Bright and early this morning, as I sipped at a coffee that wasn’t strong enough while thinking about my dream from the night before (-Superman, but not actual Superman, just Dean Cain from the Lois and Clarke adventures show that was on years ago, was my best buddy, and we went to dinner where he ran into an unrecognisable waiter who was his enemy so we left after noting that the sky was pink-) the two Littles bounced around me as I tried to wake myself up.
Leona: Mum, what are we doing today?
Lex: Can we go out today?
Leona: Let’s go to the big park with the sprinklers.
Lex: No, we went there the other day. How about the park with the football goal so we can play footie.
Leona: No. Mum, tell him no. We always play football. Why don’t we decide on something we both like. Cinema? We still haven’t seen Finding Dory. (Breaks into an operatic version of Just Keep Swimming from the original Finding Nemo and mashes it up with Queens We Will Rock You)
Lex: (Completely ignores his sisters absurd singing because her screeching tunes is pretty normal in this house) Oh I know, let’s go swimming!!
Leona: How about the soft play place? Ooooo I wonder if the big slide is open.
Lex: Ooooo yes. Good idea Leona. Mum? So can we??
Leona: Mum? Are we going out? Will we do that? That or the cinema. (Starts singing again, thankfully non operatic this time.)
Both: Mum???? What shall we do Mum, hey Mum what do you think?????
Me: Makes another coffee, stronger this time, while wondering if I can put all the clocks forward to convince the Littles it’s time for dinner and bed. Mwahahahaha. Serious note, I saw that in a movie once and I always wondered why the kids didn’t get it was still daylight and that they skipped lunch. My kids would be on it like Albert Einstein.
After all that, do you know what we ended up doing today? All those options, all that choice and more that wasn’t said. We ended up doing nothing. I mean, not nothing as in NOTHING, but really nothing. The day for me kind of went like this……
*Drinks coffee, makes (different, as always) breakfasts for two Littles while telling them we might go somewhere. Thinks about my Dean Cain dream again and what it could mean. <<< Not much, according to the dream website I looked at.
*Turns the TV on and lets the Littles have their eyes glued to cartoon network for a solid hour while I click on pointless articles on Buzzfeed.
*Puts three loads of washing on, folds a gazillion items of washing and puts them away, tells the Littles to help me put clothes away and sort the DVDs that have all escaped out of their cases. Basically a crappy parent game of ‘This is a chore but let’s see who does it fastest’ which always seems to work no matter how old they get. *TEENAGE YEARS ENTERS. LAUGHS. MUTTERS ‘YOU’LL SEE’. LEAVES*
*Makes early lunch for us three because being lazy can have that affect on you.
*Washes up lunch things and sends Littles out into garden for a few hours in the sunshine while vaguely agreeing that maybe I would take them to the library later.
*EndS up not taking them to the library and instead puts on more washing, does a spring (summer) clean behind the sofa to retrieve lost lego and books, passes the growing Littles snacks and drinks out to the garden every so often.
*Smiles while listening to them playing nicely. Scowls as they constantly bicker. Clicks and reads more pointless internet articles.
*Dinner time creeps up on us and before I know it, it is time for baths and bed.
So as you can see, it truly was a day spent doing not much. And sometimes today, I have felt guilty. I can’t help it. Logging on to Facebook and seeing my friends with children all filling their summer holidays with lavish and expensive trips. It just seemed like the day I chose not to do anything, everyone else was doing something.
But as I sit here typing this, I realise that it just doesn’t matter. This time last year during the summer holidays, I had a job that saw me working through so much of the holidays that I barely knew they had come and gone. Before I knew it, the Littles were back at school. This year, I am fortunate to have a job where I can spend more time with them during the holidays and we have definitely tried to make the most of them. But it’s six long weeks, and sometimes…you just need a day to do nothing, ya know?
I guess I am a great believer in getting out and making memories, so if I feel that a day has been wasted, the guilt kind of creeps up on me. But that is just stupid because everyone needs days to sit in and laze around as well. Children are going to remember the times you were there with them, and the times you had fun as a family no matter where you were or what you were doing. And that’s what we did today. We all had fun doing nothing together and it was glorious.
We are a fair way into the holidays now and I am pleased that we have managed quite a few trips and had some brilliant times. I know that I am not the only parent feeling guilt over the holidays and I think it is such a shame so many of us feel like that. We shouldn’t you know. We are all just doing our best.
The holidays are an expensive time. Even if you just go to parks and beaches the whole time (which is perfectly acceptable and mostly what we do), you can still get caught out into buying things. When the Littles are with you all day and not at school you end up buying more food, more drink, more sunscreen, more cheap toys to keep them amused, more clothes because they are wearing theirs out with all the running and climbing…..just more of everything. Then there are the big days out, maybe a theme park, maybe cinema trips or parties. Then of course, many families will pay out for holidays….maybe abroad, maybe here in the UK….and not only does a holiday cost a fortune anyway, add to the fact parents and families can only go away in peak times or risk being fined and jailed, the over all cost of school holidays can sky rocket. That’s not to mention buying all the back to school gear which is a subject for another day.
I am one of those weird Mums, I absolutely love the school holidays. You know you see some parents at the school gates taking their kids back to school and whooping with delight? Well I’m the one walking away trying not to cry, knowing that we don’t have as much time together now and that with each new term, they get older and more independent. Good for them of course, but heartbreaking for me. I watch so many Mums desperate to get their kids back to school. I’ve even heard one Mum say as she watched her little darlings go in the school gates …”Thank fuck for that, the last few weeks have been hell with them at home.” ((Then this same Mum genuinely went on to express her excitement to her friend that she could watch as much Jeremy Kyle as she wishes now it’s term time – whatever floats your boat)) I’m not judging. I’m very good friends with one Mum who won’t mind me saying that she counts down the days til school opens again. But I am definitely the opposite, even when my two bicker and fight and shout and stomp and argue over the TV which is probably a good twenty three hours of the day, I still love every minute.
I just want all the parents out there to acknowledge each other and say that it doesn’t matter.
If you have spent your summer holidays mostly at home because of money, anxiety, having a new baby while looking after your older ones….it doesn’t matter.
If you went on a six week cruise and saw the world, giving your children the trip of a lifetime….it doesn’t matter. (But also, can I get in on that for next year? Ta.)
If you spent the six weeks on days out, spending more money than you are bringing in and making sure they have moments they never forget, it doesn’t matter.
If you have spent the summer holidays like me and filled it up with stuff and laziness then guess what? It doesn’t matter.
Please don’t sit at your computer and look at other peoples lives feeling guilty like I did today. I mostly praise the internet, it can be a wonderful thing. But it can also make you feel inadequate. You can’t feel less of a person just because somebody you know who has six children has taken their kids out for a weekend trip at a theme park while staying at a posh hotel. You just have to know that you have done what worked for you, you did what you can manage and that is all that matters. The rest doesn’t.
I have noticed a lot of parenting blogs out there recently. Some are giving you harsh truths, some are funny, some are useful and some are just plain boring, like mine! << Yes that is a hint to drop me some lovely comments about how it’s not boring, and no, I don’t feel ashamed in writing that because you know…I only have about two readers…who are also my friends….so go for it. But I think all of these blogs, all of these parents, all of these humans….they are just looking for acceptance and reassurance that they are doing OK. And that if they didn’t get around to doing as much as they promised they would, then it doesn’t matter.
I think I have suitably over used my title for this blog now, but hey….It Doesn’t Matter. Am I right? Yeah. I’m right.
Now for some totally unrelated to anything I said in this blog pictures. Enjoy!!