I was walking around Target yesterday and it was like a comical-but-kind-of-sad scene from a movie:
Everywhere I looked there were mugs and jumpers and chocolate bars and slippers which screamed “Best Mum Ever”, “Best Mum In The World”.
While – in stark contrast – I just screamed at my kids to “leave the lipstick sample stand alone” and to “please get out of the underwear rack”, and felt somewhere very far from the Best Mum Ever.
It’s the end of our first school holidays. And I’m going to say something out loud that I didn’t know and which I feel like a traitor saying:
School holidays are hard work.
And I really didn’t enjoy some bits of it.
Let me rush to assure you – and assuage some of my guilt in admitting this to you – that there have been beautiful times: I have savoured not making lunches, I have muttered a prayer of gratitude for every morning that passes without me having to rush everyone out the door. We have had a glorious week away with family in the sun, and another week of reconnecting with friends and grandparents for hours of structureless play and pottering.
Those bits have been pure bliss.
But there has also been terrible listening, tantrums, whinging, tiredness and fighting. And that’s just from me. Don’t get me started on the kids …
By the end of this week I felt like I wasn’t doing anything very well.
I wasn’t doing anything for me, and felt resentful at all that I was doing for the kids.
I wasn’t getting any of my stuff done, wasn’t in touch with any of my friends including 2 of my best friends who were going through Big Stuff, and still the kids wanted more, more, more. Cue the guilt.
The house was a mess, and I was a bit of a mess. Cue more guilt.
I have come to realise how much I love the structure of term time and it’s predictability; the very things I was craving a break from just a couple of weeks ago.
I have also come to realise how I enjoy my time with my girls so much more when we have time apart. And that I am a far more available, patient, kind Mum when I get time to myself. Time to reflect, to write, to meditate, to talk (uninterrupted) with friends.
I have been garnering wisdom from Mummas who have more experience in school holidays – for I know this is the start of a couple of decades of them for our family, and I don’t want to dread them or to merely survive them, but want to make them a special time for us all.
Balance seems to be the answer.
Planned, no plans.
I used to always say “I need to work on this” when I identified an area I needed more growth and my gorgeous kinesiologist, Emma, would wisely reply, “Clare, just notice it, nothing more”.
So, as we look to Term 2, I notice the need for balance.
Planned, no plans.