Drum roll please – in just two short days the summer holidays will begin. And for six long weeks mums (and dads) across the land will be spending more time with their little darlings. How do you feel about this? Excited, pressured, anxious or just full of dread? Whatever your initial emotions, let me reassure you, as a counsellor, it’s normal. Childcare, we all know, can be incredibly hard work. Made harder still by a suffocating trend to be ‘making memories’ and having a great time, all the time. It’s just not realistic. And the pressure to be seen as a super mum – creative, cheerful, never cross, can pave the way for a summer holiday self-esteem melt down.
So, if any of this resonates with you and you’re wondering how your sanity is going to stay in place throughout the summer, then here are some tips to help.
3 tips for surviving the summer holidays
Some days are going to be awful – just accept it
6 weeks is a long time and it’s not possible, nor normal, that every day will be a good one, Some days will be lovely, some average and others will be absolutely awful. You’ll be snappy, the kids will be winding each other up, your partner won’t be pulling his weight and you’ll wish you were back at work. But it will pass, it’s just a shitty day – no big deal. By taking the view that summer holidays will be a mixed bag you take the pressure off yourself from the start, and create more realistic expectations for your 42 days of ‘family fun’.
And instead of thinking big, think small. Start banking those minor moments. Had an ice cream in the park without a tantrum? Bank it. Made daisy crowns in the garden together? Went to a swimming lesson and walked home in the sun? Commit it all to memory and savour it for the success it is. Because it’s these tiny moments that boost your summer holiday self esteem.
You’re not the unpaid events manager
Yes, it’s good to have some family days out to look forward to. But, it’s equally brilliant to chuck a blanket in the back yard, keep a watchful eye from the kitchen window, and just let the kids get on with it. If you need a reason to embrace such lackadaisical parenting then Dr Westgate believes that occasionally allowing children to be bored can help with their creativity, problem solving and social skills. She says,
“Guarding kids from ever feeling bored is misguided in the same way that guarding kids from ever feeling sad, or ever feeling frustrated, or ever feeling angry is misguided.”
Plan some treats just for yourself
A dreary day of Octonauts is made a lot more manageable by the thought of drinks with the girls tomorrow evening. Throughout the summer holidays don’t forget to plan multiple big and small treats, just for you. As much as we love our children, we all know looking after them can be dreadfully dull. So create moments for yourself to manage and offset the boredom. If it’s easier, then plan days out with other mums or invite them round for coffee so your kids can play in the garden together. It all helps to pass the time just a bit more peacefully. It also gives you the feeling that you’re acing this summer holiday business. And that’s a bonus for your summer holiday self-esteem and your sanity.
If you want to share your experiences or offer some tips, then I’d love to see them. As ever, just comment below.