We are halfway through week one of the three week school holidays here in South Africa. The fact that we’re that far in and I’m only getting around to publishing this post now is the exact point of this post.
Let’s be honest here, those of us who are Stay-At-Home-Moms, love the school term. As tough as the morning routine is to get them up, get them fed, get them dressed and get them to school on time, without someone crying, is a challenge, but we do it because we know that on the other side of the mountain is our ‘reward’ – we get ‘time’.
However, ‘time’ is one of the greatest blessings a mother can have. Time to clean the house. Time to brush our hair. Time to do the grocery shopping in peace so I don’t have to scream at them every two minutes to ‘put that down’, ‘stopit’, ‘no, you can’t have that’. I literally race through my mornings between drop off and pick up times at school so that I can achieve everything I need to before I fetch them, because getting anything done is just harder when they are around. It’s not their fault, it’s just life. I also like to be able to give them my time attention in the afternoons, and not force them to come stand in the queue at the bank – no one wants that! No one!
Now those of you who have been reading my blog for while may have concluded that I can be a bit of a control freak with my girls, especially when it comes to routine. Remember this one: Why Their Routine Is Good For Me.
About a month before the end of term, I start almost panicking about how I’m going to get all the other stuff I do in the mornings done, now that the girls will be with me all day every day for three weeks. During the last week of this term though, I started counting down the days, looking forward to the holidays.
Last week Friday was the last day of school. It’s normally a half day so you drop them off at the normal time in the morning, but the day officially ends at 10.30. Now most people don’t bother sending their kids to school that day, unless, like me, they need the time. Historically I have sent my girls to school on this day as well, just to get that last two and a half hours of time to do whatever needs doing. But last week when my alarm went off, instead of snoozing it, I turned it off. I rolled over, saw my sleeping angels (yes, they were both in my bed), covered them with the blanket and went back to sleep. It was bliss.
We slept until they were ready to wake up.
I have realised that school holidays are there for a reason. Our littles also need a break. They also need time. They lead such busy little lives, school, afternoon activities, Sunday school. It’s hectic for them. They also need a break. They need the holidays.
So this school holiday, instead of me bemoaning the fact that I have to take them everywhere I need to go to get my stuff done, I have decided to take my time when I can.
I have made a list of things we are going to do this holiday, and it’s not a list of ways to keep busy, it’s a list of ways to chill and recharge our batteries. Not just mine, but most importantly theirs.
Here are my holiday plans:
- No alarm. We will sleep until we are ready to wake up.
- PJ Days – if we don’t have to leave the house for something, we will stay in our warm comfy jammies all morning, and if they want to change into a clean onesie at some point instead of their day clothes, that’s up to them.
- Relaxing the screen time limit – they can watch TV or play on the iPad as much as they want. You know what happens when you lift the limit … they actually do have enough and go find something else to do. (This is my experience anyway – I’m a mom, not a scientist or OT).
- If we have to go to the grocery store, I’m going to plan ahead, choose a day and time when I know it won’t be too busy, I will start warning them an hour before that we have to get ready, and when we get there I will let them push the trolley or put the (unbreakable) things in, and maybe even allow them to choose their own breakfast cereal, or a sweet or something. Most importantly I will make sure we are not rushing through it. I don’t have to rush if there’s nothing else to get to.
- Meal times can be flexible. If they want to eat breakfast at 10.00am, then lunch at 15.00, and a snack for dinner, that’s fine. If they pick on snacks most of the day and want dinner at 16.30, that’s fine.
- Cancel all appointments that can wait – swimming lessons, dance lessons, etc. It’s the holidays, give them a break.
If you came to read this post looking for ideas on how to fill their days, I’ve done a few of those posts before, you can read them here and here. This holiday, my plan is to give them time – time to relax, time to unwind, time to recharge their little energizer bunny batteries. I hope it works, they need it too.
Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.
Look out for my post in two weeks time where I’m counting the days until the school term starts again – I’m pretty sure there will be one. Once a control freak, always a control freak, although I’m going to try my best. Wish them luck!