BUSY-MUMMA TIPS - How to get through the Summer Holidays
Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Summer Holidays are RIGHT up there in my 'most stressful life events' list... I think it should be death, divorce, house move, summer holidays.. Not because I have horrible children, nor is it because I don't relish every minute of being with them (well, most minutes!) it's more the juggling. Working from home, a husband to care for (who now is home 48 hours per week), 4 children to amuse, bake for/cook for/entertain/wash/clean/help/counsel... etc, etc, etc. It's no small feat! Single parent-hood, I can tell you, was not cut out for the weak!
I have been racking my brains to see how I can do this holiday differently. I thought I would share some of my ideas:
It isn't possible to do it all, so:
Pick your battles
Let go of the non-essential things, do they really have to eat off clean plates? OK, exaggerating a bit, but household tasks can be reduced to a minimum (which I find impossible as I am a clean freak and cannot bear anything out of place!)
Share the tasks
I am lucky enough that my children are at the age where they can be almost entirely independent (it's been a long while coming!) I have decided to allocate them certain chores and have asked them to write up a rota. This way, they see what they need to do, they have some control as they pick when and who to share the tasks with. Chores/tasks include:
Cooking dinner (find recipe you like, get bus to shop to get ingredients, cook)
Bake a cake
Apple bobbing (who says this is a Halloween only game?!)
Write a song/rap
Make pancakes for breakfast
Learn a new thing - yo-yoing, skate boarding, sewing, squash, tieing shoelaces in cool ways, how to do the splits, ventriloquism, learn to beat box (yeah and boots and cats and boots and cats, see, I've clearly already nailed it)... get creative with the learn a new skill!
Go to the park
Learn to use the washing machine
Make it fun
I have included 'cooking dinner' as a task, and making pancakes for breakfast, there's also baking cakes & decorating them. My son likes to cook, as does my eldest daughter, but the younger two prefer to bake & I know I can get at least an hour or two where they will be immersed in this (with the occasional squabble that may or may not resort in 'right, I am going to throw it out the window if you can't decide who does what' threats)... Obviously cooking dinner is a bonus for me, as it's one less thing for me to do as I try and get some work done!
Whereas I like my kids to have their down time (it's SUPER important), I also think a good work ethic and demonstrating the work & play ethic is a great one to instil in our kids. There are websites that have some great resources that are good fun and not just boring work sheets, that serve a purpose. I have decided that an hour or so per day to keep up their learning is a good way to make sure their stimulating their brains and also reaping the benefits of their downtime. I have a child who is dyslexic and needs a great deal of help with her subjects, so I plan to give her older siblings pocket money if they are able to work with her, and I will over see and intervene if needs be.
All this said, nothing is going to be perfect, and in all honesty, even if I get a few hours per day done I will be thinking I am superhuman! I plan for a little, and if anything more than this is possible, I will be extremely happy!
I also will 'clock off' towards the end of the day and make sure I get some long evenings down on the beach cooking up food on our outdoor cooking stove - our favourite thing to do as a family. there's obviously the trips to visit Alex (for those who don't know, see my personal blog here) and his 48 hours at home - so I will probably be winging a lot of that!
Also, don't forget, where there is a child, there is bribery possibilities, if in a stand off with your child, how can you bribe them? An ice-cream? Chocolate? Pocket money? If they see the rewards, they will be FAR more willing. Mine usually opt for screen time or money as their chosen reward.
May the force be with you parents/carers/guardians/grandparents...
Good luck on your Summer holiday mission!
Peace and bribery,