PARENTING | A business-owning-mum’s guide to surviving the school holidays
I don’t know about you but less than 48 hours before my little cherubs are about to break up for the summer I’m in a serious state of denial about how the hell we’re going to survive the school summer holidays.
I’ve been refusing to accept the truth that in a matter of days I’ll have to play responsible parent for six whole f**king weeks alongside a business that won’t run itself.
So over the last 24 hours, I’ve put some thought into how I might survive the next six weeks and come out of the other end sane and still in business – here are my top 10 tips.
(Disclaimer: they might not be for everyone…)
1) Kid Swap
Kids are way easier to deal with in packs and many of us are in the same boat so don’t be scared to collar one of your mum pals and suggest that you’ll take her little bundles of joy a few days if she does the same for you. I very casually suggested this idea to little Jimmy and Lucy’s mum and before I could say ‘I’ll scratch yours if you scratch mine’ she’d prepared a list of the dates on which I could ship mine to her and she’d like to ship hers to me. Bingo! Be sure to select mums who work a full day so you can swap for a good eight hours at a time. 3 pm finishes are a pain in the arse as you’ll invariably be halfway through a spreadsheet.
2) Set up a mums WhatsApp group and get them sh*tfaced
Make a beeline for a handful of mums in the playground before the week’s out and suggest setting up a WhatsApp group so you can keep in touch to plan a play date here and there. Suggest a G&T or six in your local one evening (this will pique their interest) – ideally in the very early stages of the holidays. Buy a few rounds (make them triples), get them a bit tipsy and slip in how hard you are finding it to juggle work and childcare – there’s more chance of them offering to take your whippersnappers off your hands if they’re shitfaced.
3) Create a summer hols countdown chart
Pin it on your fridge and tick off each day as it comes to a close. This will remind you that there is light at the end of the tunnel and with every day that you all survive, you are a step closer to September.
4) Don’t leave uniform shopping until 31st August
Last year I left the uniform shopping until the final hour. Never again. trying to navigate the school uniform section (or any section) of a department store with a five-year-old who has been hanging off your mum shorts for six weeks, high on Haribo, is nothing short of a nightmare. Not least because there’s f**k all left. Do it at the beginning of the hols when your relationship with your little ones is less fraught.
5) Remember that your food shopping strategy will need amending
If you’re used to only having to worry about feeding the adults because the kids are fed at the afterschool club, you’ll need to amend your supermarket delivery somewhat. Clicking on ‘REPEAT LAST WEEK’S ORDER’ on auto-pilot will only end up in you having to chuck half the contents of the fridge away because, let’s face it, you’ll be ordering way more takeaway pizzas than normal and stopping off for fish and chips and McDonald’s on the way home from all those days out will be the norm for 6 weeks. You’ll be far too knackacked to bloody cook!
Don’t feel guilty about outsourcing. If you don’t already, outsource your cleaning, ironing and dinner preparation (takeaway pizza). I outsource lots of jobs to the professionals in business, and outsourcing household chores to the relevant professionals are no different and helps to keep you sane. Who wants to be doing the ironing after an 11 hour day traipsing around a theme park? On the other hand – a better option might be to outsource the kids and do the ironing yourself.
7) Stock up on bribes
Ensure you have tons of ice creams, sweets, and chocolate in the fridge and cupboards to use as bribes. You will need at least 22 bribes a day. Label them as treats – not bribes – it’s more socially acceptable and responsible in the world of parenting.
8) Refrain from lunchtime boozing
A crisp, chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc at a business lunch meeting goes without saying, especially, if, like me, you are creative. But a glass of wine at lunch in the school holidays when you are single parenting is a recipe for disaster. Lay off the stuff until hubby gets home.
9) Book a childfree girly spa weekend mid-way though.
Don’t tell your other half until after it’s booked, but you will absolutely deserve a couple of nights at a spa with your girlfriends / fellow likeminded mums midway through the holidays to rest and recharge ahead of the second leg. A
10) Over-dramatise the day’s events
When your hubby gets in from work, lay it on thick. Exaggerate the day’s events, make him aware of the stress that you are under trying to parent and run a business. Squeeze out a few tears and it’s likely he will suggest point 9 above. And if you’re really dramatic, he may even offer to pay.
Good luck (you’ll need it!), and please, if you have any other helpful suggestions, as ever, do share them in the comments below.
Also don’t forget to ENTER our competition to WIN a weekend away at Casa Turnilla Yoga Retreat in Malaga for you and a friend – flights included! You’ll need it if you survive the next 6 weeks!
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
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