Why the summer holidays make such a difference.

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The end is in sight, three and a half more days to go before the repetition of every day can break for a while and we embrace a whole new kind of chaos, the summer holidays!

I was reading an article last night about what we find so difficult at times about being a mum and why it can feel so absolutely overwhelmingly stressful and guilt provoking one day, and then the next it feels like everything is coming together like clockwork….and the children are actually being nice to each other!

The answer is revealing. It is not actually the events, the fact that one morning the children are tearing strips off each other before 8am, or that you open the fridge and realise that you have no spread for sandwiches (me last week). Most days I can cope with this, as we all can. It is actually the tasks we have to do every single day as mums which are repetitive, relentless. This is why I jump up and down at the end of term because I know that save for a few days, I will not have to make packed lunches, organise school bags and get everyone out of the house at the same time, every day.

I know that as a working mum myself, this is different for everyone, but it is that break with repetition, and expectations during school term time, the lack of variety in the morning, afternoon and evening that makes it so overwhelmingly mind numbing and has us screaming inside our own head, I NEED A BREAK.

When we have had a break, no matter how small, of repeating these repetitive tasks, life really does become easier to handle. The petty squabbles about who is going to sit where at the table, which water bottle they are having. We can breeze through these moments so much easier if we have had a bit of regular breathing space.

By regular breathing space I don’t mean big weekends away which are planned a year in advance (lets face it, going away for a whole weekend is a military operation) I mean, a cuppa, a read of your favourite book which allows you to escape from the humdrum for just a little bit or a walk out in the sunshine (or rain).

Yes there are a million and one other things you could be doing. But they are always there, the repetition of putting away the school uniform, washed on Sunday night, ready to be worn on Monday morning. The dishwasher which sadly has not yet learnt to empty itself. If we keep up with the relentless tasks, using them as an excuse not to stop, then something will stop us, that meltdown, that argument with the husband when you find yourself picking his pants up off the floor, again.

Most importantly, we need to be providing a good example to our children, by showing them it is okay to take time out, by actually doing it ourselves! Children need to know that it is okay to sit down for a while and chill out.  On Friday afternoon the boys asked to watch a film after school.  They rarely do that so I knew they must be tired.  They then asked me if I would watch it with them.  Naturally I had a million and one things to do but I chose to put them to one side and sit with them…….and I fell asleep!

Normally I would feel so guilty for doing that (the boys thought it was funny) but I really didn’t this time. I knew that this time out would help me cope with everything else going on right now and it was what my body, and mind needed. I might still feel tired, but I felt so much more level and able to face the repetition of being a mum which will be there for some time to come.

My relaxation sessions I have been running this half term have also proved to be a real haven for worn out mums who just need to give themselves time out.  The feedback has been lovely, they have valued the space and the feeling of giving themselves an hour, once a week just for them in my log cabin. It has been a commitment that they have really benefitted from, even when the end of term has been frantically busy, they have still made time to come.

The time when you are the most frantic, the most up against it, is the time you need this time out and support the most.

So, lovely mums, my message to you today is this. Take it easy on yourself. Know that even if the summer holidays loom with thoughts of ‘how on earth am I going to entertain the children’, changing just one of the repetitive tasks we have to do which is associated with school, or indeed anything else which you have to do every single day will help you cope with those feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm. Show your children that it is okay to stop, to take time out, to have a break and value just being at home and, doing nothing. We all need this time to process, it makes us feel better in so many ways, and sometimes having the school holidays gives us the enforced break we all need.

Love Clare x



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