How can it possibly be, when I have barely recovered from the unfeasibly long summer break, that my children are on holiday again? I mean, I’ve been in meetings that have lasted longer than the half term just gone. And now parents everywhere are drafting in friends, grandparents, and people they once met on the bus to look after their offspring so they can make it in to work. Even with help of benevolent strangers, almost everyone at some point has to spend part of half term at home with their children. Fear not! I have come up with three easy life hacks to help you survive…
Plan like you’re managing William and Kate’s trip to Canada – you need your little royals to have a diary packed with interesting activities. If you leave any days unplanned one of three things will happen:
- Your children will maraud around your house trashing every room, whilst alternately pulling each other’s hair, rubbing toothpaste into the carpet and ganging up on you.
- You will be panicked into taking them on an outing to somewhere that is extortionately expensive. To add insult to injury, not only will the journey there be horrendous, but the journey home will be worse.
- You will be required to entertain your own children. This is, of course, water off a duck’s back if you’re a wonder mum who loves nothing better than doing a spot of arts and crafts or baking cupcakes, but for the rest of us it’s a living nightmare.
If you’re reading this, you’ve already left it too late – better check your bank balance and brace yourself for some serious expenditure…
Arrange play dates with friends at their house not yours – this is the smart way to entertain your kids. Some other mummy will be run ragged preparing a delicious lunch, chopping up fruit for healthy snacks, and searching fruitlessly for Harry Potter’s wand. And when your child leaves, she’ll be the one stepping on discarded lego (surprisingly painful) and vacuuming crushed cornflakes out of the carpet (don’t ask). If you take this option, please observe the protocol: you can drop your children off for lunch OR you can leave them there until after supper, but you really can’t expect someone else to give your children both main meals of the day. Also, I always try to take chocolates or some other sort of mummy-treat by way of acknowledging that her pain is my gain.
Milk it! We all know that people with kids go to work for a break from their children. So whilst you have been putting the hours into rearing the children you created together, your partner has been lazing around in meetings, chatting over the water cooler, and leisurely choosing their sandwiches for lunch. When he or she arrives home, you should adopt a pained and exhausted expression, slump on the sofa, report every misdemeanor no matter how minor, and demand that you be brought tea / cake / human sacrifice. Never admit that the children behaved really well, or that you’ve actually had a lot of fun, because not only will your partner feel aggrieved that they missed out, but you will ruin this ruse for the rest of us.
So if you’re wading into half-term unprepared, I hope these tips have given you a headstart. If you have more, please let me know! And if you are now thrown into a panic that you have done all of the above and you are, in fact, a terrible parent, reassure yourself by reading my previous blog in which I pose important questions about my own parenting – such as why my children can’t remember to brush their teeth, and whether I’m too old to like Justin Bieber…
Thanks for the photos BusinessInsider.com (William & Kate) and my talented friend Kulbinder (Quality Street).