Summer holiday anxiety By Kate Sloan @hiddenbeneathunderwear
In a couple of weeks it will be the end of the school year (how quick has that gone?) which means for the majority of parents up and down the UK there are six or so weeks of holiday time with kids that need filling up with entertainment and not to mention childcare.
Personally, as a stay-at-home parent of a 5 and 2 year old this gives me anxiety. I’ve felt like this before every Christmas, Half-term and Easter break and I can’t imagine I’m alone. In the run up to these holidays I get filled with dread, that it will be too hard, the pressure to do something or go somewhere every day is a lot and am I a bad mum if I don’t fill up their days? Of course I’m not but it doesn’t stop the thoughts entering my brain. This is all without the added stress of affording childcare which, many working parents have to bear but that’s another post.
I know the majority of these pressures come from social media, the place where we only show the best bits of our lives. Let’s not forget there are a lot of tantrums before and after these pictures, you’re only seeing a millisecond of someone’s life at the end of the day. However, noticeably in the last couple of years you can now find many places on the internet where mothers share the beautifully ugly realities of child rearing. This is great, it definitely helps to see their troubles as we all know how lonely parenthood can be but when the shit hits the fan, and this is literal for me as I’m potty training the 2 year old, it can be forgotten.
So far what I have planned is a long-weekend away to Peppa pig world (I live in Jersey) and a weeks’ worth of activity camp for the 5 year old, which is quite costly when you survive on one salary. My thought is that if I plan it out in advance it won’t be so bad. I’m fortunate that I live in a place with quite a lot of activities for kids, but there is only so many times I can go to the same parks and play centres without losing my mind or contracting the Norovirus.
Another way to fill up the days is playdates. I was one of the first out of my friendship group to have kids and over the past 6 years I have definitely noticed the loss of connections with people I used to see on a regular bases, not to mention that most of them have left the island for work resulting in me trying to make new friends, which if I’m honest I find difficult. That second before you send that message asking to meet up can be so uncomfortable but someone has to make the first move. So I reach out to my eldest new school friends mums and we meet, the kids play and it’s nice.