school holidays

The Frazzled Parents Guide To Surviving The School Holidays

At the end of the school term last year I couldn’t wait for the holidays to arrive.
At a time when I reckon its best to be winding down and easing into the weeks before Christmas, our school seemed to go crazy. Ag day, school plays, countless shared lunches, a school netball trip to Rarotonga (can’t really complain about that one), Christmas carols in the country, athletics, and endless assemblies and prizegivings. I’m not sure how teachers cope…or even worse teachers with young school-age kids!
There was also an onslaught of extracurricular activities. We had after-school sports from Monday through to Sunday, and a ballet production that required mother help for a whole weekend.

I was so beside myself I started to get a bad attitude.
I craved unstructured, I craved no lunchboxes, I craved no taxi driving after school, and I also started to forget things. But because of my bad attitude, I didn’t give a shit…which meant my kid was the worst looking corned beef in the school play (she’s lucky I actually turned up to watch it).

Its 3/4 of the way through January, and now I’d give my left arm for the kids to go back to school.
Oh my god, the bickering has driven me nuts! My son can’t control the urge to tackle his sisters or keep his hands to himself, and they’re playing this game where you fart and say ‘mackerel’ then punch the person nearest you until they name 5 species of fish. So there’s lots of farting, fighting and yelling about fish.
There’s also a constant battle of me turning off the T.V, removing devices, shooing them outside, and them sneaking back inside when I’m not looking.

They want to be entertained all the time, and I don’t feel like it’s my job to entertain them 24/7.
I’ve been wondering if I’m the only person that cannot handle being around their kids.
But I realised I’m not alone, as my husband (a builder), who has been managing his crew from home this year, suddenly has a lot of work on and needs to be in at the building sites every day.

And so for any parents out there that may be struggling to get through these last few weeks of the summer holidays, I’ve compiled a list of ideas that may just give you some inspiration on how to survive.

Tackle the whinging the whining and the fighting head on
At one stage these holidays, the bickering got so bad I turned into ‘bad cop’.
Usually, my husband is ‘bad cop’, and I’m ‘good cop’, but we became ‘bad cop’, ‘worse cop’.
We gave them a 3-day tune up. They were on lockdown, early bedtimes, no outings, no T.V, no friends. They cleaned out cupboards, mowed lawns, water blasted the driveway, sorted their clothes and basically worked their little arses off for three days straight. At the end of the three days, they were ready to think twice about their behaviour, or at least hide their bickering from us, and I had a nice and tidy house. WINNING!

I’m not into arts and crafts, or baking….or cooking…but I do love a good dance. Turn the music up loud and get stupid. It lifts the mood, and the kids love it when you get silly. Our kids love to sing along to ‘Highway To Hell’ ACDC.
Sometimes I feel like I’m in hell.

Get their friends over
If they’re not on lockdown that is.
More kids = change in dynamics = less boredom and fighting. Just be prepared to have enough food in the house, and for the noise volume to increase tenfold. Hopefully, another kind parent will reciprocate.

I don’t know about you but if I don’t exercise I slowly start a mental decline into where my family members hide when I walk into the room. Exercise seems to take the edge off the stress, helps me see the woods for the trees.

Avoid Supermarket shopping with children
Kids aren’t stupid, they know when they have you in a weak position, and when you’re in the supermarket, you’re weak.
You’re trying to navigate your way through tight supermarket aisles, you’re making decisions on food items, you’re stressed because they’re getting in other peoples way, or they suddenly need to poo, you just want to LEAVE. Like a shark sensing potential prey, they’ll hone in on you and harass you for lollies as you struggle at the checkout. How many times can you say no quietly before you lose it and crack it in front of everyone?

Listen to podcasts
My son relentlessly talks about youtube vloggers and internet memes.
Now to me, it sounds like a whole bunch of bullshit. When I can’t stand it anymore, I put on my headphones and listen to podcasts. I nod along like I’m listening to him, he doesn’t even notice. My favourite podcast is “My Dad wrote a Porno” It’s hilarious…and disgusting.

Get Outdoors
Everything is better when we are outside, beach, bush walks, bike riding, parks. One trick I’ve learned is to keep sunscreen, hats, a drink bottle and shoes in the car. There’s always one of my kids that forgets to put their shoes on. My car’s a mess, but that’s ok.

So there you have it, the un-crafty, non-baker Mums guide to surviving the holidays.
I’m totally up for a celebratory brunch Monday the 4th of Feb if anyone wants to join me.