school holidays – love them or hate them, in Queensland we are half way through the first lot of holidays for the year. While they offer a brief respite from the madness that is the morning rush, the change of routine and forced time together usually spells fighting, bickering, arguing, and frustration.
This set of holidays has seen all manner of arguments. Ranging from seemingly insignificant to life or death matters concerning minecraft, Lego or my little pony. Matters so dire that tears, tantrums and punching is invoked. And let me tell you, it’s downright tiring.
Most nights already, there is that sigh after the bedtime stories are read, the door closed and the last ‘good nights’ are spoken. That sigh of knowing that your day as a parent is done and now, if you can stay awake past the boring cleaning stuff, you can have some time to yourself. I must say, this sigh is intensified on holidays. A few hours of no kid saying “mum she/he hit/punched/pinched/looked at/stared/laughed at me……sounds positively glorious!
Yep – the constant cries of, ‘it’s not fair to me’ followed by the flurry of apologies for breaking or spilling or something else – It’s so tiring. Being a referee all day everyday is not fun! And honestly not laughing at the situation whilst trying to reprimand them is a skill! I mean, I think it’s funny that Caitlyn drew on Brendan’s face – she said he needed more colour. Maybe he did. But Brendan was crying about because he didn’t like it; and he didn’t quite like the fact that I was laughing either. Good Mum 0 – Bad Mum 1.
I do ask for explanations, and in doing this I’ve set myself up for a story every time. My simple ‘explain yourself/yourselves’ has turned into a blow by blow account followed by the whys and what fors and any other relevant factor. It is hysterical. It is on par with a debate at school – poorly prepared, with the addition of lots of emotive thoughts, hopes and pleads. Long winded stories about just how the walls came to have names written on them, or the fact that every single matchbox car has been jammed into a display sharps container I use for students (and let me tell you, that took ages to get them all out!). Some times I lose sight of what actually happened when I am listening to the ‘cases’ such is the art of their deception. Sometimes I lose track of what I am actually cranky at them for – such is the occurrence on school holidays. I don’t know if it is just me, or if school holidays bring out the spunk and the funk in them.
Trips to the shops, normally completed with military precision (my common line is ‘don’t break formation’ as they walk two by two behind me or two next to me and two behind me) seem to take FORever. It’s like their brains are on pause and they stop to look at every shiny, pink, big, little or any thing. It is infuriating. Because I don’t have the time (or at least perceive that I don’t) to stop and look at the shiny stuff. I have a list, I have to get it, get out and get more stuff done. Simple. Nope, school holidays leave me battling with my own demons about order, play time, eating and entertaining the kids. I know I cannot be alone in being at my wits ends with hearing ‘Muuum, I am bored’; at least 10 times a day. And that is the times I am actually listening to them (yep I just admitted not listening to them).
I find that it is almost impossible to ‘not’ do anything on a week day without them feeling hard done by. It’s like school holidays means you have to up the ante – you have to out do the last school holidays or something. You have to (or at least they make me feel as though I have too) take them out, and DO fun stuff. I think I have done my fair share of motherhood movies – Frozen. Still a favourite in my house, and wow, I think we are in the 30’s for times watched. Yeah, its a beautiful movie, and yeah, I still get a little tear when Anna actually freezes, but wow, Let it Go is just torture over and over. Meh. Next thing – not screen related. We go to an indoor play centre. Hours of fun. Hours of listening to other kids scream, cry and be ignored by their parent in some cases. I don’t know how I swing it, but I always seem to be the parent that has to open and close the gate every single time when a kid is banging on it trying to get in or out – I search for a parent and never get a response – what is the decorum here? Argh! Silent torments of the school holiday entertainment. You see it written on every parents/caregivers face that is there. They are doing it because it is easier than staying at home.
Cue the trips to the movies ($60 just for tickets) and the fights over whether its a boys movie or a girls movie. Mind you only Caitlyn poses this argument, the others are just ecstatic to be going and getting popcorn. The toilet trips in the movies that mean you miss out on bits of a movie that you thought you never wanted to watch anyway. Oh the irony. Ask me about any blockbuster and bet your bottom dollar I have not seen it – ask me about any Disney/Pixar or kids movie and chances are I have. Good Mum 1 – Bad Mum 2/3 (not listening….oh the list is long).
While I love the routine that school brings, I do love holidays. I get to spend all this time with them – and yep, while the refereeing is frustrating and tiring, it is also pretty magical. Watching them interact, and grow with each other is pretty cool. We live in a small street and we are (according to my kids) ‘the cool house’ – all the local kids come over and play at our house – and it is great to see them interact with other kids. Not so great when they go to neighbours houses and then ask for food or to use the toilet (and yep that is why they went, ton see what their toilet looked like and to see what food they eat). So while I crave 730pm and cracking my latest addiction (Netflix – wow, just wow) on the treadmill, I still love the happenstance and serendipity that can be school holidays. Maybe not so much when they are a bit older and will argue even more. Maybe not so much when they eat me out of house and home and don’t want to go see Disney movies anymore. Who knows? All I do know is that I write this stuff down. Because it won’t be the same in another few months. Things will be different, and the goalposts will have shifted again.