Did the summer holidays have to end?

After six weeks with no school run, yesterday was the day my darling children returned to school. Having dropped them off in the morning, I dashed home and excitedly got on with a variety of DIY tasks that I had been wanting to deal with all summer.

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I’m not celebrating the end of these summer holidays. I’d have been happy if the kids had a few more weeks off school.

Shortly before the holidays started, we moved house. Although we had successfully unpacked all the boxes some weeks ago, we hadn’t managed to get any photos, pictures or anything personal in place. It still looked a house, rather than a home.

I knew it wouldn’t be practical to do any DIY during the school holidays. I could have tried, but I’d have rushed and no doubt I’d have had to deal with constant interruptions and demands from the kids. No, it was a much better idea to wait until the holidays had ended and the kids were back at school.

By the time I went to collect Helen and Izzy from school yesterday afternoon, each child had a pin board hanging on their bedroom wall, I’d hung a noticeboard in the kitchen, I’d carefully placed three clocks on various walls in the house, hung one picture and also installed a blind in the kitchen.

Most of these tasks may sound very easy, but living in a very modern house, the walls are lined with plasterboard so:

 

  1. A) I’m hyper-cautious about damaging the pristine walls because they’re so new and
  2. B) I had to get to grips with special plasterboard fixings I’d never used before.

 

This all meant that each job was very time consuming. It all went well, apart from the kitchen blind.

Unfortunately I had to resort to making some, ahem, ‘careful adjustments’ by smacking the fixings with a hammer. I’d got the measurements wrong by a few millimetres and this was the quickest way to get the blind in place.

The blind is installed and works perfectly, but it doesn’t look pretty. Not that this is too much of a problem as my little mistake will eventually be covered by some coving (this can be our little secret, yes?).

Of course the school day is very short and I wanted to do more. Even so, when I collected Helen and Izzy, I did so knowing I had achieved a lot in just a few hours.

I still have a lot of jobs to complete that l’d put on ice over the six-week break. There’s furniture to move, more pictures to hang, car insurance to renew, a complicated issue with our solar panels to deal with and a huge amount of laundry to get through. When I say “huge amount,” I mean there’s an absolutely massive pile of laundry to iron and an equally large one to wash.

I see a similar pattern every year when the summer break comes to an end. Parents of school-age kids celebrate the return to routine and having time to themselves each day. This year is no different and I’ve certainly noticed a lot of celebratory remarks and photos on social media.

I understand this. In previous years, I have got to week four of the summer holidays and found myself, quite literally, shaking with anxiety, watching as the state of the house slides from ‘filthy and untidy’ status to ‘clean and tidy as an overcrowded Philippine jail’.

This year, I simply don’t feel it. As the cliche goes, all good things must come to an end, but I was really enjoying spending time with Helen and Izzy.

Yeah, sure, the house desperately needs a clean. Even so, we’re a long way from Philippine Jail status. The laundry, well I could put a huge dent in that in a couple of hours.

The house needed personal touches, but we’d lived in it for a couple of months just fine. It could all have waited because I wasn’t as keen for the sun to set on the summer break.

I think I know part of the reason why I wasn’t feeling the usual anxiety. Helen’s nine, going on 15. With Izzy in her second year of formal schooling, I know she’s going to grow up at a frightening rate over the next year.

Will there be many more summer holidays like this one, when my kids enjoyed simple pleasures like playing at the seaside, walking in the  countryside and inline skating and cycling? I guess we’ll have another year or two and then the kids, led by Helen as she naturally craves independence, will want to spend time with friends.

The phrase ‘treasure every moment’ can seem more of an aspiration than a reality during term time, when you’re in the cycle of school drop off and collections, dashing to after school clubs and dealing with homework. With both my children at school, the school summer holidays provide me with a chance to do just that, treasure quality time with them. The DIY, laundry, cleaning, these jobs will always need doing. The school holidays only last a few weeks each year. This year, I’m not celebrating them coming to an end. I’m wishing they could have gone on for a bit longer.

Are you celebrating the end of the holidays? Were you desperate for the school bell to ring and get some ‘me’ time or are you like me, lamenting the passing of the summer break?

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10 Comments

  1. September 7, 2018 / 9:10 am

    Great post, John. You are so right about that quality time — the ironing will always get done. And it can be done whatever the weather, or season! Our kids are now 13 and almost 15, and that time of easy options is well past. Our daughter, in particular, is wrapped up in friends and let us call it “me time`” in her room. I welcomed the end of the school holidays, as it allows me more freedom to do things like this more easily! My own “me time”, if I am being honest

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 8, 2018 / 4:56 am

      Oh the teenage years. I see them coming down the track at great speed, which is why I treasure every moment now. The mundane stuff, the ironing, washing, cleaning, well, I spent about six hours doing that yesterday. Still not quite on top of it but I am winning the war!

  2. September 7, 2018 / 10:02 am

    I’m relieved that the holidays are over. It’s not about the ‘me time’ though – it’s just that they’re too long for all of us. My kids were probably ready to go back to school a couple of weeks ago,

    I haven’t been able to do much work and, when I don’t, we don’t have any money coming in.

    We also had to get our house market ready by early September or risk missing the boat so we needed them back in school for everyone’s good!

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 8, 2018 / 4:55 am

      Ah, you had reason for some domestic calm: A house sale. As it happens Tom, I totally get your position. In previous years I have found myself flailing towards the end of the summer break, trying desperately to balance the kids’ needs with a reasonably tidy house and freelance work. Add in bad weatehr and it is a recipe for disaster. This year, things just seemed to gel a bit better. As I say, I also know summer holidays won’t be this way forever.

  3. September 7, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    Great post. I’m in a very fortunate position where I can afford to not work while my other half does. I love the school holidays and like you I could easily have kept the kids at home for longer. The days flew by and we didn’t get a chance to do half the outings I thought we’d do. I think the weather helped, we spent a lot of time outside at playgrounds or taking walks or bike rides. Roll on half term!

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 8, 2018 / 4:52 am

      Fascinating comment there. there’s so much I also planned to do with the kids, but never got around to. The prime example is baking a cake. The kids repeatedly asked but we just never got around to it in the entire six weeks!

  4. September 14, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    I enjoy the school holidays like you. I love the adventures that we have. I started my Craft and Party Box business so that I could spend more time with the kids and enable other parents to spend quality time with their children too.

    Running my own business means that I have more flexibility to fit things around the kids, but the work doesn’t stop for the school holidays. It has to fit in around the adventures, which can mean a lot of late nights!

    I have lots of plans for Squidgydoodle so I’m excited to have more time to focus on it and a list of adventures that we can do enjoy at half term! #BlogCrush

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 16, 2018 / 7:41 am

      Loved the holidays so much you started your own business? That’s just awesome!” Great to see my post ended up on the #blogcrush linky too. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. September 18, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    I really didn’t want them to go back to school this year, either. I have not enjoyed making my way back to an empty home after morning drop off. I think a lot of people have found this last summer holiday easier than usual with the British weather being so remarkably nice, so we’ve not been stuck inside for days at a time – it makes a difference!

    But it sounds like you’re doing a great job making the most of those quieter hours now and I hope that you have your house looking like a home very soon.

    And this post really resonated with someone because they added it to the BlogCrush linky. Congratulations! Feel free to grab your “I’ve been featured” blog badge 🙂 #blogcrush

    • John Adams
      Author
      September 19, 2018 / 5:32 am

      Hi Lucy. I’ve had a few people point out this post was featured on #blogcrush so I must go and check it out. As for those quieter hours…..they disappeared in a puff of smoke this week! Car has had a puncture and I lost the locking wheel nuts so it’s been sitting on the driveway, unused while wait three days for a technician to come and get the thing back on the road. the result: School runs are being done via bus. Now this *should* be easy but, wow, does it make me want the kids to still be on holiday!