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Surviving school holidays

Survival! I’ve read a lot over the last month about surviving the school holidays. This was us, Family Little Green Hut on holiday way back in 2017. One of my most precious photos.

My boys are all grown up now, but the feelings expressed by so many parents, mainly Mums (controversial?) still stirs some of those feelings I had 10+ years ago. It’s a juggle, & not an easy one. It can feel stressful, exhausting & frustrating in equal measures. The feeling of overwhelm & lack of routine, of self doubt & of guilt. For working, for using day care, for wanting to escape. Wishing for 5 minutes peace, comparing yourself to others who seem to have got their parenting sh*t together. All valid feelings. But thankfully I think (hope) we mostly got the balance right. And now we're through it & out the other side, there are so many things I’d like to tell my younger parent self. Particularly now the two young men we are super proud to have raised can share their side of it with us, & you know what, it turns out, we didn't do that badly……. They loved school holidays. I worked part time, they didn’t feel short changed by that. They spent precious time with their grandparents & they look back on that time fondly. Day trips out to places we would never have taken them because it wasn’t “our thing” but it interested them. History, castles, museums, beach days, nights away in a caravan. They went to sports camps, where they made new friends & learnt new skills. & on the days when I wasn’t working, the days I felt like I had to “catch up”, we met friends, day tripped & picnicked, but we also had lazy days, screen days, vegging in front of the telly days & running me ragged days (mum of boys)! Please don’t think I didn’t love it. I really truly did. They were the best times with my tribe & I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. But in a world where we only see the glossy good bits, there’s also a lot of “swan moments” - looking serene but paddling like hell underneath……

{The picture above is in our happy place on Elie Beach in Fife. Holidays with the family now extend to wives & partners & they all still choose to spend time with us & their grandparents. The best best times}

But. The juggle is real & here to stay. It’s true. There were things I did & still do, to help with the survival mode. These days (ha, caught myself sounding old there) it’s called self care. & we are being encouraged to embrace it without those guilty feelings. Looking after yourself has never been more important. After all, if you don’t, you & those around you may suffer. I found that planning was key. It still is. Knowing that a good few weeks were/are going to be busy, draining & restricting, planning in some treats however big/small was/is the answer. Something to look forward to. Together as a family, or as a couple & sometimes this was down time minus the kids, guilt free. There, I said it, I felt the need to escape however briefly to recharge my battery to feel like I could be a good parent. An uninterrupted bath. An hour with my book. A solo cafe stop. A trip to the hairdressers. A swim. A catch up with girlfriends. A crafty hour or two. A cinema trip. A night away Nowadays, the boys have flown the nest, but I still need to engage survival mode. Life is still busy, mainly our own doing, but lots of curved balls & events out of our control mean, prioritising time for ourselves, our family & one another is still “a thing”. Understanding when one of us is fatigued & in need of some tlc means shoe-horning in time. The quickest, easiest way, is getting outside & walking. Wandering & wondering locally with Gilbert the Airedale. Getting outside in the fresh air, away from work & distractions. It is a great short fix & tonic. & Ofcourse, properly getting away, escaping & exploring. Whether it’s one night or one week, we find going somewhere new & inspiring is the best way to press our reset button. Peace & quiet, food cooked outside when possible, sunsets & lie ins.

{The above picture was taken in June on a magical trip in our campervan for some wild camping on Skye & to escape our busy lives & responsibility! Freedom to park up wherever we wanted, quick bbq's, early nights & lazy mornings. Time out}

So..... Maybe now you can see why, we created our little green hut. A culmination of young parents dreams & the realisation that time is precious, whatever stage of life or your circumstances are. Recharging our batteries should be a guilt free priority for us all don't you think……our calendar is always up to date if you fancy booking your survival trip too.

As the end of the school holidays are approaching, how do you feel? Did you just survive? Did you get the balance right? What did you do, good/bad? What plans do you have for you?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, as always, hutty hugs & congratulations on “surviving” another Summer xx

{All words & images our own}


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