Scratching your head in frustration wondering, if, you are not going away, how you intend to keep your little horrors occupied for the two or three weeks they have off.
One of the nuances of 21st century parenting is this ideal that even if you are at home with your children it has to be time well spent rather than doing nothing with a capital N.
So much so that children have forgotten the art of joyful playing.
Parenting has become very competitive and it feels like ‘the who did what with whom and when’ when comparing who did the most exciting things over the break.
I on the other hand advocate the complete opposite and that is to do NOTHING!
The last half-term went something like this.
This holiday was no different to the christmas break! I’m bored, what can I do now?
Can I watch that film again? Can you take me to bla bla…
I have one sixteen year old studying for AS exams and a 12 year old bored because his brother is occupied.
How can you possibly be bored? Look at what you have around you as I pointed out the PS4, television, books, drawing and sketching.
When I was your age I was never bored and we didn’t have the things you have or great children’s television during the holiday time.
‘I hate playing on the PSP by myself’, came back the response from my younger son.
‘Poor you’, I said ‘can’t you arrange for a friend to come around and play’, can’t be bothered, and besides my best friends have gone skiing.
One of the things I have been guilty of as a mother is there has been a lot less ‘doing’ and more ‘vegging’.
I am doing my best to instil in my children the art of ‘vegging’ to be still like vegetables, in other words, to rest or sleep during the day, listen to music, pick up a book and read.
I was guilty of doing nothing, particularly when when they were young.
With various invites to pool parties, gymnastics and other activities, I was selective with the invitations because the prospect of sitting with mums talking about potty training, first words or what the little darlings had achieved that week filled me with boredom and horror.
Competitive parenting was not on my radar of expectations as a mother nor was traipsing around museums, parks or birthday parties just to keep them occupied and tantrum free.
They are now at the age where they come with us wherever we go with certain exceptions and I love it when they are with us. I feel it is payback for the lack of productive time I had with them when they were babies and toddlers.
My children were either in a baby jogger whilst I was running or at swimming pools and gyms rather than doing ‘something.’ And I have no regrets.
They got 100% of me then and the same now, but, when they were babies I spent my time in a state of workaholic frenzied insanity, the nursery took care of the day time whilst I loved and cooed with them at night time.
I do not feel under pressure now that they are older to organise and plan their days, they are old enough to think and do for themselves.
Their school days are packed with learning then there is homework, which I hate and extracurricular afterschool activities.
By the time the holidays arrive I want them to be bored, it gives them time to slow down, breathe, rest and think.
I am not about to schedule a holiday rammed with a host of activities just to keep them from being bored or to prevent world war three from breaking out because they fight with each other.
My children have always known I have to work and they are proud of that so much so that my youngest said to me, Mum you’re so cool I’m glad you’re not like so and so.
Big compliments indeed.
I also believe I am teaching them a solid work ethic and that it is perfectly alright for women to work.
My children are my number one priority but not at the expense of everything else. If I get a phone call from the school nurse advising me that one of them has a fever my response is I will get there when I can.
My life does not revolve solely around my children I want and need them to be independent of me otherwise they will enter the world ill equipped if my parenting is too child centered.
Giving them too much attention and constantly being on hand doesn’t foster self esteem, or the ability to think and play for themselves.
Instead, it creates narcissistic children who need constant adulation and attention and to be continually told just how good they are.
I want my children to develop into healthy adults capable of making choices and decisions without me.
I love my children but will not cater to their every whim just because they are bored.
Parenting has been turned into something that we should be doing rather than just simply being a parent.
There is nothing wrong with children ‘mucking about’ and having fun.
When I’m waiting in the car park this Friday and overhear conversations about planned trips to Dubai, Florida or some far flung destination, I’ll be smug in the knowledge that I’ll be going home with my children to ‘be still like vegetables’ and I’m rather looking forward to it.