered in small people. I just need a bit of healing time first.