The schools are just about to break up for the long summer holidays. In my case 7 whole weeks. All that time to fill with activities. Fights to referee and monkeys to juggle. Excited by the lack of daily school run but apprehensive about the sheer volume of pressure to meet a million and one monkey needs. If you are feeling the pressure already, here are some of my pointers to manage summer monkey madness.
I’ll break this down into two subheadings. They are Food and spare clothes/shoes.
- Food: You must take it plenty of food and spare food and more food. It doesn’t matter where you are, there will never be enough food. You could be looking at a picnic packed into a large wheeled suitcase. It won’t be enough food. You will still be expected to purchase an ice cream and other stuff you would never dream of buying them. Like bubblegum flavoured slush!!!
- Spare clothes and shoes: No matter where you go out during the school holidays, someone will always end up wet or dirty or have an exploding poo. I can guarantee that at least one monkey will always fall or wade into a river or an ocean or a puddle or a decorative water feature. Your monkeys will consider you a fool if you suggest that they should wear wellies or other weather appropriate clothing or footwear. Therefore, you must always pack lots of spare clothes and a towel.
Note: It is advisable to hire a big white van for the summer. Your regular car does not have enough space for the extra supplies required for a trip to the park.
Make an inflexible and flexible plan
Make a plan for activities to take place the next day, stick to the plan rigidly, despite calls of “I don’t want to do that” or “I don’t like that” or “I’m bored” or “you are the worstest mummy in the world ever”. Eventually, begin to change the plan here and there to attempt to reduce the whining. Finally give in and buy more ice cream.
Always have a contingency plan involving an ice cream.
The summer holidays are long and will at times be hard work. If you find yourself stood in the middle of the park, no money left for ice cream, one monkey having a melt down, one soaking wet and the other having had another badly timed poo, call for help. Assemble your team. Other mummies and daddies are looking for help too. Arrange to go out together, have play dates, take on the summer together.
Even better, send out a call for help to the greatest bunch of superheroes. They always have money for ice creams. Grandparents Assemble! Suggest a day out, not involving you. Wave them off for a few hours of peace and quiet. Recharge your batteries. Breath in and out. Have a straight thought. In my case, make time for a run. Then when you get the monkeys back later you will be ready to appreciate their lovely qualities again.
Don’t think you have to do it alone or that asking for help is giving in. Every parent needs and deserves a break. Looking after yourself might just mean the summer holidays aren’t as bad as you thought they were going to be. In reality, if you remove the whining and moaning, the monkeys aren’t so bad really and you’ll miss them come September.
This post is an entry for the BritMums confession of a Summer Parent Challenge, sponsored by Anchor.