39 stages all parents go through in the summer holidays
When we were limping towards the end of term, the long summer holidays couldn’t come quickly enough. Six weeks of no alarm clocks, no battles over homework, no forgotten PE kits: what more could we want?
But once the holiday begins in earnest, reality bites. Here are some of the emotions we all go through in the school summer hols. How many days until September?
Summer holidays: Week 1
1. Hurrah! It’s the end of term! No alarm clocks tomorrow morning! Let’s stay up till midnight drinking prosecco in celebration!
2. OMG, are they SERIOUSLY getting up at 6am on the first day of the holidays? So much for my lie-in. Where's the Berocca?
3. Ah, how lovely to have six weeks of freedom stretching out ahead of us. No packed lunches to make, no uniform to iron… Bliss!
4. Or it would be, if the wretched kids would stop bickering. Since when has, ‘He looked at me’ been a valid excuse for starting a fistfight?
5. Is 5pm too early for gin?
6. And how much screen time is too much? Their eyes aren’t actually square yet…
Summer holidays: Week 2
7. Right, let’s get these kids out of the house. Let’s go to the zoo! Everyone loves the zoo!
8. Turns out everyone DOESN’T love the zoo. Not after shelling out £100 to spend all day getting drizzled on, listening to kids whinging, defusing tantrums over dropped ice creams… Even the animals look miserable.
9. And a three-hour traffic jam with a car sick child on the way home. Living the dream.
10. Roll on our actual holiday.
Summer holidays: Week 3
11. Everyone up at 4am ready for our flight. Passports: check. Tickets: check. Backpack full of snacks, drinks, comics, spare clothes, Calpol, travel sickness tablets… This was so much easier pre-kids.
12. Hmmm. The accommodation looked much nicer on the website. The air con is broken, the shower is a pathetic trickle and there’s a swarm of mosquitoes hovering around the bedroom. But who cares: there’s a kids’ club!
13. Off you go, kids! Go and make friends! Have a great time! *Collapses on sun lounger and promptly falls asleep.* This is the life!
14. Or it would be if I didn’t have to do just as much cooking, cleaning, washing and drying as I do at home, only with a dodgy two-ring hob and an unfathomable washing machine instead of my own home comforts.
15. The kids are hot and grouchy, they won’t eat the food at the buffet and are living on chips and ice cream, and how am I supposed to convince all my friends that we’re having the time of our lives when they won’t let me take a nice family photo to put on Facebook?
16. At least the local plonk is cheap.
Summer holidays: Week 4
17. Home, sweet home. Now I just need to scale the Kilimanjaro of laundry, find homes for all the plastic tat the kids insisted on buying, and spend the best part of a month’s salary restocking the food cupboard.
18. I wonder how many duvet days in a row I can get away with?
19. Time to post a desperate message on Facebook to make up for not having left the house all week. ‘Does anyone fancy a playdate?’
20. Why on earth did I think a playdate was a good idea? These kids are feral!
21. No, you cannot have a snack. You only just finished your lunch.
22. Oh, go on then, but fruit only, okay? Fruit only.
23. Jaffa Cakes are NOT FRUIT. Oh, what the hell…
24. Is it wine o’clock yet? It must be past 6pm somewhere in the world, right?
25. How can they be hungry AGAIN? They’ve been eating non-stop all day long. Does cereal count as a balanced evening meal?
26. Praise the Lord: there are still spaces at holiday club! *Weeps with relief.*
Summer holidays: Week 5
27. Finally, the kids have adjusted to a holiday timetable and are no longer waking at the crack of dawn. Eight o’clock lie-ins every day: oh yes!
28. Mummy guilt kicks in as it dawns that no one has opened a reading book/picked up their musical instrument/practised their times tables all summer. Quick, print off some worksheets!
29. According to Instagram, half the school are at DisneyWorld and the other half have spent the summer doing enriching educational activities. And we’ve wasted the best part of five weeks watching TV and eating fish fingers.
30. Better drag the kids around the nearest fusty old museum so it looks like we’ve made the most of our summer. They’ll do anything if I promise them a Happy Meal on the way home.
31. Disaster! The iPad is broken! How am I going to entertain the kids now?
Summer holidays: Week 6
32. What sort of idiot leaves the school shoes shopping trip until the last week of the holidays? Oh yes; that’d be me.
33. And what in Heaven’s name is that decomposing at the bottom of my child’s school bag? Should’ve emptied it out at the end of term!
34. Time to try to get the kids back into a routine – and they’re NOT impressed. How the heck am I going to get them up in time for school next week?
35. Better just try on the uniform I bought in the 20 per cent off sale at the end of last term.
36. Oh, come on! Growing three inches in the space of six weeks is just ridiculous!
37. Meh. Too bad. They’ll have to make do with last year’s uniform. It’ll be fine, as long as no one looks too closely.
The last night
38. We've got the school uniform laid out ready, school shoes and bags by the front door, packed lunches made, hair washed and de-nitted. What have we forgotten?
39. So that’s all, folks. The alarm is set, and it's back to school tomorrow. Aww. It’s gone so quickly… Can’t we have another few weeks?!